WISCONSIN HISTORICAL SOCIETY

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Explore Wisconsin History

School is in session! Take a seat at your desk and enter the era of the one-room schoolhouse, where generations of rural Wisconsin children came of age.

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Kids reading books in a Reed School classroom

You don’t have to walk up hill, both ways, to explore the history of Wisconsin schoolhouses at Reed School. Before 1960, most rural Wisconsin children were educated in a one-room school just like this. One-room education reflects a less mobile, more rural time in our history. Reed School, built in 1915, served as a one-room country school through 1951. It provided a first through eighth-grade education with only one teacher. The school is typical of the more than 6,000 one-room schools that dotted the landscape of rural Wisconsin.

Things To Explore

1915 School House

When it was built in 1915, Reed School had an innovative design. It was a concrete brick structure measuring 30 feet x 50 feet, unusual for the era. It boasted a concrete foundation and a wood-frame bell tower. While it was modern for the time, Reed School lacked indoor bathrooms, plumbing and a water supply. Water was carried in by hand and electricity wasn’t added until 1941.

Learn with the Wisconsin Historical Society

Learn With Us Virtually!

Live virtual programs in your classroom or on your learners’ screens!

Building on what teachers and students love about in-person visits to our museums and historic sites, these live, interactive programs will bring creativity, critical thinking, and empowered storytelling into your home or classroom.

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Wisconsin Historical Society Sites

Reed School is one of 12 historic sites and museums owned and operated by the Wisconsin Historical Society. Explore all of these sites below.

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Black Point Estate, a view of the tower and the rest of the building, the clouds are beautiful and really frame the building.

Black Point Estate & Gardens

A circus cart on a lawn, bright red, yellow, and orange colors.

Circus World

An old fashioned camera is set up facing a dramatic photo backdrop

H.H. Bennett Studio & Museum

Wood building with antlers attached. A sign reads Museum

Madeline Island Museum

A group of people bail hay out of an old fashioned cart

Old World Wisconsin

Pendarvis house at dusk, orange colored brick and white trim windows and doors. A stone wall lines the house next to the road. The lamp is lit.

Pendarvis

A older white couple holding hands and walking towards the Stonefield buildings

Stonefield

The Villa Louis Manor on a sunny day, victorian architecture on elegant display

Villa Louis

People visiting the Arts and Crafts Fair at Wade House

Wade House

Walking by the Capitol Square

Wisconsin Historical Museum

Inside the Reed School classroom, with vintage desks and a chalkboard

Reed School

The two historical buildings of Wisconsin's First Capital

First Capitol

Learn more about all our sites here!

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