One-Room Country Schools

From 1947 to 1955 I attended Sheldon School, a one-room country school in Marquette County, Wisconsin. I haven’t been able to track down a photograph of Sheldon School from those days, and I haven’t found another school that closely resembles it. The image, though, remains fixed in my memory. It was larger than the one pictured in the photograph below, from a website about John Muir, who lived in the area for several years during his childhood. 

Photo from John Muir Home

For one thing, there were cement steps leading to the front door of the white-framed building. It was larger too – a coatroom at the entrance, separated by a wall from the classroom. At the back of the classroom was a huge woodburning furnace, which kept us warm in the winter months. On the wall opposite the furnace was a water cooler and a place for us to put our lunch boxes. 

“In the Wisconsin heyday of the one-room school, about 6,200 were operating in rural areas across the state, said Dale Williams, site director of the Reed School in Neillsville, which today is a historic site operated by the Wisconsin Historical Society. “They hit their peak in the 1930s, Williams said. “By the 1960s, they were virtually all gone. A few tiny schools remain in the state, including one on Madeline Island, but most have vanished or been transformed into museums, gift shops, bed-and-breakfasts and the like.” (from In the case of Sheldon, the school was remodeled in the 1960s as an attractive country home for the in-laws of George Robinson (my classmate, named in the story) and is now owned by George and his wife, Christine. 

For other photographs of one-room country schoolhouses, see:

3 thoughts on “One-Room Country Schools

  1. Of course you know that Sheldon school is still standing and has been used as a weekend retreat for many years. I attended Sheldon school from 1952 thru 1957. It was a great experience.


    • Gary, I”m so happy you happened to find this website. You probably remember me (Margie Johnson) and my brother Vince. I have written a story about May Baskets where I reference your brothers, Roger & Lyle. If you send me an email at, I’ll get back to you and make sure you get a copy of the story. I think George and Christine Robinson own the former Sheldon School and use it as a home.


  2. Hi Marjorie. I remember you from Sheldon school and also my folks were friends with your parents. I also remember Vincent as well. My sister Jennifer says she learned how to play the piano at your home. I think there is a picture of Roger and Lyle in sheldon school in the Harrisville centennial book. Nothing outside of the school. Nice to chat with you.
    Gary Stock


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