OLD SCHOOL LOCATIONS
A couple of weeks ago the Glimpses of the Past column for 50 years ago carried an article about the school district selling several small one-room school buildings because they were no longer needed. That resulted in several inquiries as to where those buildings are or were located.
We thought we’d add a little information on the locations from research done by Ken Riedl at the Dodge-Jefferson County Genealogical Society’s library here in Watertown.
First of all, a bit of background. Those one-room schools were sold because they were no longer used for teaching students and were just lying vacant. Early in the 1960s the state legislature passed a law that required all elementary schools to be part of a high school district. That decision marked the state of consolidation of all these small schools. A school would become part of a larger district, in this instance, Watertown, which had a full high school program. Once that affiliation was completed, it wasn’t long before the rural schools were shut and the students transferred to larger elementary schools, either within the city, like Schurz, Webster, Lincoln or Douglas, or a larger, regional rural school, like Lebanon and Concord. In more recent years Concord’s elementary school was closed and the remaining students bused to Watertown city schools.
So, that’s how the stage was set for all of these small schools to be sold. No doubt some of them had been vacant for many years while others may have closed around the time of the state law change requiring affiliation with a high school district.
The article in the Glimpses of the Past was published on Aug. 10 and noted six of these old buildings, no longer in use, were sold to the highest bidders. Those six buildings, along with the purchaser and a description of where they are located as best could be found in the records, are listed here. Actual addresses were not included but there’s enough information to help pinpoint where the buildings were located. Some may be standing today and being used for other purposes while some may have been razed.
North Star School and land was sold to Gilbert Koehler for $450. This one was located in the Shields township and it was built for students in the Shields and Lowell district. A big, red brick building.
Elm Grove School and land was sold to George Hintz for $310. This one was located on West Road, west of Watertown.
Grellton School was sold to Bernard Walters for $50. It was located at the corner of County Highway A and French Road, just south of the city.
North Milford School was sold to Edward Wegner for $182.75. We didn’t find anymore information on that location.
Hill Top School and land was sold to Elmer Strege for $2,323. It was located at the corner of Hilltop Road and County Highway A, a mile north of Grellton.
LaFollette School was sold to Emil Kohlhoff for $50. This one was located on River Road in the town of Watertown but little else is known about its exact location.
That article also mentioned there was a bid for $50 for the “Old Richwood School” from Mr. and Mrs. George Hiller but because the bid came in after deadline, it was rejected and new bids were sought. That school was located in the town of Shields, presumably right in “downtown Richwood” but we didn’t find anything to confirm that.
Old schoolhouses dotted the landscape years ago and it is a fascinating topic for many people. A while ago we carried a detailed story about an online e-book by Lorraine Beal called “One-Room School Houses of Dodge County.” It’s a great research tool and can be found at the genealogical society’s website at http://dodgejeffgen.com.
In addition, Ken dropped off a copy of a print book titled “One-Room Schools of Jefferson County” which was pulled together by the Johnson Creek Historical Society.
Both are very helpful for those history buffs that enjoy looking for those old school buildings.
HAPPY LABOR DAY WEEKEND
Well, here we are at the final holiday of the summer season — Labor Day weekend. The season change is in full swing. We’re still getting hot days but the evenings are starting to cool, and with the extremely dry summer, the leaves are already turning and starting to fall.
The hours of daylight are getting less and less. In fact, we’re losing about three minutes of sunlight a day right now. Today, the first of September, we are scheduled to have 13 hours and eight minutes of sunlight. Late this month we’ll be down to 12 hours, the midpoint of the day.
Still, there’s no reason to fret. September is usually a beautiful month as is October. So, there’s a great deal of beautiful weather ahead. We’re looking forward to the fall season.
And, enjoy all this beautiful weather has to offer on this Labor Day weekend.