“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Odebolt in Sac County, Iowa — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)

Iowa Rural Schools History

Iowa Rural Schools History Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, August 10, 2017
1. Iowa Rural Schools History Marker
Iowa Rural Schools History
Willow Tree School (Richland #1) is representative of Iowa's 12,623 rural schools that made up the State of Iowa's Rural School System from 1858-1966. Iowa was progressive in designing an equitable public school system to serve all farm children in grades one to eight, using one teacher per school. Each school served families within a four square mile area surrounding it. This meant all children had no more than a two mile walk to school. The Rural School System helped create a distinct Iowa culture after the Civil War by educating and assimilating over a million immigrant farm settlers. Even though they spoke different languages and came from different cultures, within thirty years they managed to create a Corn Belt economy out of a tall grass prairie. Although mostly rural, by 1901 Iowa tied for the most literate state and maintained this status and achieved top test scores in the nation while the system operated.

History of This Representative School
Sebastian Buehler, a decorated Civil War Union soldier who had immigrated from Germany in 1855 at the age
Iowa Rural Schools History Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, August 10, 2017
2. Iowa Rural Schools History Marker
of 9, was the first to buy land in Richland Township, Sac County in 1871. (Odebolt was platted in 1877.) He was followed by his brother-in-law, Valentino Rudolph, his brother Jacob and others he invited to join him. Sebastian donated an acre of land, NE tip of Section 11, for the school and was the first teacher. The school operated from 1883 until 1951. It then served as the Richland 4-H Boys Clubhouse until it was sold in 1959 for $281.50 to Harold and Ruth Boney for use as a livestock building. In 2011, it was donated to the City of Odebolt by Curtis and Carol Raasch. It was moved to the Odebolt Legacy Square by Sebastian Buehler's great-grandson, Don Hoefling, and great-great grandson, Dale Hoefling.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: EducationSettlements & Settlers.
Location. 42° 18.713′ N, 95° 15.085′ W. Marker is in Odebolt, Iowa, in Sac County. Marker can be reached from West 2nd Street just west of Main Street, on the left when traveling west. Marker is mounted at eye-level at Iowa Rural Schools Museum (1883 Willow Tree School) entrance. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 122 West 2nd Street, Odebolt IA 51458, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 3 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Odebolt Centennial Time Capsule (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line);
Willow Tree School image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, August 10, 2017
3. Willow Tree School
(marker visible just left of entrance)
Richland Township #1 — Sac Co.
Built 1883, Closed 1951

Willow Tree School replaced the Fred Petersmeyer's Farm School started in 1876. Fred, father of 14 children, was a German carpenter turned farmer who built this school with other farmers. The State paid $200+ for the materials.

Restoration Completed 2013
City of Odebolt - Rural Legacy Project
By Greg Neville Construction & Volunteers
Restoration Architect Consultant: Marie V. Sedlecek
Rural Legacy Committee Chair: Carol Raasch
Museum Curators: Sandra Kessler Host; Dee Kessler Engstrom
Odebolt World War I Monument (about 300 feet away); Odebolt • Popcorn Capital of the World (approx. 0.3 miles away).
Also see . . .  Iowa Rural Schools Museum. The Iowa Rural Schools Museum captures the spirit and pride of Iowa's rural past. The school once stood in Richland Township, Sac County, Iowa, and was known as Willow Tree or Richland #1. (Submitted on December 11, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
"Time for School" Sculpture image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, August 10, 2017
4. "Time for School" Sculpture
Sculpture "Time for School" by Dr. William Faller is dedicated to the families and their descendants who built and maintained this school and to the memory of all scholars of Iowa's rural schools.

Sebastian and Mary Obrecht Buehler 1871
Valentino and Catherine Buehler Rudolph 1871
Jacob and Elise Einspahr Buehler 1872
Henry and Elizabeth Reutzel Kessler 1874
William and Verena Widmer Meyer 1875
August and Catherine Buehler Dannenberg 1875
Frederick and Caroline Saak Petersmeyer 1876
Henry and Caroline Petersmeyer Frevert 1876
Adam and Barbara Haefner Halboth 1877
August and Louisa Rabe Dannenberg 1879
Karl and Catherine Beckley Frevert 1880
George and Mary Ann Lickel Aupperle 1880
Carl and Caroline Krowas Siebrecht 1888
William and Delilah Cree Rhule 1982

Donated by Dr. Faller, Rural Legacy Project, and Tony & Sandra Kessler Host
"Time for School" Sculpture image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, August 10, 2017
5. "Time for School" Sculpture
(1883 Willow Tree School in left background)
Credits. This page was last revised on December 11, 2020. It was originally submitted on December 10, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 30 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on December 11, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.
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Mar. 2, 2021