Kansas One Room Schoolhouses

It's been a long while since I've posted anything to the blog.  That doesn't mean I haven't been shooting...just haven't been doing a very good job of sharing.  Last week, I spent a long day on a round-trip drive to Hutchinson, Kansas for work.  On the way home, I decided to take a more scenic route and got off the beaten path.  Along the way, I visited a couple of historic one room schoolhouses to make a few images.  One room schools were common in Kansas in the late 19th and early 20th century, and some can still be seen dotting the windswept landscape.  

A visit to these stone monuments to education makes one wonder what life must have been like in the early days of westward expansion.  Children of settlers were sent to these schools where one teacher would be charged with educating students of all ages reading, writing, and arithmetic, as well as various other classes.  I can imagine intense spring thunderstorms sweeping across the plains battering these small, sturdy buildings.  A water pump outside was common for the students to fetch a pail of water during the hot summer months.  A path behind the school would lead to the outhouse, which would likely be quite a chilly walk during the long, frigid and windy winters.  My, how times have changed.  One room schools have given way to large, multi-classroom buildings and campuses.  But these buildings still stand to provide a glimpse of the way things used to be.  

Bichet School, built in 1896, near Florence, Kansas

Lower Fox Creek School, built in 1884, north of Strong City, Kansas

Desks of Yesteryear, Lower Fox Creek School

The Classroom, complete with wood stove to keep warm in winter

Textbooks of Yesteryear

The Chalkboard

Another view of Lower Fox Creek School