Sepia Saturday

Sepia Saturday

Saturday, September 14, 2013

School's of the Past.........

Iowa was covered with country schools less than 55 years ago.  I don't remember enough of the details to state facts but country schools would be positioned throughout townships.  I think that the school  had an acre of land and there was one teacher who managed the building and the kids. I believed they were placed often enough around the area that a student could walk to school even if it was two miles or more.

 My mom was a country school teacher until she married in 1940.  All ages attended the school and some kids who reached a certain age would just quit going to school even if they were passing.  Farm boys would stay home to help with the field work.  Eighth grade was the last grade one could attend in a country school.

The photo above comes from a facebook page that belongs to Bill Fleming, a former Murray High graduate.  After completing country school, students could go to a town school as long as the parents could find a way for them to get there. Busing did become available but then that did shut down country schools. Bill's photo shows the country school of Troy number 7. He didn't really say that he was in the photo but he must be there.  It was a school that was north of a school that my brothers attended Troy number 9, ( I am guessing the number). By the early 50's the country schools were closing because buses were traveling around picking up kids for the Murray school. I do remember country school auctions where they would sell out everything inside the building.

I can identify  three of the members of the photo from Troy Number 7. as my brother's ex-wife is the tallest girl in front, Janet, dark curly hair, and her brother, Max is behind her.  The young man with glasses Monty was also in one of my bothers classes in later years of high school.

In 1953 my parents bought a farm a few miles away from where their three sons then went to country school.  They moved into an area where they were required to go to the Murray public school and they were bussed from our home.  The first few years the dirt road that we lived on made it impossible for buses to reach the house in rainy season. Dad took them with a tractor, neighbor took them on her Fordson tractor and some times the neighbor girl road her horse along with the tractor out to a gravel road to meet a bus.   I started kindergarten when the road was still dirt but by first grade and new gravel road was built. I do remember riding on that Fordson tractor hood out to the gravel road.

Above is a 1947 photo of the Woodward High School study hall room filled with students and staff.
One of the girls in this photo did eventually become the study hall monitor in this very room when she was in her 50's. This is the school district that worked for 31 years and am still part time working as a substitute teacher.
The room has the entire high school seated at desks plus teachers posed for an all school picture.  The buildings illustration shows the same four windows on the top left side of the building.  The year is 1947,  It is amazing that the entire four grades of high school are in this photo.
It is the high school study hall room that took up the entire width of the building.  You could look out the east or west windows to check the weather as well as the south side too. I worked a study hall one period a day in that room back in the 1980's. My one oldest son had study hall in that room up until 1992.

This other photo is also taken in 1947 at the Woodward High School.  It is taken in one of the classrooms on the northwest end of the building.  Notice how high the ceilings are and also the paneling. I at first thought that this was on a stage but I notice one can see the ceiling.  It is a photo of the cast for a school play. The room is on the main floor of the building and the panels are covering the wall because the windows were all removed when a gym addition was added to the west of the building. I am sure that behind the panels one could have found four bricked in windows.  Knowing the way the building was created that the piano had to be taken up a half flight of stairs to be put in this room.

The building itself didn't stand 100 years as a new building was put into its place in 1993.  The structure seemed creaky but I don't believe that it would have ever fallen down.  History in the United States seems to show that we tear things down readily to update facilities rather than remodel and recreate the present old structures. The building was a 1906 building and was removed in less than 80 years.

I wished I had more time to blog history as it is fascinating to me.  I learn so much from many of my Sepia Saturday blogger friends from all over the world.  If you want to check out other historic posts from all over the world, click here to see the many participates on Sepia Saturday.


Titania said...

Larry, your post brings back so many memories of country schools. The children were tough and certain things were expected from them. They certainly were not mollycoddled. I do not agree, that children are taken out of school earlier to work and help on the farm. I think it happened at that time in many rural areas, in many countries. I guess many children might have missed out on a better education. Children who grow up on a farm are usually very bright.
This were different times and sometimes hard for the parents to find the money for education, especially when they had many children.

Boobook said...

Loved the story about meeting the bus with the tractor. I'm sure lots of country kids could tell similar stories.

Sharon said...

When I started reading your post, I was wondering where you were from as it did sound very similar to Australian country schools.
My grandmother only had 6 years of schooling as she started late because they lived so far from the school so she wasn't allowed to walk 2mls on her own. She had to leave early as her mother was unwell and she had to come home to help out.

Little Nell said...

Good to have you back with us again, and with a subject close to my heart (as a retired teacher).

Vivian said...

Wow, Larry.....Sepia Saturday! What a great Blog! I love looking at old photos, and having a story to go along with them is a plus!

I was noticing how all those HS kids are sitting there so politely and behaved.....just like the kids today! ( ha! )