School Houses

Well it happened...Google Maps failed me

Thursday, August 18, 2016

I have had this school pinned on my Pinterest board for 3 years.

On Sunday Tim and I decided to fly to Decorah Iowa.  I've never been there. There  is a nice little airport with a courtesy car and an interesting downtown to check out. I decided on a couple of school houses to find. The oldest in the State, Locust School and the one above.
Can you see the star and the school below it?  This find was sure to be the easiest yet.
But there we were on Madison Rd with a road map, a Google Map and THAT SCHOOL

was NOT there!!!  How old is this map from Google?  Satellite maps don't really show topography, but right along the south side of this road it was hilly and the foliage was quite over grown.  So I asked Tim to park and let me go look down into the ravine to make sure we were not just missing it.  So he pulled over in the driveway to the DeNovo Barn and I ran across the road to look.
Damn it! NO SCHOOL.
Monday afternoon I just couldn't let it go...I was thinking I wonder if it burned down. I think I'll Google Decorah school Madison Rd   The third link down caught my eye...something about an Amish Barn and a School Wedding Venue.  So I went to the website:

Here is what I saw:


While I ran across the road to look down the hill, Tim waited in the driveway to where the school is.
If I remember correctly there was a slight incline so even if he did look over his right shoulder while waiting he probably wouldn't have been able to see it.

Two schools I DID find:
Norwegian Lutheran Parochial School  1879

Locust School 

Used from 1854-1960

We're pretty sure that Tim worked with Gary Graves at DHL!

We loved Decorah and will fly back some day to visit. 

One last picture to show how I can find schools from the air.

and on Google maps  44.064109, -92.368595

August 7, 2016
Chetek Area

We flew in and borrowed the Chetek Airport courtesy car

 45.304008,-91.691069  Near the red Cedar River
The front of the well taken care of school/now home.

July 12, 2016

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

More School Houses

Saturday was a stormy day here in the Twin Cities so we 
decided to go to the outlet mall and Cabelas in Owatonna. 
The outlet mall turned out to be a bust but Tim enjoyed shopping
the fishing section at Cabelas.

To get back home we decided to head east.
This is Minnesota farm country at it'smost beautiful with spring green rolling hills and hidden valleys on curved roads.  The new rows of corn were about 4 inches tall.  I would have taken a picture but I forgot my phone!  I didn't bring my camera because we were going shopping NOT  shunpiking! We crossed in and out of Steele, Dodge, Olmsted, Wabasha and Goodhue counties.  We went to the Pine Island Cheese Fest. Sorry no pictures of that either.
By and By we passed 2 One room schools for sure.  One I'm not so sure.

I took these pictures with Tim's phone : )

Merton Town Hall is the first red marker on the map.

 The sign on this school house says: Belvidere Town Hall.
Look at the map for Belvidere.  

The third structure was pretty boring.  No real signs of it being a school at all. No signs of a large cloak room or a water pump present.  In fact it had a large dumpster which I framed out of view, therefore I'm pretty sure it was built to be just a town hall.

Ellington Town Hall.
Ellington is just right of Merton on the map.  There is a star where this building is located.
See the corn rows?

Saturday, June 25, 2016

East Farmington, Trap Rock, Eureka, Bass Lake, Orr, Pleasant Valley and Trade River

One of my goals this summer is to get every school house on the same document.  I have blogged about many but not all.  Other places I share some of my schools are Flickr, Facebook, Picasa(now Google Photos).  So I started a  Google Document.  I'm not doing very well on this task ; )

Last week we went fishing and I forgot to post the one school house that we stopped at.
East Farmington, Wisconsin.     Zion Lutheran School  .45.245112, -92.696396

Today we enjoyed the St. Croix River, although the fish were NOT biting in the +90° heat and 25-30 mph winds. We stumbled upon 5 one room schools. All were close to hwy 87 skirting along the river on the Wisconsin side.

Trap Rock School

 45.571799  -92.574649

 Pleasant Valley School

45.5555128  -92.5907606

Eureka School

45.514506, -92.652286

 Bass Lake School

45.36008  -9240268

Trade River School

45.657456, -92.672984

We saw this house and I was thinking how the architecture looked like a school.  
Later I realized it was Orr School. 
45.6219009,  -92.6729851
 This is a Google Map image.

Saturday, May 28, 2016


Today was a rainy humid day to start off the Memorial Day weekend.  It's been a few weeks since I've fattened my album with pictures of one-room schools.  So I talked Tim into checking out Praag Wisconsin.  Praag is located in Buffalo County Wisconsin tucked behind the green rolling hills of Alma.    

B   e   a   u   t    i   f   u  l  countryside!

I usually take some time plotting out our drive.  I've found the large Delorme Atlas Gazetteer the BEST way to roam the countryside looking for one room schools.

So with atlas, pup, camera and a few bottles of water we set out on Highway 35 S.

The first school was the best. It was located right down the road from a quaint cemetery and church.  There were a few people visiting the cemetery paying their respects on this Memorial Day Weekend.

Church Valley School - Now

   Church Valley School - Then

Tim did what we both wanted to do and went past the fence to go inside the school. 
He came out and said it was "pitch black and aromatic ...there may be an animal in there!"

  New Oak Grove School - Now  (another dream home ; ) 

New Oak Grove School - Then


 Praag School - Now


Margurette and Sherry and Carol are wearing the white apron-ed frocks

April 30, 2016  
Dakota County Fairgrounds

 Henry was obeying the teacher and sitting on a wooden floor, which he does not like!

 Waterford  Township Hall       44.485141, -93.144323

Nerstrand   44.485141, -93.144323


February 13, 2016

Today when I woke up it was °6 degrees outside.  The winter is getting a little long  now and even beautiful-fluffy white snowflakes don't break out the camera!  February is a good time of the year to visit antique stores.  Passing an afternoon by looking at old things, allows ones mind to wander to simpler but much harder times.
We meandered down I-35 and 1/2 mile west to Hope Minnesota and found this nicely restored school. The town clearly respects this building and built a quaint park around it.
40 miles southwest of Hope is Wells Minnesota.  It was here that we stumbled upon the Wells Depot Museum.  What a joyful little treasure this town keeps!  The depot was filled with town artifacts that were so enjoyable to read and photograph.
 It was late afternoon and the sun was moving lower in the sky, partly overcast and °7 degrees. 
It felt like  -°30 outside the car taking these photos. The wind was whipping...and I was thinking about the nasty weather that children walked through to get to school.  brrr!

The highlight of my day was pulling up this information in photoshop.  My new camera has GPS technology! Perfect for schoolhouse hunting.

A Beautiful Find Near Helmer Printing, Beldenville Wisconsin!

Sunday, January 17 we took a drive over to Ellsworth, WI to buy some good cheddar cheese.  The country roads were clear and the hills and valleys were covered with a small blanket of snow.  On a split decision we decided to drive past one of my favorite one room schools, "Forestville".. so I could take a picture of it in the snow.  I like the Forestville school house a lot and I even have a 1/87 scale custom built model of it on my piano!  Now Forestville school is a little harder to find than we expected.  We headed off of highway 10 onto county road J thinking it was just a up the road a mile or two.  As we were following the county road past a business and then a neighborhood I happened to look to my right when I saw a belfry!  "STOP and turn around please I blurted".  This is an image from my phone.  

I've exhausted my search on the internet looking for a name of this school.  Not even Google or Mrs. Blahoskidog can find it!  I'm hoping to hear back from Helmer Printing across the road.  Stay tuned...
Friday - January 22
The name of the school is Beldenville School! Thank you Barb Blahoski and Peter Fitzpatrick with help in the search! I heard back from Pierce County Historical Association, Pierce County Wisconsin AND 2 wonderful employees from nearby Helmer Printing; Ted and Jenny. The Historical Association has an entire book highlighting the school with pictures. I may have to buy that one since "Baird" was in the table of contents 5 times.

Just for the record here is Forestville:

And here is my amazing custom built model of Forestville.  

January 2016
The Pierce County Historical Society went through the trouble of going the extra mile to teach  my curiosity about the recent find of the two story school in Beldenville Wisconsin. There is no reason for me to re-write the pages that were scanned/emailed to Peter F. and then forwarded to me.  But there were some highlights that stand out.  Seems this school could have had a dandy name after all if it had only been build a few months earlier.  No doubt about it:  Thurston Hill.

I will treasure this...and post it here for future reading:

So after reading this I wondering even more.  I guess the book would be worth $20
Question:  what ever happened to the term wiener roast?

August 2015    
A New Spin on My Yearly Osh Kosh Trip

This summer Tim talked me into another hot sticky trip to the EAA Air Adventure in Oshkosh WI.  We already vacationed one week in Brainerd this summer and we have another trip on the horizon to Silver Bay, so Osh Kosh was out of the question for me.
Oshkosh get's in your blood and apparently for me too, because I caved after making a rather large announcement that I was not going this year.
But this year was so different from any previous year.  We met a lot of interesting people, AND we stayed in a gorgeous home on lake Winnebago a stone's throw from the Seaplane Base. 
We drove to OshKosh, which is roughly a 5 hour drive.  We stretched the drive to 6 hours so Tim could keep good on his promise....stop at every schoolhouse we see along the way.
So there we were in the middle of Wisconsin and out of the blue appears a sign which read: "Reed School House 1 Mile".  I thought I was seeing things! I have never seen a sign advertising the whereabouts of a one room school.  1 mile later the beautiful brick school house appeared right off of the highway.  We turned in and spent some time reveling in the brick one room Reed School.

Simply put, this is the most beautifully restored one room school house we have ever seen. 

The basement was preserved into a complete history of America's one room schools.  It was a pristine museum complete with self auto DVD videos. The picture of George Washington in the upper lefthand corner is the original print from the school house. 
Note: the picture of George Washington here.  The same water damaged print hangs above Mrs. Orvilla Selves Zille and her class of 17, 1947

Equally important as the teachers in this building, was the man who invested money into the old dilapidated building to preserve it.  Surprisingly a man from the east coast is responsible for this learning landmark preservation.  Why?  He attended the Reed school for 6 weeks as a young boy and has very fond memories of his experience learning in that building.   Read more about him here

August 2015
You know you have a problem when your husband says: "let's have a picnic on the St. Croix river today" and I immediately pull up my Google map to see what school house I can find in the area.
This is my Google school house map.  The stars indicate located one room school still standing.  So as you can see, the St. Croix river does not have a whole lot of stars.  20 minutes later, Tim was napping and I was in serious google map tracking mode.  Waalaa!  I know the Lamar school! 
I've seen this website in the past and finally plan a trip to go see the hard work restoration project.
Read about the Lamar community and school on their website here

 What a beautiful pristine-white two room school house!
 I just love the windows.  I'm sure the inside of this school invites the sunshine and outdoors right in.
This is the back of the school.  Two sets of windows for the two classrooms.

And of course Henry was there.  I'm thinking of naming him the "premiere one-room school pup"
or something like that.  He is usually with us on these travels and I have many pictures to prove it.

After the Lamar school we traveled east on 140th to 160th... and south on to Hwy 8.
On Hwy 8 we headed west when out of the blue appeared Deer Lake School.
 Now very overgrown and forgotten Deer Lake School sits among spiny shrubs and highway thwart 
where once children played hopscotch and kickball.

Peeking through the door window we both spotted a framed picture still on the landing.  We couldn't quite tell what the picture was, but it certainly indicated that someone just locked the door on their way out...thinking they would be back.  

July 2015
Traveling back from Brainerd
 46.221632,-94.144993   Near St Mathais  
Whitney Brook School    45.865922,-93.661951  Hwy 169 South of Page MN

Recently a friend asked me, "how do you find all these school houses?" Well here's how I do it.

The first thing I do is decide on a County to visit.  I have both Minnesota and Wisconsin county maps on both of my computer desktops for easy access.

For my next find I decided Meeker County is a county I have not searched yet.  So the next thing I do is open my 1925 Historic Map of Meeker county found here.  Then I scan the map for the letters "sch" and a black square-looks like this:
When I find one, I start looking for an identifying body of water.  In this case Pigeon Lake.

On Google maps I locate the lake and go to "Earth" view.
See Pigeon Lake?  Red marker indicates the lake.  Now count the county roads under the lake. Until you see the T in the road.  The 1925 map indicates that the school house was/is at the T in the road.
 Zoomed in...yes! something is still there
My eye knows for sure that this school house is still standing.  From the looks of it probably a family home now.  Sometimes I can view in street view mode, in this case I cannot which means the Google camera car never drove down this road. Then I mark the school house on the Google map with a star and save this location so that whenever I access my map I can quickly find this school house again. 

 Here is a snapshot of a portion of my Google school house map.

We went on our annual Osceola train ride today.  I could of worn a warmer clothing, as it was in the 60's most of the day.  The clouds did burn off later and a beautiful robin's egg blue sky appeared with big white puffy clouds.  The train was wonderful.  I especially enjoyed the sounds that I hear as the train moves down the track...screeches,adjoined clunking cars and train horns.

     Ubet WI is about 10 miles away from  Osceola, and I had a star on my google map indicating there is a one room school house, so we drove over to check it out. 
What a beauty this school house still is, nicely cared for and being used as a granary office.

45.346073, -92.530200

South on county road E brought us right past this wonder..within 5 feet of the road!
Not so sure this building was a school.... I cannot find any resources that would substantiate this.
 We were pretty close to Star Prairie on County Rd E.
45.231163, -92.503748

Next came New Richmond Wisconsin.  We have been to NRW, love their airport...but for some reason we've always headed west out of New we discovered if you head south you run in to the actual downtown and a  Heritage Village complete with restored, school, blacksmith, farm house and more.  I made a mental note of visiting this place again this summer.  The school located there was originally from Glenwood City, WI at a logging camp.
The school is named Camp Nine.

May 2015

Amazing! I have found so many one room school houses dotting our mid-west landscape. Yesterday Tim and I set out for River Falls WI and took Hwy 29 to Spring Valley.  We zigzagged our way on small county roads, some were rocky gravel, to south of Plum City.  Here is a list of the schools we found.

Randall School (historical) - Wisconsin

Geocode for Randall School (historical): Latitude: 44.8260785 - Longitude: -92.5840841

South Fork School (historical) - Wisconsin

Geocode for South Fork School (historical): Latitude: 44.8508006 - Longitude: -92.5613059

Fay School (historical) - Wisconsin

Latitude: 44.8480221 - Longitude: -92.4065786

Mines School (historical) - Wisconsin

44.8452436 -92.2901862
It is about 2 miles west of Spring Valley
3132 850th Ave.
Spring Valley, WI 54767

Spring Lake Lutheran Church 
44.8144096 -92.1965717
We were looking for Brookside School which was suppose
 to be across the street but the school was gone.

We were traveling south on county road 72 and a brick home caught my eye. It looked like a school house, but was not on my list. We turned around to take a picture... the lady waved to us : )

5406 Co Rd Elmwood, WI 5474044.732070 -92.185248

Look what a little determination can find! 
Click on the image to read the commentary.
Tripple Hill School
It was Gwen who waved to us!

Found on Elmwood, WI Historical Group Facebook Page

Corner View School (historical) - Wisconsin

44.6991328 -92.1957357

Corner View School

Corner View School

Corner View School

Corner View School

Corner View School

Found on the Elmwood Historical Group Facebook Page, year unknown.

Click on the image to read the commentary about Corner View.
Elmwood Schoolbus

Found on the Elmwood Historical Group Facebook Page, year unknown.

Union School (historical) - Wisconsin

44.6041335 -92.1757324

Union School 

Union School 

April 2015
Lonsdale School 
44.477874 -93.431738

44.427285 -93.327720
Millersburg   5miles SE of Lonsdale

The Coolest Place I've Ever Slept!

April 2, 2015

One of the most beautiful places we have ever driven through is... LaCrosse, Wisconsin.  Tim and I discovered this beautiful countryside - September of 2008 when we flew 41Charlie in for a visit.
 We were awe struck with the rolling hills, bluffs,  green pastures, farming country,
  and sightings of the Amish community.  

We saw many signs of years gone by, including this rough hewn home.

In May 2013 I became fascinated with one room school 
houses when we accidentally stumbled upon the BEST one room school house!

The door to the place invited us in and as we opened 
the door I found a new passion to photograph.

So it's no wonder why Tim would surprise me with a weekend away with a stay overnight to the Wilson SchoolHouse Inn.  It is a wonderfully preserved/restored brick schoolhouse... loaded with the character and charm of days long ago.  Our stay was the coolest place I've ever slept!

April 2015  -  LaCrosse

Large windows bring beautiful light into this school.  Good light is a necessity for a room to learn in.
The entrance is wide and welcoming. 

 The main room is the perfect blend of saving schoolhouse details and adding elements of comfort.
I passed on writing on the chalk board and used the eraser and chalk as my subjects for this photo.
Wide deep windowsill perfect for this vase of pussy willows.
I hung my jacket on number 21.

BUT this trip to LaCrosse also included me photographing 12 other one room school houses in  LaCrosse and Vernon counties.    I have included the gps location of each of these houses so that you can visit them too!






Marine on the St. Croix


Taylor's Falls


McKean School

Named after Elias McKean, a Stillwater city founder and member of its first school board, the historic one-room schoolhouse arrived at Boutwells Landing in 2006. 

The schoolhouse has been restored by volunteers to its original condition and appearance, furnished authentically to the period and will host programs for school-age children and others to learn about early school life.May

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Hollywood School

This school is located in Mayer Minnesota.  When I looked inside the desks and chalkboard, lighting and piano were all there...a bit in disarray but there.  The township will have to spend some money and time restoring the school soon as the roof on the south side was in pretty rough shape.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Goodhue County Historical Website is awesome!

 Featherstone Brick School or District #115. Organized in 1865 and building was 
built in 1870. Consolidated with Red Wing in the 1950’s. 
And today....

Minnesota, Chisago County, Meadow View School 

Minnesota, Chisago County, Meadow View School 


Look what I found today in a Winona State University parking lot!
Hillsdale School District 81, and originally stood at the four township corners of Hillsdale, Warren, Utica and Norton. It was also known as the Prigge School.  We flew in to Winona and biked to the University.  A beautiful Autumn day with splendid color!


It took two drives to Dundas but we found this beauty.  Obvious loved by it's community!


Scandia Minnesota was a beautiful find! My favorite school house that we have stumbled upon.

A short drive along WI Hwy 10 to Ellsworth you will find 
this beautiful partially restored Forestville School House.
 Geocode for Forestville School (historical): Latitude: 44.7871896 - Longitude: -92.5379707

Geocode for Sunnyside School (historical): Latitude: 44.7619121 - Longitude: -92.7221438

 The school is across the highway from the Stirrat Cemetery.

August 31, 2014
Isanti County
West Riverside School

1 Mile North of Highway 95 on County Road 14

Denmark Township
Built in 1852, Valley School District 34 was much more than a school—it was a center of family activities such as box suppers, community meetings and school programs. After the one-room school closed in 1946, its new owners, the Point Douglas Woman's Club, continued holding card parties, luncheons and meetings there until 1978, when they sold it to a family.
Today, more than 160 years after it was built, the Valley School still stands on its original site at 13728 St. Croix Trail South in south Washington County, a survivor in what was once the thriving lumbering village of Point Douglas. Located at the confluence of the Saint Croix and Mississippi Rivers—the only means of transportation in early years—Point Douglas was called the "Gateway to Minnesota." By the beginning of the 20th century, it had become a ghost town.

Welch School

 26419 County 7 Blvd, Welch, MN 55089

Last year I bought this 1957 magazine-two-page-image of an old school house in Frontenac MN.

I never thought the school would still be standing!
For some reason I just decided to look for it on Flickr...which led to this Real Estate posting.. 
Well- of course I wanted to see if we could find it. So off we went with the coordinates plugged into my phone.  

When we got there we could hardly find the school.  The brush was overgrown and poison ivy was everywhere.  (Would it kill me to wear shoes?  EVER!!!!...I should pack hiking boots on our little shun-piking adventures!
 This is the door the teacher is holding open!

August 9, 2014    
This school is located in Woucouta Minnesota, south of Red Wing on Hwy 61

When they relocated the school they planted it right next to the cemetery.
This school had been moved but was celebrating the 50th year it's new location.

A cellar door.  Oh my Ruby and Lily would love it!

 I was trying to get an image of the interior.

Earl Wisconsin
July 2014

May 2014
16004 Sherwood Trail Zumbrota MN 55992 

May 2014

 County Road 7 out of Mazeppa toward Zumbro township
The truth is...I'm not sure if it was a one room school house.  It was alone on the eastside of county road 7 as we drove to Zumbro, standing with every characteristic of  a one room school.
Minnesota, Wabasha County, Dale School, District #53

May 2014
Zumbro Township, Wabasha County- Laura and Mary Ingalls attended school here for a few months

May 2013
Frankfort Wisconsin, we've been to this school house at every season now.
It was hard to believe it was okay to unlatch the door and walk in to look around!
Many old desks, original floor and the smell of old tired wood greeted our eyes.

This image was taken with a fish 
eye lens on my iphone 4.

Do schools still have an image of our 
founding fathers?

Tim rang the school bell!  I videoed with my phone and was thinking "where's Miss Beadle" 

October 2013
The school is next to a church and a graveyard smack dab in the middle of rolling bluff country.  It is a beautiful part of the Midwest.

Little Plum Lutheran Church

All decked out for the autumn dance?

February 2014

July 2013
Little Log House Antique Power Show 

Lily at an old fashioned desk


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