Country Schools2014-11-20T14:30:07+00:00

Country Schools


I don’t know what “Go to the cloakroom right now” meant when you were growing up, but when Mrs. Fingelrud said it to me, it didn’t mean I had forgotten to hang my coat up. From arriving early to light the stove to staying late to wash off the blackboards to hauling up the drinking water to organizing the annual community Christmas program, the one-room school teacher was really a jack-of-all-trades and a master of all! Oh yes, she also taught…all subjects and most ages, and often these teachers were still in their teens and living with a family of strangers. (Later on teachers could have had a little ‘relief’ if they hadn’t been so serious about being good role models. They could have taken a whiff of the fluid used in the mimeograph machines and had a little buzz going for a while, but I don’t suppose the students showed them how).

  • Photography by Doug Ohman and text by Jim Heynen

    "On the flat windy prairie, The only thing not moving Was a small red schoolhouse...." So opens Schoolhouses of Minnesota, a magical foray into the nearly forgotten world of one-acre school grounds, kerosene lanterns, coal-burning stoves, and old desks that usually had more than fifty years’ worth of ... ... more

  • Photography by Michael P. Harker
    Iowa's documentary photographer, Michael Harker, has a goal to record Iowa’s historically significant architecture before it disappears forever. His preferred subjects—artistically shot in stark but stunning black and white format—are barns, one-room schools, courthouses, rural churches, banks, and houses from rural areas and small towns. His previous book, "Harker's Barns" ... ... more

  • by Erling Rolfsrud (North Dakota)
    In a delightful homespun way Erling Rolfsrud relates his experiences as a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse on the prairie of North Dakota, including teaching the beautiful 'Palmer Penmanship Method' to students whose hands were more at home with a gopher trap or pitchfork. ... more