Little Red Schoolhouse
Weyauwega rededicates historic building
By Angie Landsverk
After receiving updates and repairs, Weyauwega’s Little Red Schoolhouse Museum was rededicated.
A ribbon cutting and rededication ceremony took place Sunday, July 15, in the city’s Community Park.
“It’s a work in progress,” said Mary Jane Baehman, president of the Weyauwega Area Historical Society.
The project included replacing the siding on the outside of the building, repairing its windows, installing electrical outlets inside the schoolhouse and painting the exterior and interior.
In all, the project’s cost totaled about $6,400.
The historical society paid half the cost and the city covered the other half of it.
Built in 1861, the one-room schoolhouse was originally located about 1 1/2 miles south of Weyauwega, on County Trunk X.
Marietta Paap, a member of the historical society, said 1861 was the year of President Abraham Lincoln’s inauguration and also the year the South withdrew from the Union.
A flag on a wall in the school had 35 stars, displayed after West Virginia broke away from Virginia during the war between the states, she said.
“People think the country is divided today. That was divided,” Papp said. “They put that school up during that difficult time.”
The school was abandoned after the 1906-07 school year, as the number of students did not justify covering the cost of a teacher.
Up until 1935, it was used as a meeting place.
In 1960, the idea to preserve the school began being discussed.
Mr. and Mrs. George Kneisler donated the school from their property, with the local chamber of commerce financing the move.
“After it was placed here, people donated items for inside the schoolhouse,” said Pat Ritchie, who is also a member of the historical society.
Baehman said nothing gets accomplished without a lot of “good, caring people.”
The city agreed to have the schoolhouse in its park and to promote and support it, she said.
She said Bill Piotter spent hours working on the outside of the schoolhouse this summer, while Bob and Judi Rehm spent hours working on its inside.
Baehman said the schoolhouse is the oldest one of its kind in the state.
She hopes that in the future, others embrace it as well continue to take care of it.
The arbor in front of the schoolhouse was made possible by a donation from the late Florence Oehlke, who was a member of Weyauwega’s historical society.
The high school’s technology education students built it and the fence.
Baehman said the historical society hopes one day to have a sidewalk leading up to the front door of the school.
The group works with local schools, organizations and churches and plans to add more landscaping next spring.
For the rest of the summer, the Little Red Schoolhouse Museum will be open to the public from 1-4 p.m. on Sundays, through the first Sunday in September.