updated June 15, 2019
Union Prairie School
No. 5 & No. 6
Notes from S. Ferrall (corrections & additions welcome):
School No. 5 was located in the NW corner Section 17, where Sections 7, 8, 17 & 18 intersect. It is shown on the 1886 Plat map.
School No. 6 was the consolidation of No. 5 & another (possibly No. 8) about the turn of the century. This school is shown in Section 8 on the 1917 Waukon Standard Publishing plat of Union Prairie twp. More than likely rather than moving the school building, a new one was built, as No. 5 is also shown on the 1917 map.
Union Prairie No. 6, ca1932
~contributed by Aubrie Monroe - she photographed this photo that was displayed at the Allamakee Rural All-School Reunion, spring 2019
Country School Union Prairie No. 6
This small wood-frame single story country school was first located in the northwest corner of Jack Connors farm, a quarter mile from the West Ridge Church adjoining the West Ridge Road.
Two school districts were later combined around the turn of the century and the school was then moved a half mile east and three fourths of a mile north on a dead end road to accommodate children from the lower valley and ONeill Ridge.
Prior to this the wood school structure was used by the Waukon priest to say mass in, while the St. John the Baptist stone church was being built.
The school district boundaries for Union Prairie No. 6 extended from the Hanover Township line to Coon Creel, and from the Winneshiek County line to so-called OBrien lane on the east.
Over the years many students were educated from the first to the eighth grade, often with teachers only slightly older than their students. Some of the teachers who taught at Union Prairie No. 6 over the years were Elizabeth ONeill, Josephine and Veronica Ward, Catherine Dasher, Catherine Farley, Irene Bakkum, Stacia OBrien, Marcella Collins, Mary Onsager, Alice ONeill, Rita Liddard, Margie Van Horn, Mary Lou Marsden, Gertrude Loughlin, May OBrien, Stella Collins, May Farley, Raymond Ray, Mrs. Jim Waters, and Mrs. Egbert Ewing.
Some families which resided in Union Prairie No. 6 School District and from which the children from the oldest on down came to attend this small country school during a period of approximately 100 years were ONeill, Moen, Larson, Skaime, Slinde, Schraeder, Burns, Ingles, OBrien, Bird, Ryan, Onsager, Helgeson, Vaungen, Drews, OHare, Gallagher, Hill, Ronan, Lansing, Gavin, Stendahl, Magner, Molitor, and King.
The Union Prairie School District No. 6 was consolidated into the Allamakee County School District and officially closed in 1959. It was one of 85 rural county schools in Allamakee County with as many as nine schools in some townships.
The country school operated without the benefit of electricity or running water. Fresh water was brought in each day either by the teacher or one of the pupils. Outhouses served as bathrooms and many days in the middle of the winter lighting was not sufficient for reading, so records were played on a crank-type Victrola.
This school experience is one that was typical of early America and is of such a character that one almost has to have experienced it to fully appreciate the camaraderie and the social life involved in attending a small, rural one-room country school. It is the stuff of many book on Mid-America and early nineteenth century rural life.
- as submitted by James W. Magner
~Source, The History of Allamakee County, Iowa, 1989; Page 60
~Transcribed by Aubrie Monroe (3/2019)