This past Saturday, I gave a book talk at Reed School, a Wisconsin Historic Site. It was great fun to give a talk about one room schools IN a one room school. Alan Hanson, – Historic Site Coordinator and Barb, a teacher volunteer for Reed School were also there to answer questions about the school
Clark County’s first school was named Pleasant Ridge School because of the view along what is now Highway 10, east of Neillsville. This first school was a log building. Later, a new school was built in a new location one-half mile north on Highway 10. In 1878, the school building was moved to the present location on land donated by Thomas and Lucretia Reed. The name was changed to the Reed School. In February, 1915 the school burned. A decision was made to build a new school with cement blocks and brick. The new Reed School was open in November of 1915. The school closed when the enrollment dropped below 10 students.
Gordon Smith, from Indiana, attended Reed School in the spring of 1939 as a first grader. He was staying with his grandparents. Gordon’s found that the one room school experience was very different from his urban school in Gary, Indiana. The memories of that spring lasted a lifetime. The Gordon V. and Helen C. Smith Foundation supported the renovation and currently supports the operation and interpretive programs for the Reed School.
The beautiful Reed School is an excellent example of a one room school in Wisconsin. The interpretive exhibits in the basement explain the history of education in Wisconsin, and invite guests to try questions from an eighth grade examination on a touch screen computer.
On the day I was there, some young visitors had excellent questions about beginning the school year in a one room school.
How did they sharpen their pencils? How did they get a drink of water? Did you go to school with your brother and sister?
What is the hole in the desk for? On Saturday, one girl was using the “hole in the desk” as a lemonade cup holder! Alan showed her an ink well that fit in the hole and we explained the use of an ink pen.
It was quite warm and I think the little girl with her cup holder had a great new idea for today’s desks! Water bottle holder? That would certainly prevent spills in my classroom.