Sioux County Historical Society
Museum Buildings, Orange City
Sioux County Historical Society School House
Winter view of the school house.
~photos contributed by Wilma Vande Berg
SIOUX COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY SCHOOL HOUSE
Welcome to the one room school! – an “Iowa Standard School” as noted on the oval plaque on the front door. Also note the outside sign indicating the time of about 1875. This school was purchased in 1968 soon after the start of the Society. Read the plaque on the inside north wall: It was bought from Annie Chapman & Richard Hawkins for $50 on December 15, 1969. It was located on the northeast corner of the Albert Hawkins farm along C-12, 3 miles east of US 75 (the Struble corner) or 1 ½ miles west of highway 60. It was known as “Elgin #1.” (Elgin #2 two miles to the west now stands on the Fair grounds in LeMars.) Our school was still in use until 1953 or 1954.
The school was first moved to the corner of 3rd and Albany where Oolman Funeral home is now located, moved in 1972 to the site where the Jennie Lubbers home had become the museum and now the parking lot for the Iowa State Bank, and moved here soon after the 1992 purchase of the Orange Motor Property.
The first Sioux County School was built in 1869 measuring 16’x22’; it was at Calliope (Hawarden). Our school is 18’x26’. By 1873 records show 1151 pupils in Sioux County ages 5 to 21. They were classed according to the “Reader” they were able to master. Older pupils were in school only in the winter and were kept out in fall and spring to help on the farm. Later a program was provided for grades 1 thru 8, but some grades were “empty” in certain years depending on enrollment. Sioux County recorded 170 rural schools with 165 referred to as “boxcar” type in 1918 when Charles Tye became County Superintendent. He suggested the building of two room “cottage type” schools. Note the 1908 map on the east wall showing the location of all the schools at that time, 172 of them. They were spaced every 4 square miles, or for the most part, one every two miles. By the 1920’s-1930’s there were 140 one and two room schools – all one room with the exception of 6 or 8 that were two room. In the early 1940’s more rural schools closed and in the 1950’s nearly all were gone; by 1958 there were 39 school districts. August 1, 1956 there were 75 rural teachers in 67 schools. Note the enrollment record for the 1857-1957 school year which is posted below the 1908 map on the east wall it appears to be the last found record.
An old song about the one room school goes like this: “School Days, School Days, dear old Golden Rule Days! Reading, ‘Riting and ‘Rithmetic taught to the tune of the hickory stick.” Etc. etc.