Hay Lake School, Washington County, Minnesota

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About 40 area visitors attended my book talk on August 23rd as part of the “Hay Lake School Speaker Series”. Hay Lake School, near Scandia,Minnesota, is part of the Washington County Historical Society. This beautiful, brick, one room school has a front porch, the original school bell, a kitchen area and a library area. It also currently has indoor bathrooms. The school, constructed in 1896 also has a stage in the front behind the teacher desk. Hay Lake School was used by the Washington County Rural School System until 1963.

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The building then sat empty until 1970, when a group of citizens decided to clean up the school and give tours of the building. In 1978, the Historical Society purchased the school from the Forest Lake School District.

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Class photos along the walls show students from the past when they attended the school. Five Hay Lake School alumni were present at the talk. Arubtis is the little girl in the front row in the middle of the picture.

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Arbutis, seated on the left, Elaine, and Laurel sat together and remembered their days as students. I overheard them talking about the stage: “. . . remember when we were in a group on that stage Arbutis? I don’t see how 20 of us fit back there getting ready to come out for the Christmas program. . .” The three ladies were so happy to be back in their old classroom.

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The inside of the schoolroom. The stage is in back and has an organ and seating.

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Many folks from this Swedish area of Minnesota came to share stories about their days learning in a one room school. Richard shared that his favorite memory is that his parents let him ski to school – pulled by a horse!

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On the same property is the Johannes Erickson log house. It was constructed in 1868 by Johannes and his thirteen year old son Alfred. It is a two room house with two small rooms upstairs in the loft.

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The inside of the kitchen in the Erickson house.

Thank you to Mr. Brent Peterson, Exectutive Director of the Washington County Historical Society and Dustyn Dubuque, Museum Manager of Hay Lake School and Johannes Log House.

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