“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Edina in Hennepin County, Minnesota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)

Old Cahill School

Old Cahill School Marker image. Click for full size.
By K. Linzmeier, May 10, 2012
1. Old Cahill School Marker
[east side]
Inscription. [east side]
The Cahill Settlement was one of the early communities in the western half of Richfield Township. It was established in the 1850s by Irish immigrants fleeing famine in their native Ireland.

During the years of 1846, 1847 and 1848, the entire potato crop failed in Ireland. An estimated 1.5 million people died of starvation during the famine years. The pioneer families of the Cahill Settlement were among the 750,000 Irish emigrants that came to the United States during this period.

The community found its focal point at the junction of Cahill Road and West 70th Street in southwest Edina. Three buildings were erected at this intersection — the Cahill School, St Patrick's Catholic Church, and the Cameron Store which also served as the post office. The community was named for Father Thomas Cahill, an early missionary priest in Minnesota.

On June 27, 1864, Hugh Darcy deeded two acres of land to the Directors of School District No. 16 for school purposes. The property was on the southeast corner of Cahill Road and West 70th Street. The selling price was $5.00. A wood frame schoolhouse was built on this site in 1864.

The Cahill School is typical of the classic one-room schoolhouse of 19th century, rural America. The building's form and proportions, as well as
Old Cahill School Marker image. Click for full size.
By K. Linzmeier, May 10, 2012
2. Old Cahill School Marker
[west side]
the symmetrical placement of doors and windows recall the Greek Revival style, which was in vogue in Minnesota in 1864.

Its plan is similar to one recommended by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Strict segregation of the sexes was observed with separate entrances for boys and girls.
[west side]
Originally located at the center of the Cahill Settlement, this one-room schoolhouse was an important part of daily life in early Edina. During the school day, an average of 30 students in the first through eighth grades attended class. After school, the building served as a social center for the community, accommodating weddings, dances, theatricals, village elections and other community events.

Until 1884 the building was used as a chapel by St. Patrick's Catholic Church. The congregation had outgrown their first church, a log structure built in 1857 on the northwest corner of West 70th Street and Wooddale Avenue. From 1933 to 1938 Calvary Lutheran Church also held services at the school.

Built in 1864, the Cahill School was in continuous classroom use until 1958. In 1969 the building was acquired by the City of Edina and moved to its present site.

Restoration of the Cahill School was based on thorough historical and architectural research. The exterior of the school has been returned to its appearance
Old Cahill School and Marker image. Click for full size.
By K. Linzmeier, May 10, 2012
3. Old Cahill School and Marker
National Register of Historic Places #70000297
[marker is to the left]
in the early 1900s, with original paint colors, separate entrances for boys and girls, double hung windows, a wooden flag pole on the front, and a woodshed on the back.

Inside, the school has been restored with appropriate furnishings of the period — old-fashioned school desks, hand slates, a wood-burning stove, kerosene lamps, and turn-of-the-century McGuffey Readers.

Today, the Cahill School is a living history museum where school children of all ages can relive the experience of attending a one-room country school. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, it is the oldest building in Edina.
Location. 44° 54.642′ N, 93° 20.982′ W. Marker is in Edina, Minnesota, in Hennepin County. Marker is on Eden Avenue west of Grange Road, on the right when traveling west. Click for map. Marker is at Frank Tupa Park. Marker is at or near this postal address: 4924 Eden Avenue, Minneapolis MN 55424, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Minnehaha Grange Hall (here, next to this marker); Como–Harriet Streetcar Line (approx. 2.3 miles away); First School House (approx. 2.3 miles away); Geology of Minnesota (approx. 2.3 miles away); Harriet Bandshells / Our Park Legacy (approx. 2.4 miles away); The Crash of Flight 307 (approx. 2.7 miles away); PFC. Jimmy Berray (approx. 3.2 miles away); Richfield Pioneer Homestead (approx. 3.8 miles away).
More about this marker.
[photo captions, clockwise, east side]
St. Patrick's Catholic Church, c. 1906
Cahill School on original site, c. 1930
Recommended plan for rural schoolhouse, c. 1860
Interior of typical rural schoolhouse, c. 1900
[photo captions, clockwise, west side]
Cahill School on original site, c. 1935
National School Primer from 1864 found in school during restoration
St. Patrick's Catholic Church, c. 1857
Also see . . .  City of Edina. Cahill School. (Submitted on May 30, 2012.) 
Categories. EducationSettlements & Settlers
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 535 times since then and 60 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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