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In the late 1800’s schools were quite different from what they are now. They were generally a one-room building with a big wood or coal-burning stove in the center.
The grades usually ranged from first to eighth and were all taught in 10 – 15 minute sessions by one teacher. Having everyone in one room was an advantage to the younger grades because they could be taught by the older kids and could listen to their lessons.
The room was divided according to grade level and often by gender as well. Typically, the boys sat on one side of the room and the girls sat on the other. The day would start with the boys bowing and the girls curtsying to the teacher. Then there would be a reading from the Bible or some other book. From then on students would work quietly on their assignments while each class was called up for a lesson at the recitation bench.
School was not meant to be fun in those days. Everything the students learned was memorized and it was meant to be hard work. Teachers believed in R – A – W or Reading, Arithmetic and Writing. Although all three were emphasized greatly during school, writing usually came at the top of the list and students had to have classes in penmanship. These three subjects were considered the three great essentials. Stone slates were used to write on with slate pencils and pieces of sheepskin wrapped on a block of wood were their erasers.
A school year was divided into two terms. During the summer term older students stayed at home to help run the household. Many times female teachers taught the younger kids then. On the other hand, men taught the winter terms because it was easier for them to handle the older and rowdier boys.
Discipline was strict, and punishment was always handed out. Students who misbehaved would have to sit in the corner or for greater offences they would be in for a “licking” by the teacher using a hickory rod, which often cut clothes and flesh.
At the end of the day, some students would be asked to help with chores, such as wiping the blackboards, cleaning the chalk brushes, or bringing in wood for the next day’s fire. Then they would walk home, or ride horses in some cases.
Life wasn’t that much better for the schoolteacher. Pay was usually very low and the teachers were often very young. Sometimes a teacher’s contract would even extend to their social life, giving them a curfew and stipulating what sort of events they were permitted to attend.
In addition to teaching, the teacher was expected to get water from the well, light the fire for warmth in the schoolhouse every day, raise and lower the flag, sweep and scrub the floors, and wash the windows.
One-room schools were eventually merged together to create larger districts. This enabled Federal and State Education Departments to keep track of one school instead of ten. It also made it less difficult for the government to make sure that the students were all getting the same quality of education. These merges ended the era of the one-roomed schoolhouses.
YOUR TASK IS TO FIND A ONE-ROOM SCHOOLHOUSE. This is a log anywhere cache.
*Take and post a photo of the building - it must include your GPS.
*Give address or location of the building and the coordinates.
*If you know the history or year the building was built please share that information, as well as information on what the building is being used for now.
*The usual locationless cache rules apply - one "find" per geocacher and each school can be logged only once.
The coordinates listed for this cache is the first school built in Pierre, South Dakota in 1881. It sits in Steamboat Park and is maintained by the Eastside Women’s Club. They sometimes open it up to the public for visits.
Have fun and enjoy these gems of architectural history.
(No hints available.)