Teachers document historic one-room schoolhousesBonanzaville, ND (WDAY TV) - Drive the back-roads of North Dakota, and you will drive by the fading timbers and worn foundations of our historic one-room schools. In the early 1900's, 56 hundred one-room schools dotted the prairies.
By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY
Bonanzaville, ND (WDAY TV) - Drive the back-roads of North Dakota, and you will drive by the fading timbers and worn foundations of our historic one-room schools. In the early 1900's, 56 hundred one-room schools dotted the prairies.
Now, an effort to document and remember those schools by retired North Dakota teachers and other volunteers.
Marian Kramer remembers those early days in Wells County, North Dakota: one-room school teacher, an income of 140 dollars a month, and chores that included stoking the stove with coal.
Marian Kramer, Retired Teacher: “I loved it, I loved it. I would do it all over again if I could. I had to start the fire and get it going before the kids came in the morning and shovel a path to the outhouse.”
For the past few months, retired teachers in North Dakota have tackled an incredible project: photographing the remaining one room schools and interviewing teachers still living.
Alpha Roeszler, Retired Teacher: “I think it is so important that we talk to these people before they are gone. We are supposed to cut some of the video and I don't know how because they are so great.”
And after reading the documentation, volunteers spent countless hours building replicas of the exact one-room schools, down to the trees and American flag.
Kathy Wilner, Documented One-Room Schools: “Trying to preserve history, some of the schools I recorded are already gone, because they are a safety hazard in some of them. When I came into first grade, I came in and loved my teacher and decided to be a teacher, in first grade. I never wavered.”
There has been an effort to get some of the one-room schools on the historic register. There are families working to save schools still on their farmland. An attachment to our past schools that educated our families, now stand as proud reminders of how life on the prairie shaped the lives of those who came before us.
The teacher at the beginning of the story tonight, Marian Kramer: Since her family did not have enough money to send her to teacher's college, she borrowed 100 dollars from an uncle and paid him back once she graduated and started teaching.