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Village of Prairie Grove, IL

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Barreville School

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Barreville School- Another One Room Schoolhouse

Memories of a Barreville School first grade student, Barreville village and Prairie Grove School in 1945 and later.

In 1945, Barreville School had 7 students, 1 boy and 6 girls. The youngest was a first grader, there was at least 1 3rd grader and there were 2 6th grade and 2 8th grade students. Mrs Ottoson was the teacher, the last one at Barreville School as this small school consolidated with Prairie Grove School at the end of the 1945 school year.


Many of the students had farm chores to do both before and after school, and had to walk to and from the school. Farm children enjoyed being at school as it released them from doing chores all day! The school was 1 room, and had 1 teacher. The boys would bring in wood each day for heating. They would start each day with the Pledge of Allegiance. There was a blackboard and a small piano. The hill across the street was a favorite sledding spot during the winter. The teacher would come out at the end of lunch recess and ring a bell to call the students back inside. This group of students would often ignore this summons if they were having fun sledding!

Her family lived on a farm on the north east corner of Justen and Wright, where they raised and milked dairy cows, and raised chickens, pigs, ducks and geese. They also had a very large vegetable garden. They made their own lye soap, and hauled water from the milk house.

That first grade student remembers that she and her sisters had to walk the cows up the street from their farm to a pasture off of Justen Road every morning before school opened. Then they would turn around, walk back down Justen to Wright, turn west on Wright to Barreville Rd, then walk south to the school which was on the corner of Barreville and Ames. The building is now a home. Wright was often very swampy so she would have to wear black buckled boots, which she hated. In the winter they would break through the ice that covered the road. She remembers sleeping behind the piano on a rug.

Barreville was a very rural community. Most people lived on farms. There was a small cluster of houses at the corner of Barreville Road and Nish Road, some of which still exist. There were threshing bees, where community members would gather at 1 farm to gather in the crop. The women would provide a huge meal. Children would earn some spending money by digging worms and selling them to fishermen who came to the Fox River to fish.

After the school year of 1945, Barreville School was consolidated into Prairie Grove School District and, except for the ones who had been 8th graders, the students had to repeat their previous grade level. Miss Feffer was the principal and only teacher at the school and she was very strict. The school served about 20 to 25 students, all in 1 room! After the students hung up their coats in the cloakrooms, a typical day would begin with the pledge of allegience to the flag. Then reading would begin. Miss Feffer would start with the youngest grade and go up to the highest, while the other students worked in workbooks. Writing, arithmetic and other subjects would be done the same way.Traveling art, music and physical education teachers would come once a week. They had typing in the upper grades, for 15 minutes each day using a big black typewriter. There was a Christmas program every year, with grab bag gifts and students singing. Students received their vaccinations at the school. There were very few days missed due to snow; on very snowy days a farmer might hitch up some horses to a wagon filled with hay and take children home. In the spring there was the Maypole. The students would dance around the pole holding onto ribbons and singing until the pole was covered. The playground was on the west side of the school and contained a basketball hoop. The boys would play basketball, and the girls would play baseball or just talk. Once a month the students each brought a potato, which they baked in the oven of the stove and ate with their lunch. The smell was wonderful! Punishment for for bad behavior was stern. A few boys were caught smoking behind the trees by the playground and had to pick up the cigarette butts and chew them.

Drawing of the inside of Prairie Grove School

Terra Cotta School, on the corner of Route 31 and Edgewood, operated at the same time as Barreville School.

This is the inside of Barreville School's one room during the last year it existed, 1944-45, as described by Marge, who was a first grade student that year.