Continuing our look at relics of the past, the one-room schoolhouse.

I think the country schoolhouse definitely fits the category of cultural items that have come and gone in North America (but for a few pockets here and there).  The Amish are probably the most obvious example of a group maintaining the small rural school tradition.

old amish schoolhouse

I love old one-room school buildings.  You still see them driving through rural areas.  Sometimes they have been converted to alternate uses, like storage, or living quarters (how neat would that be, assuming the roof didn’t leak).  Other times–in many cases–they are wasting away under the elements.

Through their history Amish have often taken over old one-room schools.  Today, most are built by the Amish.  Most people have a good picture in their mind of what an Amish one-room school looks like.

Still, there is a good bit of variety among the different Amish groups (the book to read if you are interested is Train Up a Child: Old Order Amish and Mennonite Schools by our friend Karen Johnson-Weiner).

A few facts on Amish schools:

  • Not all Amish schools are one-room.  Some are divided into two classrooms, one for grades 1-4, the second for 5-8.
  • The Amish schools of Allen County, Indiana are huge in comparison to others.  See a photo here.
  • Some Amish students attend school under electric lights.  Where?  Amish in Lancaster County partner with Old Order Mennonites on education.  Both Amish and Old Order Mennonite children will attend the same schools, particularly in the northern half of the county, where OOMs are found.  Old Order Mennonite-built schools will have technologies that wouldn’t be seen in Amish-built schools.  The other example of electric lighting would be Amish kids in public schools.
  • Not all Amish school teachers are women, or in rare cases, even Amish.
brick amish school

The community where this schoolhouse is found has been around since the 1960s.  What do you notice about this school?


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