Wisconsin - Old Time Schoolhouses

Maple Grove School

The Maple Grove Center School District No. 7 school is on Hwy 25, a tad south of the city of Barron in Barron County. It appears to be a private residence now. I believe it was part of the Barron County school system in the early days and was consolidated with the Barron County School System.

A Barron County History tells us,

“In early days, settlers availed themselves of every opportunity to hold religious meetings, and as soon as resources would permit, each denomination built a church. The first schoolhouse was built in 1877 on Division Avenue but was struck by lightning and burned in 1881. A new school was soon built, and by 1895, Barron also had a four-year high school course.”

The History of Barron County Wisconsin, edited by Newton S. Gordon and compiled by Franklin Curtiss-Wedge, published in 1922, notes that the school system in the county progressed as agriculture progressed, the school system lagging behind agriculture. Initially, logging drove the economic train in the county.

Most early schools were “primitive,” which matched how the county's people lived at home. The teachers did not have formal training and were usually a relative of a prominent person in the district. Some were as young as 16.

The first was a private school at Prairie Farm village in 1862, southwest of Barron. Employees' children at a Menomonie lumber company were taught there in a company cabin. Districts were created in 1869.

Settlers had a “lively interest in schools” and urged a school to be set up in the area where they lived regardless of how many students there might be. As a result, school populations were very small, sometimes less than a dozen. Books were not uniform in the districts; some buildings were log cabins with some desks and a chalkboard.

There were 42 schoolhouses in 1876, thirty-eight in good condition. Prairie Township had the best conditions.

Maple Grove was one of many townships in the county, located south of Barron and northwest of Dallas, along highway 25. It was platted between 1875 and 1880. References to the township go back to 1869. A quick history review shows most settlers came to the township in the 1870s-1880s. I have noted people being born in the township in the 1870s.

 A new schoolhouse was built in Maple Grove in 1897. Schools grew as agriculture endeavors grew.

The Maple Grove Center District 7 School was rated the “best one-room building in the county.” It provided a library, a domestic science room, separate teachers’ and pupils’ cloakrooms, a playroom, indoor toilets, and a good furnace.