Plymouth No. 1
School Daze Memories from former students and teachers!
Plymouth Dist. #1 -- Spies School
Plymouth Twp. District No. 1 School – 1919
Parent: Joe Becker
Parent: R. J. Spies
Parent: G. F. Spies
Parent: W. O. Bogenrief
Parent: Edwin Schneider
Parent: Albert Hieke
Parent: Mrs. Geo. Koenig
Parent: Allen Schindel
Parent: Charlie Beck
Parent: ?. R. Schneider
Parent: George Zimmerman
Parent: Grover Schneider
According to tradition and the “History of Plymouth County” printed in 1917 by W. S. Freeman, Volume I, pg. 59, “the first school of Plymouth County was taught at Melbourne in December of 1859, by Van O’Linda in Plymouth Twp.”
On page 271 of the same book it states “it stood on the S.E. corner of Phillip Emmert’s land.” This was a scant one and one half mile from the next recorded site. One might presume that the school was moved from the Floyd River bottom to higher ground and perhaps to be more near the center of the population.
The next recorded information is found in Book One, page 316 of Deeds of Plymouth Co., where it is recorded that one Benjamin F. Thomas sold one acre of his farm to the District Twp. of Plymouth Co. for the sum of $15.00. The deed stating that when the land was no longer used for school purposes then the district must sell the land back to the previous owner for the same sum.
On May 19, 1874, Benjamin F. Thomas sold his remaining land to Jacob Spies. It eventually came to George Spies, his son. The school became known as “The Spies School.”
When the school closed in 1955 during school reorganization, the land returned to the Spies family by direction of the District Township Board in compliance with the previous deed for the sum of $15.00.
The building and contents and playground equipment became the property of the Hinton Community School as the area had asked to be in that district during the reorganization.
Plymouth Dist. No. 1 had the distinction of being the First Rural School in Plymouth County to install electric lights. The R.E.A. had come to rural Iowa. According to the school records, the Board of Directors on July 15, 1939, allowed money for the wiring of Plymouth Dist. No. 1. The school had “lights” for their Christmas program. Much better and not as inconvenient as the incandescent that had to be lighted but had served their purpose well.
The P.T.A. was influential in seeking electricity for the school. It was a great organization and was outstanding in the state.
The LeMars Globe-Post photographer and a R.E.A. official came to the school to take pictures. Ironically the beautiful hanging light globes do not show in the picture.
This was a “Standard School” – a distinction they viewed with pride.
This first school in Plymouth County served for 81 years, 1874-1955. It is still doing duty as a garage on the Dick Bogenrief farm just across the road as of Sept. 2001.
The teacher’s desk now serves a farmer. A frame P.T.A. certificate still hangs on the wall.
When reorganization closed country schools in Plymouth County in 1955, the Plymouth Dist. No. 1 school house was sold to Art Bogenrief. The school was moved a short distance to his farm (now owned by grandson, Richard Bogenrief) to be used as a garage.
The old teacher’s desk is still in the garage in 2001.
Former teacher, Margaret Spies, holds a certificate which still hangs on the wall, given by the Parent Teachers Organization, as a reward for the schools effort in meeting all requirements as a “Standard School.”
The first school house stood near the Floyd River. The second a mile East on Peter Emmert’s land, then by May 19, 1874 on it’s last location on land bought from Benjamin F. Thomas, who on May 19, 1874, sold his farm to Jacob Spies. The land eventually came to George Spies.
~written and submitted by former teacher, Margaret Spies