The One Room
It was often up to community members to organize, build and maintain their own schoolhouse building for their children's education. Abandoned cabins, old barns, or empty sheds, were often donated and pressed into service to function as schools.
If no suitable shoolhouse building could be found then it was not uncommon for all community members to pitch in and hold a "school raising". Everyone from miles around would gather to construct a one room schoolhouse building in a day or two. While the men and older boys labored, the women would socialize while preparing food and drink for the fiestivities that would follow upon completion of the schoolhouse.
The schoolhouse building itself was generally a one room building, with a wood burning stove. It was small, maybe 10
by 12 feet, with a window at each end, and one door. It rarely could have held more than a dozen seats, or
more commonly three rows of benches. It was a fortunate teacher indeed that had her own desk. Those that didn't made do with logs put togather to form a podium.
Many schools had no slates, pencils, pens, or maps. Up until the 1880's blackboards where considered a luxury.
The parents of the children attending the one room schoolhouse often donated the wood stove and supplied the
cut wood for fuel. They also built the desks and benches the students and teachers would use, and in many cases where often responsible for housing and feeding frontier teachers. Even the schoolhouse building maintenance
fell to them.
Since they were often the only 'public building' on the frontier, one room schoolhouses were often the center
of social life. During the 1870's and 1880's it was not uncommon for schoolhouses to play host to all manner
of public activities, such as political debates, traveling lecturers, theater troops, literary societies, and charitable organizations.
Did your great grandparents go to school in a ONE ROOM SCHOOLHOUSE
Go here to find out!
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