|Reed School, Neillsville, WI|
My mom attended a one-room school in northwest Minnesota. However, unless you grew up in only the most rural parts of this country, elementary students in class after 1960 only read about them in history class or from their parents.
Jumping back to that time is still easy to do thanks to one-room school museums like Reed School near Neillsville, Wisconsin.
It's a recent addition to the list of Wisconsin's Historic Sites. We lived west of Neillsville for 12 years, and drove past the former school on trips east along U.S. Highway 10 but with no clue to its story or history.
|In the Reed School classroom|
A former Reed School student bought it a decade ago, refurbished it and later gave it to the Wisconsin Historic Society. Gordon Smith was visiting his grandparents when he walked into the classroom and was only there six weeks - but he says those six weeks left a lasting impact.
It closed in 1951, no longer needed as the rural population of students declined. The first Reed School opened in 1878, serving until burning to the ground in 1915. Parents, friends, and neighbors rebuilt, this time with brick in time for class in the fall.
There was no running water and no electricity (until 1941 - still no water now). Water was delivered in a milk from a nearby farm.
I recall mom saying as a student in a one-room school you could get help on your subject and get an idea of classes to come.
A woman I know who grew up on the western plains attended and taught at a one-room school. She taught for a couple of years after graduating and before going to college. Just a couple years older than some of her students, one of her job was pest control - which is why she killed three rattlesnakes.
|An independent learning station.|
Otherwise, I might feel really bad about my score of 51%!
A way you can get a passing grade on one-room schools is to visit one - Reed School is worth a trip. It's open most weekends, check their webpage for details.