Richmond Township Schools
by Jane Glenz
The Ainsworth School is located just north of the City of Shawano. In 1870 it was in District 1, Town of Richmond, Village of Shawano and Town of Shawano and was located west of the Wolf River. When a new School was built east of the Wolf River, it was known as Dist. 1, Town ofWestcott. In 1927 it was called Ainsworth school, no doubt getting that name from the Ainsworths who lived in the district. In 1876 a special meeting was held and the voters elected not to have a joint district with the village (city) of Shawano and Richmond. Charles and James Magee, J. Winans and Joseph Bower called this meeting. The City of Shawano and Town ot Richmond appealed to the state. At that time there were 55 children enrolled. The state agreed to let a school be built on the present site of the Ainsworth School.
The first records available were those dating back to September 5, 1870. At that annual meeting Chas. Mages was elected chairman and J. A. Winans elected clerk. The district raised $400 for teacher’s salary and $100 for incidentals.
A frame school building was constructed in 1878. “In 1879 a woodshed was built. The schoolhouse was usually cleaned by some member of the board. Later a janitor was hired and he was paid from $3.00 to $20.00 per year. In 1894, it was decided to build a new school. In 1915 the school was lathed and plastered. In 1927 voters decided to erect a one story building and $7,000 was raised to build it. In 1939 they wanted to add an addition to the building but the voters decided to build a second school in another location in the district.. This was built and became the West Shore School.
The annual meetings were ususally held in the fall of the year and many started at 6 o’clock. At one meeting so few attended that they had to have it at a later date. It was voted to have a female teacher around the 1920’s.
The Klebesadel School was located about two miles west of Shawano on County trunk M. It was known as Joint School District No. 2 of the Towns of Richmond and Belle Plaine. The first school was a frame building erected prior to 1870 at a cost of $156. In 1922 this building was sold to Ed Klebesadel for $125. The second school was built in 1922 at a cost of $5500. It consisted of a large classroom, stage, library, storage room and two cloakrooms.
The school was in operation continually until 1951 when the enrollment dropped to five children. These children were transported to the Beversdorf School until it closed. The highest enrollment in the Klebesadel school at any one time was 36 children.
It was not too difficult to get teachers because of the school’s nearness to Shawano. Some of the teachers who lived in Shawano walked to this school, winter and spring, in good weather or bad. They started out early to be to school by 8 o’clock, get the fire started and have the building warm by the time the children arrived. At one time the Board had 16 applications. This made it difficult to make a choice, so the applicants were to appear before the Board. As the interviews progressed, they asked one teacher if she could play the piano. She said she could, so she got the job.
(No picture of the school is shown.)
WEST SHAWANO SCHOOL
The first school district organizational meeting for West Shawano was called in August, 1912. The district was to be a square mile and had one of the largest property valuations in the area as a result of the Wolf River Paper and Fiber Co. being a part of the district. The newly formed district held its first annual meeting in September, 1912. Property was purchased from the paper company for $300. This was one of the last rural schools to be closed. Its doors were closed to students in 1968. For many years it served as the Richmond town hall but was torn down in 1993.
STONY HILL SCHOOL
The Stony Hill School, the church and cheese factory got their names from a huge rock located east of the school. At one time the men dug around this rock in an effort to move it but because of its size decided to leave it alone. It was later dynamited and removed when the road was blacktopped. At first the location was known as Stone Hill but it was later called Stony Hill and has since been known by that name. This was Joint District No. 3 of the town of Richmond and Herman.
William Erdman, grandfather of Olto Erdman, route 2, Shawano, came to this country from Germany in 1882, He settled on the present Erdman farm. The following spring a log school was erected on his property, a 12 x 14 building. The settlers who lived in the area and who sent their children to the school at that time were Carl Mailahn, Mike Ziebur, Carl Mode, Martin Maetke, Louis Brauer, Sr., Wm. Erdman, Herman Sauer, August Meifert, Sr., Wm. Springborn and Henry Ortman. This log school was also used for church services on Sunday by the traveling minister who visited the area every four or five weeks.
Among the first board members were Julius Erdman and Henry Ortman, who also served as a town clerk. The teacher was Julia Olson.
In 1892 land was leased from Martin Maetke and a frame building was constructed on the present Stony Hill site. This site was chosen because it was near the center of the district. The cost of the building was $100. The land was purchased when the new school was built.
In 1921 the present school was erected. This brick structure was a modern school at the time. It consisted of a large classroom, library, stage, storage room; two cloakrooms, indoor toilets and a basement playroom. The cost was $7,500. Chas. Mode, Julius Erdman and Art Kuhn were on the school board at that time.
In 1922, this school was rented to the Stony Hill church for services on Sunday until their new church was completed.
The school population fluctuated, at one time the children had to sit three in a seat. In 1944 the enrollment was small so the children from Pine Grove School were transported to the Stony Hill School.
Many of the sons of former board members succeeded their fathers to their positions, such as Julius Erdman to Otto Erman; Carl Mailahn to Fred Mailahn, Ed Springborn to Ralph Springborn. Chas. Mode served as treasurer for many years. Gust Koeller, Louis Ringel, Wm. Suehring were also board members. The board members who were serving at the time of the integration were Mrs. Carl Posselt, clerk; Adolph Kunz, treasurer; and Ralph Springborn, director.
There are only two names recalled of early teachers who taught in the log school house, Miss MeClone and Julia Olson. Some of the other teachers were Emma Eberlein, Ida Eberlein, Mathilda Neitzel, Martha Pahlow, Mrs. Kate Gory, Eunice Ainsworth, Julis Arndt, Iva Culver, Kathy Hoffman, Theresa Tuma, Charlotte Ollman, Anna Spiegel, Virginia Stefl, Hazel Evans, Laura Kubsack, Mabel Thiel, Ida Grosskopf, Emil Grosskopf, Alice Aderman, Vanic Wisnefske, Mable Paiser, B. C. Cattau, Evelyn Sabrowsky, Adelaide Gumaer, Mable Holz, Florence Falk, Rose O’Brien, Evelyn Wolf, Dorothy Berndt and Mildred Schmidt.
The picture of Forest School was taken about 1905. The teacher was Miss Laura Rather who later married M. G. Eberlein, Sr., a Shawano attorney and later circuit judge. She was the first teacher at this school when it was on the original site next to the Whitehouse Bridge on county trunk A. Later the school building was moved to the west and a basement added. In later years an entry was added to the front of the school.
Forest School was in District 3, Town of Richmond, until it was joined to District 8 in 1950 at the time of consolidation. It was closed in 1967.
RED RIVER SCHOOL
The first Red River School was a log structure built in the year 1882 on property from the Herman Wruck farm. The log building served district No. 2 until 1896 when the building was sold to August Krueger for $8.50. The log building was then replaced by the present building (pictured above) which was erected by John Robinson
The school was closed in 1965.
The three Sperberg brothers, Ludwig, William and Herman, lived near the Opperman Bridge. The brothers decided to go to the state of Texas and sold their farms. However, instead of moving to Texas they bought farms near the reservation line and named the road, the Texas Road.
The children from this area attended the Red River School until it became too crowded. Residents in the locality offered to buy Paul Martens, Sr. a new hat if he would get a new district organized. Mr. Martens got his hat and in 1908 a school was built on property of Henry Korth and it was named the Texas School. There were 53 pupils attending the school. It was closed in 1966.