Great Plains, 1880-1920
One-Room Schools |
Rural Schools |
School Children |
Soon after the first settlers had arrived on the northern prairies
and had built their homes, their efforts turned toward two other very
important institutions—schools and churches. The earliest education
often began with reading in the home by a parent to a child. In 1883
the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Dakota passed a public
school law, which established the common school system in the territory.
As local government became established, a school system began to be
implemented which was usually on the township level in rural areas,
run by a locally elected board. As farmers prospered, one-room schools
began to be built and dotted the rural landscape. Children attended
school provided they were not needed at home to help on the farm.
Teachers, many with very little formal training, were hired for school
terms of various lengths. Teachers often boarded with one family or
another during the school sessions or walked or rode long distances.
Not only did they teach all grades and all ages, they lit the fire
in the morning before anyone arrived and swept out the room in the
evening after everyone had left. The teachers also had to contend
with the children of newly arrived immigrants, who often did not know
any English when they arrived on the school doorsteps.
Return to the main Hultstrand
view another Hultstrand exhibit:
Women | Sod Homes
Northern Great Plains: Photographs from the Fred
Hultstrand and F.A. Pazandak Collections