One-Room School books now available for purchase

One-Room Schools of Lake County -- a History and Self-Driving Guide, is now available for sale at the Lake County Historical Museum, 915 N. Michigan Avenue in Baldwin, Michigan. The 90-plus page, quality full-color printed publication is $20 with all funds benefiting the Museum. (Courtesy photo)

One-Room Schools of Lake County -- a History and Self-Driving Guide, is now available for sale at the Lake County Historical Museum, 915 N. Michigan Avenue in Baldwin, Michigan. The 90-plus page, quality full-color printed publication is $20 with all funds benefiting the Museum. (Courtesy photo)

For the past several months volunteer staff at the Lake County Historical Society have spent hundreds of hours compiling the history that represent the one-room schools that were built in Lake County.

School histories, stories, photographs and documents have been collected by not only those at the Society, but from other Lake County Historical Museums.

The society thanks the Chase Library History Room, The Luther Area Museum, the Martin Johnson Heritage Museum as well as private individuals for their contributions over the years.

This collection of work culminated in a historical publication self-published by the Society.

The new book One-Room Schools of Lake County — a History and Self-Driving Guide, is now available for sale at the Lake County Historical Museum, 915 N. Michigan Avenue in Baldwin, Michigan. The 90-plus page, quality full-color printed publication is $20 with all funds benefiting the Museum.

There were 86 schools known to have been constructed in Lake County from 1868 through 1935, with the majority of them one-room in size. That’s over 150 years since the first school teacher educated children in Lake County.

Of these 86 schools, 27 are still standing and range from being abandoned, used for storage, renovated into personal residences and businesses, to one preserved and opened as a public museum.

The Eden Township Unit School (Irons School) is located at the Martin Johnson Heritage Museum complex in Skinner Park, 10 ½ Mile Road just east of Irons and is open for tours on Saturdays from noon to 3 p.m. in July and August.

The guide book is complete with maps, suggested tours, addresses and GPS locations along with text and photographs, both vintage and contemporary, for each of the 63 schools where locations have been identified. The Map Key illustrates which locations have a standing school, a foundation, or is a preexisting location of a school.

Special features of the book include historical photos of schools under construction, exterior and interior shots and a number photos of teachers and class members. The contemporary photos, of the school buildings and foundations, included make it easy to confirm you have arrived at the correct location on your tour.

Pages from early school books, presentation awards, report cards, and teacher contracts make up just some of the documents included in the chapters, and each section begins with a song that was popular in one-room schools.

While the Society has made every effort to comprehensive and the historical information is correct to our best ability, surely there are more stories to be heard, school locations to be found and photographs to surface. We welcome all additional information that the public may be able to share. The Society’s goal is to preserve the rich history of the schools and their teachers that educated our youth across Lake County.

The publication and printing of this book One-Room Schools of Lake County was made possible with the donation of its production, and printing costs were paid for by private donations and a $1,000 grant from the Lake County Community Foundation.

Books are available in the Gift Shop of the Museum, which is open from noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.