Down Memory Lane: Rediscovering America’s One-Room Schoolhouses Through the Lens (VIDEO)
On the backroads of the United States, it is still possible to find the remnants of our early country schools. While the majority of them have been lost to the ravages of time, others are still standing. Some are in various states of decay, their stories fading with them; others, have been lovingly moved and restored, allowing their stories to be passed down to those that still walk through their doors; some have been lost forever.
Having photographed over 900 one room schoolhouses in 29 different states since 2012, (and more since I made this video in 2021), I am working on a project that shares the history/memories of the school alongside my imagery of the schoolhouses. In the video below I share some of my photos along with stories I have learned from the students/teachers and a short history of the schoolhouse.
Jody Phipps started photographing schoolhouses in 2012 while on a trip to Minnesota to donate a kidney to her cousin. The first schoolhouses she found were completely by luck, but as she started finding more of them, she became curious as to how many were still standing and started compiling a list of locations which now number in the thousands. Today, tens of thousands of miles later, Jody has photographed country schools in varying settings and conditions and has an ever growing list to photograph before they, too, are lost to history. The idea of pairing her photographs with stories about the schools and from the people who attended and taught at them came about while studying at Rocky Mountain School of Photography in 2019. Since then Jody has been working on researching the schools she's photographed, looking for stories from the people who attended and taught at them, and compiling them into a book that she hopes to have published one day.