After Oct. 5, visitors are welcome to take a seat on a bench in a one-room schoolhouse, grab a slate, a piece of chalk and play school like in the early 1900s.
And when it’s dedicated on that date, the new building at the Brown County Historical Society History Center will have a name.
Visitors to the History Center could cast their vote on naming the new schoolhouse for $1 through the end of September. They had 76 options to choose from — all names of former one-room schoolhouses in Brown County.
“No matter what name it has, it represents all of the one-room schools of that era,” said Alice Lorenz, treasurer of the Brown County Historical Society. “The very early ones were log, but many from the pictures that we have are framed and look very similar to this one.”
Story continues below gallery
Construction began in July. Dunlap and Co., the construction company that built the History Center, built the schoolhouse.
“We wanted it to complement. That’s why it has the gray siding,” Lorenz said.
The society plans to have the schoolhouse open at the same time as the Pioneer Village, since a schoolhouse is an “important part of an old-time village,” Lorenz said.
Benches allow seating for 24 people.
The society hopes to work with Brown County Schools to organize field trips there for classes, Lorenz said.
The schoolhouse also could be used for church services and weddings, like they were used in the early 1900s, Lorenz said. Couples have already inquired about using it for weddings, she added.
Donations funded the construction. It cost about $160,000, Lorenz said.
Dr. Tim Alward donated a woodstove from the 1800s. Ruth Reichmann donated a bell from the late 1800s. Reichman believes the bell may have been in a one-room schoolhouse that was operated near her property, Lorenz said.
The 500-square-foot building does not have running water and has limited electricity.
“It’s not meant to show that it has electricity, but we had to do some for code so we can have some light at night. But it only shines up at the ceiling, so you really don’t see that they’re light fixtures,” Lorenz said.
The society has received compliments on the new addition to the History Center grounds.
“People all have a story they want to tell about either they went to a one-room school and they’re a little older. Or their grandparents went,” Lorenz said. “They like to keep bringing up things they remember or heard about one-room schools.
“I think, over time, we’ll gain many stories and photos of all the different schools in Brown County. I think it will be very interesting for people to visit.”
What: Dedication of one-room schoolhouse building
When: 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 5, before the regular monthly meeting of the Brown County Historical Society
Where: History Center grounds