For nearly 250 years the country school was the backbone of American education. These simple buildings often served as school, chapel, town hall and community center.This signage is supported by an Interpretive Grant from Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area. Freedom's Frontier is a 41-county region of eastern Kansas and western Missouri that provides opportunities to explore our history and its impact on the evolving ideal and fundamental American value of freedom. Visit www.freedomsfrontier.org for more information.
One-room schoolhouses were the most common type of schools in the Midwest from the mid-19th to the early 20th century. As the name implies, a one-room schoolhouse is a school with only one classroom in which one teacher taught many students of differing ages and grade levels. Older students helped younger ones with their work and carried out classroom chores for the teacher.
The schoolhouse was usually the first public building to be constructed in pioneer or rural towns. The building was also used for other public functions, such as social events, political meetings and church services.
Students would often have the same teacher from first grade until age 16; the children of an entire community growing up together in one room.
Dedicated in 2011, the Pony School is an authentic reproduction of an 1860s period one-room schoolhouse. It has a cupola for the bell and tall, custom built, double hung wooden windows with 19th century restoration glass that provide excellent lighting. Inside are handmade desks, each supplied with slates and chalk, as well as McGuffey readers and primers. Pine floorboards, beadboard paneling,
slate chalkboards, a raised platform for the school marm's desk and a potbelly stove replicate the frontier-era furnishings.
Funding for the Pony School was provided by a grant from the Daughters of the American Revolution, private donors, and the Pennies for the Pony School drive in which school children donated coins to build the school. Hillyard Technical School students assisted with its construction as part of a class project.