Two Short Videos and a Boondoggle
A little brick schoolhouse in Ayer, MA exemplifies the story of one town’s dedication to furthering the cause of public education and a later generation’s determination to keep an 1868 schoolhouse alive.
The Sandy Pond Schoolhouse Association has produced two videos, Part 1 & 2, that tell the story of the town, the building of the schoolhouse, some common teaching methods in 19th century country schools, and the resurrection of the schoolhouse following consolidation. They tell a hopeful tale of what can be done by dedicated citizens to save their only remaining schoolhouse as a historic site and community center. Witness the process undertaken over many years to make their dream a reality and see the work still to be accomplished. Enjoy the videos, but be sure to follow up with their latest endeavor.
Sandy Pond shared their videos in 2021 for the CSAA Annual Country School Conference (VIRTUAL DUE TO COVID) as part of our "Easy Chair Tour" of one-room schools. CSAA will follow their story of restoration with our appreciation for their efforts.
An Unexpected Legal Issue for the SPSA!
Preservationists, just when you think you’ve done everything right, all may not be smooth sailing. The Sandy Pond School Association is currently working to resolve a very interesting legal issue that will be of interest to any group seeking to save a schoolhouse! Read their story…(1-Page PDF)
How They Learned Their ABC's
Stories from one-room school attendees abound, but one newly published compilation emanated from a photo exhibit attended by researcher, Leona Baker. While enjoying the exhibit, she conceived the idea to interview teachers and attendees of one-room schools and that began her eight year research project collecting interviews, photos, and memorabilia for her new book, "How They Learned Their ABC's: The Story of One-Room Public School in Salisbury Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and the Villages They Served."
According to CSAA member, Ginger Shelley, "The authors, Leona Baker and the members of the Historical Society of Salisbury Township, completed a whopping 400-page book, and typical of a production by a small historical society, with not much funding. There is a short history of each of the 32 schools in the township and a rather substantial amount of material dealing with memories and reminiscences from former students."
The book debuted in July at a book launch at the Annual White Chimneys Living History Event in Gap, PA on July 22, 2023. Leona told the story of one-room public schools in Salisbury Township, Lancaster County and the villages they served. CSAA sends congratulations on a job well done!
For a detailed article from Town Lively or a link to obtain a copy, use the buttons below.
2024 Conference Flyer for Your Files
The Report Card will keep you up to date on all developments for the CSAA Annual Country School Conference 2024 to be held in Toledo, Ohio. Details will emerge in the weeks ahead but plans are well on their way. You may click anywhere on the flyer below to access a printable version for your files. We hope to see you all there, old friends and new!
Future updates will include: Registration & pricing information as it becomes available, travel aids, dorm information, keynote speaker information, programming, etc.
Commemorating Your Schoolhouse
Is your country school a Landmark School? The CSAA National Schoolhouse Registry is a listing of schools determined to be significant and contribute in some positive way to the appreciation and understanding of the country school experience and their unique architectural and historical heritage. We are pleased to recognize preservation efforts for this part of American educational history and hope that this recognition will, in some way, continue to help their efforts.
Markers are awarded to school buildings that are at least 50 years old, that have been restored, renovated or reconstructed to retain the integrity of their original design, and are well maintained. It is the hope of the Country School Association of America that this registry and the subsequent marker will not only serve to identify school buildings of historical and/or architectural significance, but will also recognize preservation achievements and encourage the continuing care and preservation of each individual school.
Applications for the registry and a marker are reviewed and researched by a committee that meet at least once a year, and may include architects, historians and preservationists. At this meeting applications are reviewed, and decisions are made with regard to the National Schoolhouse Registry and awarding the specially fabricated marker.
Although there is no application fee, applicants must be members of the CSAA in order to be considered for the registry.
Once recommended and approved by the committee, the fee for marker fabrication, if you desire one, is $200 plus $25 for shipping.
For a list of CSAA Landmark Schools and Submission Guidelines, access the links below:
"Preserving the Past to Enrich the Future..."FGCS Motto In 2016, CSAA members traveled to Fredericksburg, Texas to attend the annual country school conference hosted by a very active preservation group, the Friends of Gillespie County Schools. Here we were introduced to a fascinating city steeped in history, where we enjoyed presentations, scenery, samplers, and schoolhouses. But that wasn't the whole story. The tour of local schoolhouses included the display of a number of colorful advertising curtains, backdrops for the school's stage performances.
After completing a restoration project of one such treasure, the Willow City School painted curtain, Friends member Jane Woellhof undertook the project of photographing and researching other curtains still known to exist in the Gillespie County area. Her work culminated in "An Album of Painted School Stage Curtains, Gillespie County Country Schools, Fredericksburg, Texas".
Here we are pleased to share her project highlighting a monumental 6-year project to document the surviving advertising curtains in the county. For those of us who were unfamiliar with such curtains, the artwork spoke loudly of the level of community support for their public schools, their children, and their performances.
In this link you will enjoy the story that unfolds and the questions still to be answered. You are invited to share any information you have on stage curtains with CSAA member Jane Woellhof and the Friends of Gillespie County Schools.
Thanks to Jane and Friends for sharing their website and their on-going preservation work!
Access the stage curtain project and the FOGCS websites with the buttons below.
Take the Second Street School Virtual Tour
Submitted by CSAA Member Ralph Buglass
Coordinator of the 2019 CSAA Annual Country School Conference, Frederick, MD
Without a doubt, this post will provide you with a totally unique experience provided by the Waterford Foundation, Inc. of Loudon County, Virginia! The Second Street School, built for African-American children in the 19th century, was on the CSAA tour during the 2019 conference. A virtual tour of the schoolhouse is now available--a great opportunity for those who were unable to experience it on our tour as well as those who may want to revisit it!
A 10-minute video explaining the school's importance is also part of the tour. Click on the link below for the tour, then click on the camera icon to see the video. Enjoy!
Then be sure to visit the Waterford Foundation website, another fascinating site filled with history and programming in Waterford, Virginia, the town designated as a National Historic Landmark.
The CSAA sends our congratulations and thanks to the foundation for their excellent promotional presentation of a preserved country school. We certainly had a memorable visit!
Waterford is definitely a destination, so you will want to check out the Waterford Fair, October 6-8, 2023.
Recalling Her Schoolhouse
Congratulations to CSAA member, Elizabeth Doherty, on the publication of her new book: "IN ONE ROOM: STORIES FROM A PRAIRIE SCHOOL," illustrated by Della Conroy. Elizabeth explains that she always wanted to write a book, but never imagined it would be written at age 75, and be a remembrance of her childhood days at the District #20 Schoolhouse in Tara Township, Minnesota.
According to Elizabeth, "What began as an attempt to save a building resulted in the need to preserve its story. How one room shaped the lives of its students and teachers, the joys, the hardships, the closeness, together formed something much greater than simply education. Laura Ingalls Wilder meets Dave Barry in this narrative of a one room schoolhouse which served the children of a small prairie community in western Minnesota until 1959."
Elizabeth Doherty has proven that it's never too late to follow a dream and serves as an inspiration to all of us who wished we had taken pen to paper.
You can support our fellow CSAA member by adding to your schoolhouse library, or by gifting a fellow schoolhouse enthusiast. "IN ONE ROOM: STORIES FROM A PRAIRIE SCHOOL" can be found on-line at Amazon ($19.00 hardcover) or Barnes and Noble (Hardcover $19.99 and Paperback $14.99).
YOU ARE INVITED TO:
The 23rd Annual Iowa Country School Preservation Conference
Friday, September 22 and Saturday, September 23, 2023
The Sawmill Museum
2231 Grant Street
Clinton IA 52732
Friday promises a line-up of country school presentations on the history, preservation, and programming in our remaining country schools. Saturday you will enjoy a coach tour to historical sites and schoolhouses in and around Clinton, IA. Meet schoolhouse enthusiasts from around the country!
You will also be treated to the premiere of the Fourth Wall Films documentary:
"Resurrecting Forest Grove School at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday.
Meet the Emmy Award-winning filmmakers Kelly and Tammy Rundle.
For complete information, daily schedule, tour itinerary, and on-line registration, click on the link below.
Please note the hotel recommendation has been changed as The Hampton Inn does not offer conference rates: Contact Super 8 by Wyndham, 1711 Lincoln Way., Clinton. IA. Phone number 563-231-2601. Mention your attendance at the conference for a more reasonable rate.
A Novel Experience
Dear CSAA Members,
What started as a chance to attend the CSAA Conference in order to better understand the role country schools play in our history and our future, but ended with warm feelings for a diverse group of people who left us feeling grateful for being invited into this unique and lovely association. In case you don’t know who we are, I am the “young” volunteer recruited by Richard and Catharin Lewis who oversees the West Bay Common School Children's Museum in League City, Texas. My husband Mark volunteered to assist where needed, and was the IT guy who gladly helped in the minor emergencies of presentation woes. There are many memories we walked away with after that week in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, including how to properly pronounce Lancaster.
After an airplane delay of an unreasonable number of hours, we finally made it to Pennsylvania. The landscape was beautiful, the weather heavenly, and the people genial and welcoming. The first day mixer was fun, and we found a great walking trail that evening that led us to wild cherries and huckleberries. My Wildlife Biologist husband was in awe and nearly refused to go back to Texas. The first day of the conference was exciting, and after a fantastic breakfast, we were anxious to hear the speakers.
I learned about Lancaster’s public and Amish school history, while my husband navigated the conference rooms for IT help. He definitely got his steps in that week. The speakers offered a rich assortment of topics that made it difficult to choose which one to attend. I enjoyed each of the talks and walked away with many ideas for our museum and schoolhouse in League City.
Continued at "read more"….
Columbia, Illinois Field Trip
Still going strong after 15 years, the Sand Bank Society of Columbia, IL, curators of the Sand Bank School are proud of their preservation work. The society hosts education programs, lets not for profits use the school free, and rents it out for small parties and weddings.
This CSAA member school has a history dating back to 1816 and possibly earlier. In 1903, a Waterloo Times news clipping stated that a new frame Sand Bank School was being erected in 1902, and the old Log School on the property was sold to a Mr. Phelps, who moved it ...a sad ending to the oldest standing log school building in Monroe County. Around 1910, when Illinois law required cloak room for boys and girls, a new front was built onto the 1903 frame schoolhouse, giving it the look seen today.
The Sand Bank School was restored in 2009, and the Sand Bank Society was formed in 2010 to help with school maintenance and to promote the use of the restored school for educational purposes and social events.
Each spring third graders from Columbia study the book, Little House on the Prairie and spend a day at a Sand Bank School. Here they learn about the hardships of pioneer children endured to get an education, eating sack lunches, and enjoying games of the early 1900s.
Recognized by the Country School Association of America on the CSAA Landmark School Registry, Sand Bank School's listing and their marker not only serves to identify this school building as one of historical and/or architectural significance, but also recognizes preservation achievements and the continuing care of their schoolhouse.
CSAA thanks Dennis Patton for this submission...
Filming a Schoolhouse Restoration
Announcing the World Premiere presentation of "RESURRECTING FOREST GROVE...A Death. A Vision. A Miracle." from Emmy Award winning filmmakers, Kelly & Tammy Rundle.
This film documents the restoration of Forest Grove #5 schoolhouse located outside of Bettendorf, IA celebrating the 150th anniversary of the school. The film will premiere on September 23, 2023 at Davenport's Putnam Giant Screen Theater at 1717 W 12th St, Davenport, IA at 2:00 P.M.
Beautifully documented, the film gives hope to all those considering restoration of their own country schools across the nation!
Tickets are currently on sale on the Putnam Website. Click on the photo to view purchase!
CSAA Annual Conference 2024 - "GREAT LAKES-GREAT SCHOOLS"
It's in the works, so mark your calendar! The 2024 CSAA Annual Country School Conference will be held in Ohio, June 9-12, 2024 at the University of Toledo, Center for the Performing Arts. We know you have a story to tell and we will look forward to hearing it.
Additional details for presenters will emerge in the weeks ahead and Calls for Proposals will appear here and on our website. We will give plenty of notice.
Traditionally, two days of presentations focus on the history, preservation, and restoration of our remaining country schools. This is your opportunity to share information with schoolhouse enthusiasts from across the nation. Day 3 of the conference will offer the optional coach tour of preserved local schoolhouses.
We hope to see old and new friends at the conference!
Welcome to The Report Card
CSAA has added an additional feature to communicate with our membership and to share helpful information relating to our country school preservation efforts...a blog. Posts will be short and occasional so we don't flood your inbox.
Our first offering is a short video slide show of the 2023 Annual Country School Association Conference held in June at Millersville University in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Thanks to our conference coordinators Ginger Shelley and Kathy Brabson!
Future posts may include links to schoolhouse articles, conference updates, ideas for volunteers and museum programming, reading lists, where to find schoolhouse supplies, grant application reminders, etc.
The possibilities are endless and we'll always appreciate your input for posts.