Restored century-old one room schoolhouse in rural Indiana

Sep 22, 2014 by

Stepping through the door of the one-room Simmons School in Hope, Indiana, visitors are transported a hundred years to a different, simpler way of life.

On Sunday, the meticulously restored brick building will host a celebration to mark the 25th anniversary of the moving of the schoolhouse to its current location.

Simmons School was originally located 4 miles northwest of Hope, and its earliest incarnation was a log building that was erected in the late 1870s. It was later replaced by a brick edifice with an entrance hall and a bell tower.

Schoolhouse time machine: Stepping through the door of the one-room Simmons School in Hope, Indiana, visitors are transported a hundred years 

Schoolhouse time machine: Stepping through the door of the one-room Simmons School in Hope, Indiana, visitors are transported a hundred years

Old-school education: Schoolmarm Janet Baldwin leads students in a lesson September 9

Old-school education: Schoolmarm Janet Baldwin leads students in a lesson September 9

Partial historical records show that about 45 students of all ages typically attended Simmons School and were taught by a single teacher – usually a woman.

The humble institution remained in use until 1907, when all the students from Hawcreek Township were transferred to Hawcreek Central School.

Since its restoration a quarter-century ago, students from all across Indiana have been traveling to Simmons School to learn about life at the turn of the previous century.

A hundred years ago, children attending Simmons School did all their schoolwork with pen and ink, and were graded for neatness and the quality of their penmanship.

Sloppy writers and slow learners were forced to wear a dunce cap in class as punishment.

After the schoolhouse shut its doors more than a century ago, the building was used as living quarters for the local Simmons family, a farming facility, a cannery, a tool shed and a grain barn.

Milestone: The one-room schoolhouse was moved, restored and reopened 25 years ago, and there will be a celebration September 20 to mark the occasion

Milestone: The one-room schoolhouse was moved, restored and reopened 25 years ago, and there will be a celebration September 20 to mark the occasion

Student body: About 45 students of all ages typically attended Simmons School and were taught by a single teacher

Student body: About 45 students of all ages typically attended Simmons School and were taught by a single teacher

 New lease on life: Since the school reopened 25 years ago, it has been drawing children from all over the state coming to experience a different way of life 

 New lease on life: Since the school reopened 25 years ago, it has been drawing children from all over the state coming to experience a different way of life

By the time the Hauser Historians, a history club at the local high school, stumbled upon the old schoolhouse, the building was in a sorry state, with broken windows, caved-in floors , cracks in the walls and not a chalkboard in sight.

After years of research and fundraising, Simmons School was loaded onto a giant truck and driven four miles south down Indiana 9 to Hope – a town of about 2,000 located 15 miles outside of Columbus

‘Simmons School has a lot of value to this community,’ said Barb Johnson, chair of the Simmons School committee. ‘I think it’s the idea that it all started as a dream and then it happened. It wasn’t just a couple people; it was the whole community.’

Plans were already in place to build a new Hope Elementary building beside Hauser High School on Indiana 9 when Glen Keller, then the superintendent, suggested including a one-room schoolhouse at the educational complex.

‘I had no idea anyone had even heard my suggestion, because there were no “boos” from the crowd,’ he told The Republic.

Little school on the prairie: Restored century-old one room schoolhouse in rural Indiana where time stands still  | Daily Mail Online.

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