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Midwestern Schoolhouses

 

The brick one room schoolhouse is an icon of the rural midwestern United States. In northern Indiana, were I have lived most of my life, a large number of these small schools were built from about 1880 to about 1910.

In the days before school buses, schools had to be built in large numbers, even in rural areas, to ensure that every child would be within walking distance of a school. In northeast Indiana, schoolhouses were built about 2 miles apart on the main grid of roads that criscrossed each county.

In the early 20th Century, these small schools began to be replaced by large school buildings, with multiple classrooms and amenities such as gymnasiums and science labs. By the end of World War II, virtually all of the one-room schools were abandoned. Many were turned into homes, and some were used by local farmers as barns or storage sheds. Most were just left to rot, and many were demolished over the years.

 

 

 

 

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