This school is a favorite for local photographers. I have only been there once, but it is really beautiful in person! I have been unsuccessful in uncovering much information on this school.
Old one-room schoolhouses were once scattered across the Great Plains. There was usually only one teacher teaching the farm children, spanning the grades one through eighth grade, and many of the teachers did not have an education beyond the eighth grade. The teachers taught spelling, reading, writing, history, geography, handwriting, and math.
The Federal Land Ordinance of 1785 provided support for rural schools. Land surveys facilitated townships and parcels of land throughout the nation. The townships consisted of plots of land with 640 acres a piece. In the early 1900s there were over 200,000 schoolhouses were all over the nation. The schoolhouses were also used to serve the community for weddings, funerals, celebrations, meetings, and to worship, as the schools were commonly the only public structure in the area. The pupils memorized the lessons, and recalled them in front of their classmates. They heard the same material several times by the time they were eighth graders.
In 1908, the small schools were threatened with President Theodore Roosevelt’s National Commission on rural life. The commission was meant to improve education, and the quality of life in America. With school consolidation, improved roads and transportation, as well as consolidation of schools caused many one-room school houses, which caused farmers and their cousins in town to debate. The Great Depression also affected the schools. Once the urban areas grew and people moved in those areas, the schools were forced to close.
“Located in northeastern Nebraska, Burt County figures prominently in the early history of the state, with
its rich tributaries which were claimed by white settlers in the early 1850’s. Until then, the Omaha,
Winnebago and Ponca Indians hunted in the prairies and river valleys, occasionally raided by Sioux
along the west side of the Missouri River in 1804. Trappers, mainly French, had taken most of the
furred animals by the time F. E. Lange’s party settled in Golden Spring (now Golden), Burt County in
A treaty with the Omaha Indians in 1854 allowed both for white settlement and an Indian reservation of
300,000 acres. The first election and official organization of Burt County occurred in December of
1854. All who had taken an oath that they intended to make Nebraska their future home were allowed to
vote. At this election Burt and Blackbird County (later Thurston) were joined. Later, in 1889, Thurston
County was separated from Burt and the Indian reservation remains a part of that county. Logan
Fontanelle, regarded by some as the last “chief” of the Omaha, and by others as an interpreter in the
original treaty negotiations, was instrumental in opening up the area to white settlement. His father was
a French trader and his mother an Omaha Indian. A creek in the county is named after him, Logan
I also came across an old house on my way home in the vicinity of the school.
Trish Eklund’s first book, Abandoned Nebraska: Echoes of Our Past, was released in November of 2018. Her second photography book, Abandoned Farmhouses and Homesteads of Nebraska: Decaying in the Heartland was released on February 22, 2021. She is currently finishing up her third book; Abandoned Farmhouses and Homesteads of Kansas: Home is Where the Heart is. Trish’s photography has been featured on Only in Nebraska, Raw Abandoned, ListVerse, Nature Takes Over, Grime Scene Investigators, and Pocket Abandoned. She has a photo on the cover of: Fine Lines Summer 2020: Volume 29 Issue 2. She is the owner and creator of the photography website, Abandoned, Forgotten, & Decayed. Trish has an essay in the anthology, Hey, Who’s In My House? Stepkids Speak Out by Erin Mantz, and another essay in another anthology: Voices of the Plains Volume III by Nebraska Writer’s Guild and Julie Haase. Her writing has been featured on The Mighty, Huffington Post Plus, Making Midlife Matter, and Her View From Home. She owns, moderates, and writes for the blog: Trigger Warning: Surviving Abuse. She has written four young adult novels and is hard at work on her first adult novel.