Our County History
by County Historian Marion W. Coplen

One does not have to travel very far in Kosciusko county today to find reminders that one time our county was dotted with over one hundred little red schoolhouses. Several of these buildings are still standing in our county, and are being used for residences, business houses, storage purposes etc.

In some cases a pile of red bricks marks the spot where an important institution of learning once stood. Every year a few more of these buildings are torn down. Before many more years pass by, we should make some effort to save at least a few of these buildings as a reminder of the past.

These brick buildings are symbols of the "district" system of school administration which was used in our county for a half century. In 1906 there were 118 of these one room district schools in our county. During the years immediately following these districts were rapidly consolidated and the buildings abandoned.

The district system started in a rather spontaneous way. Not long after the first settlers came to any given area in our county a log school house would be built and a teacher hired. The youngsters of the area would then receive some instructions in the "three R's" These first schools were not built with public funds; the interested citizens of the neighborhood would furnish the building materials and the labor necessary. the teacher's board, room and salary was taken care of by the parents of the children to be served.

These first schools were strictly under neighborhood control and it soon became evident that some kind of definite school district boundaries would have to be set so that overlapping of territory could be avoided. Township officials were then given the responsibility of bounding the school districts. Usually a 6 x 6 township would be divided into about nine districts.

Between 1845 and 1880 most of the log schools were replaced by frame buildings and from 1880 to 1900 the frame buildings gave way to brick structures.

Any reminiscences which our readers can send us concerning these one room schools will be appreciated.

Warsaw Times-Union Tues. Feb. 10, 1953