This one-room schoolhouse was built in 1915 and operated through 1951. It provided a first- through eighth-grade education with only one teacher. The Reed School is typical in this regard to more than 6,000 one-room schools that dotted the landscape of rural Wisconsin. This type of school formed the basis of the educational system for rural children throughout the United States between the mid 19th century when communities built and sustained public schools to the first half of the 20th century when rural areas consolidated their districts and built larger schools.
Backstory and Context
According to the Wisconsin Historical Society, "Reed School was originally named Pleasant Ridge, which was the first school in the Neillsville area. The name reflected the beautiful views that inspired early farmers to settle there. In 1878 the building was moved to land donated by Thomas and Lucretia Reed. In honor of this donation, the school was renamed Reed School. In February 1915 Reed School burned to the ground. In response to the fire, the School Board of Grant Township District 1 authorized the construction of the current Reed School that same year.
The Pleasant Ridge community took pride in its new schoolhouse. Though it was a modern up-to-date building for its time, Reed School lacked some basic amenities we enjoy today. There was no indoor plumbing and the property never had a well. Students used two outhouses in the schoolyard, one for girls and the other for boys. Drinking water was carried in milk cans to the school from a neighboring farm. Electricity didn't come until 1941."