Wisconsin’s Old-Time Schoolhouses

Nelson School

This Nelson School in Buffalo County has been tough to chase down. It is now an apartment building. I asked Facebook members of Nelson to help me, and they did. Let’s see if I can piece together what they told me.


I believe there was a Nelson school in the early 20th century. The first school was in Cascade Valley, about five miles north of Nelson. It was in the residence of Mrs. Marriam Bell, the teacher. There was an old log schoolhouse also in Cascade Valley.


The school shown in the opening photo opened in 1926 or 1927. I believe it replaced whatever schools were then in the Nelson area. It was a grade school and high school. The high school was on the second floor, and the grades were on the first. There were two grades in each room.


 One person said the high school closed in 1953, though another said maybe in 1955. I believe the grade school shut down in the Spring of 1963. 


John Nelson, an Englishman, settled on the Mississippi at the mouth of the Chippewa in 1844. The place became known as Nelson’s Landing.” It was popular to pass through during travels on the Mississippi River. Madison Wight arrived in 1848 and is seen as the first permanent settler. The town was platted in 1884.