Belle Plaine Township Schools
by Jane Glenz
LONG LAKE SCHOOL
The late A. L. Pahr, County Superintendent of Schools for many years named the Long Lake School which was in District No. 4, Town of Belle Plaine. A lake near the school suggested the name. The first school building was erected in 1889 on land purchased for the price of $1.00 from Charles Nicolaus. He was the first clerk of the district. When Mr. Nicolaus’s house burned, all the early school records were destroyed as well.
The school that remains standing today was erected in 1917. This was the first fire-proof school to be erected in the area. It had brick on the outside and tile on the inside and was considered the most modern school building of that time. Inside restrooms were installed in 1930. The school was closed in 1945 because of small enrollment and children were transported to the Grass Lake School. The building was never used again.
The lowest enrollment was just a single pupil and the highest was 35 pupils. When Sadie Breed taught there Reinhard Nicolaus was her only pupil for almost an entire school term. Most of the students attended parochial school and the school program was arranged to accommodate those taking religious instruction. The children usually went one-half day to parochial school and one-half day to public school. In 1932 there were six children enrolled at Long Lake school.
SUNNY HILL SCHOOL
The Sunny Hill School was located three miles southwest of Shawano on Highway 22. This was school district #7 of the township of Belle Plaine. The district was organized in 1869, 4 years after the close of the Civil War.
The first school was built in 1869 on a tract of land leased from Samuel McConley and was a log construction. In 1872, a new frame building was erected to replace the log building.
In the early years the school was technically named District 7 of Belle Plaine, but was commonly referred to as the McConley School. In 1919 the name of Sunny Hill was adopted at a school meeting. This name was a natural because of the well exposed, elevated location of the school. Also, about this time, a covered porch was attached to the front.
The school ceased operation in 1944. In 1954 the building was purchased by the Shawano County Hospital. (No picture shown.)
GRASS LAKE SCHOOL
The Grass Lake School, formerly in District 5, Towne of Belle Plaine, was located 1 1/2 miles east of Highway 22.
It was named for the Grass Lake Road which passed the school. There are no records as to when the first school was built, but early settlers believed it was in the late 1800’s.
The first school was a frame building which stood on the present property of the St. Martin’s Lutheran Church. When the new school was built, the old building was sold to the church congregation to use as a parish hall. Later the building was sold and the material used to build a home on Highway 22 near the county hospital.
A brick building was erected in 1916. This school was in operation until 1940. St. Martin’s Congregation was also operating a parochial school and most of the children attended this school. Because of the lack of pupils in the public school, Grass Lake was closed and the building was rented to St. Martin’s for a parochial school for five years. In 1948 it was reopened as a public school and accepted the children from the Beyer School which closed at that time. Grades from I to 8 were taught until integration with District 8. Then grades I – 6 were in the school. Later it was just grades I – 4. The school was closed in 1968.
SUNSET VIEW SCHOOL
In 1855 the Abraham Peterson family moved into and settled in the area which was later to become the township of Belle Plaine. One of the sons, after service in the Civil War, returned to the area and built a general store and a post office which were a stage coach stop for travelers between the small towns of New London and Shawano. The community which grew up around this stage coach stop was called Belle Plaine.
In 1870 Mr. Peterson was influential in establishing a permanent school site for this settlement. A frame sch00100house was built on land he set aside for this purpose and the school was known as Peterson School.
Meanwhile, a railroad was built to service this area. The post office as moved to the station site, a town hall was built and the name of the town was changed to Belle Plaine.
The school was not moved, but in 1908 the frame schoolhouse was replaced by a brick building and the old frame building became a woodshed.
When the school became a part of the county system, it was renamed Lake View School. The lake, which gave the school its name, was drained to make more land available for farming so it was renamed Sunset View.
In 1950 the Sunset View school district joined District #8. About two years later the school was closed because of small numbers.
The Beversdorf School, in the Town of Belle Plaine, had an interesting history. It served many families and was the community center for the people living in that area.
On September 29, 1874, one half acre of land was leased to erect a school building. There are no records noting when the district started as a joint district of Pella, Belle Plaine and Richmond. In 1884 a meeting was held to move the school to a more central location and in 1885 land was leased and a school erected. A brick building was built. In 1961, it was sold to a Green Bay man and torn down.
The Beversdorf School was known as Joint District No. 8, Town of Belle Plaine until 1921 when it was changed to the Beversdorf School named in honor of August Beversdorf, clerk of the district who was elected to the State Assembly in 1920. Records indicate that he visited the school at least once a year.
The first annual meeting was held in 1876. At the 1878 meeting it was decided to have six months of school, beginning October 15, running for three months. This was called “winter school.” The school year often varied from six months to eight months. Not until 1907 did school continue through the winter, starting in October and ending in May.
In 1910 seventy children were enrolled in grades I to 8. The school was closed in the summer of 1956.
PINE RIDGE SCHOOL
The first school in District 3, Town of Belle Plaine, was a log building completed in 1863. It was then known as the Culver School and was located on the corner presently occupied by the Club 22.
The second school was a frame building on land at that time owned by Richard Evans. The third building was erected upon one half acre of land leased by C. A. Culver for school purposes. This building was completed in 1886.
The last school house was of brick veneer built on a low hill surrounded by pines. The upper grade pupils were assigned a composition to select a school name. Pine Ridge was chosen.
Martha Holtz originated the idea of having a reunion of former schoolmates and teachers. These reunions were usually held the first Sunday in August. A pot luck lunch was served. This practice was continued for a number of years.
The school was closed in 1953 and the remaining students were transported to the Riverbank School.
The school is no longer in existence. (No picture shown).