The schoolhouse was built in 1913 on an acre of land 6 miles south of Litchfield. The land was donated by Edward and Louise Wiard in 1885 as a future schoolhouse site.
The schoolhouse, a classic revival-style featuring a single story, red brick exterior, hip roof, and eight white Doric columns, was constructed at a cost of $3,500. The school had a white clapboard bell tower which housed a large brass bell. The inside consisted of a spacious entry leading to one large classroom, a small library, a cloakroom, storage and a basement.
By the late 1960’s, all rural schools in Meeker County were either closed or consolidated. Contents of the Little Red Schoolhouse were sold at an auction (some items have since been donated back to the schoolhouse,) and the building was sold to the Greenleaf Township for one dollar and used as a town hall until 2007.
Back row: Judy (Lundin) Walstad, Larry Carlson, Danny Carlson, Harold Lundin, Lois (Yost) Konietzko, Jan (Onell) Ehrlich, Front row: Marshall Carlson, Janet Lundin, LaVonne (Varland) Kruger, Einar Lundin, Jannel (Yost) Winings, Elaine (Lundin) Lenhard, Jody (Onell) Cronk, Bottom right: June (Sederstrom) Cavert, Mae (Nystrom) Brynetson
Since 2007, a committee has diligently worked on preserving the schoolhouse and its history. Highlights feature:
- The formation of a nonprofit, Little Red Schoolhouse, District 59, Inc.
- Official Board of Directors elected at the first Annual Meeting, July, 2011.
- Purchasing the building and grounds from Greenleaf Township, November, 2011.
- Received three grants which were used for removal of lead paint, interior primer coat applied, updating the electrical system and purchase of a handicap ramp.
- Volunteers painted the inside of the building, summer 2012.
- With donations, a new Little Red Schoolhouse sign installed.
- Summer, 2014, flag pole installed.
- Bell for the bell tower donated in May, 2015!
We had our first elementary class come to the school as a field trip to actually “revisit country school.” Students came in long skirts, sunbonnets, jeans and plaid shirts to learn lessons as taught in the early 1900’s. A historical schoolmarm led the class through the three “R’s,” reading, writing and arithmetic. Penmanship was practiced on slate boards and students stood to give their answers. An old-fashioned lunch was brought by the students in a wicker basket or metal pail. Students could purchase a souvenir from the gift store. The students loved it!
In addition to this field trip the school has hosted several “Ringing in Spring” Craft Sales, Holiday Craft Sales, 5 Annual Meetings with picnics following, and a Teacher’s Tea.
In addition to cash, the committee has received a display case, several wooden desks – some originally from the school, along with the original teacher’s chair.