“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Valley City in Barnes County, North Dakota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)

King School / Raise A-B to the Fifth Power

King School/Raise A-B to the fifth power Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Connor Olson, June 14, 2021
1. King School/Raise A-B to the fifth power Marker
King School
When the last students walked out of the King School in 1967, their departure marked the end of an era—the closure of the last operating one-room schoolhouse in Barnes County. Once, over 100 of these tiny institutions dotted the prairie, serving every township in the county.

The first Barnes County one-room schools were organized in the late 1870s and early 1880s, and often met in farmhouses or attics. As the population grew, townships began to build their own schoolhouses. By 1910, there were over 100 schoolhouses in the county. Some were brick or stone, but most were frame buildings similar to the King School.

Although law required that all 8-14 year old children attend at least twelve weeks of school each year, school terms were arranged around the crucial work of planting and harvesting, when all family members—down to young children—were needed to help on the farm.

Today, most of the school buildings are gone and few people remain who can remember life in a frontier school.

Raise A-B to the Fifth Power
Rural schoolteachers were often
King School/Raise A-B to the fifth power Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Connor Olson, June 14, 2021
2. King School/Raise A-B to the fifth power Marker
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high school graduates who had attended summer school at teachers' colleges such as the Valley City State Normal School. Their contracts usually stipulated moral standards as well as academic requirements. In addition to teaching "spelling, orthography, reading, writing, arithmetic, language lessons, English grammar, geography, United States history, physiology and hygiene," they were often asked not to smoke or drink, attend dances or date during the week.

Rural teachers were often required to haul fuel for their classrooms. They had to contend with a lack of equipment, lack of ventilation-and unsanitary outhouses! To pay for supplies, they often organized fundraisers such as "basket socials," where women in the district brought food baskets to be auctioned. One of the most successful basket socials in the state was held in 1909 at the Burchill School—it raised $122 for library books.

The forerunner to this building, a log cabin built in 1881 with donated labor and materials, was the first local school: District #3. This building was erected in 1889, less than a mile north of here, and the school was renamed King School in 1908. The present structure was built in 1930-complete with indoor toilets and a coal-burning furnace.
Winter warmth for the school buildings often came from woodstoves on top of which students

King School/Raise A-B to the fifth power Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Connor Olson, June 14, 2021
3. King School/Raise A-B to the fifth power Marker
and teachers would sometimes roast potatoes or dry wet mittens, socks, and coats.
Church meetings, political meetings, and entertainments such as suppers, dances, and debates were often held in schoolhouses. Although state law permitted the use of the schools for such events, It was illegal to unfasten the desks from the floor-those who did risked a fine of $5-$10.
Since students were placed in grades based on knowledge rather than age it was not unusual for some of the students to be older than their teachers.
After new teachers passed a rigorous exam, they were awarded an Elementary Certificate. Above are sample questions from the 1890 teaching certificate examination
All classes were required to be taught in English - sometimes a challenge in a land where children often spoke Norwegian, German or Swedish at home and at church.

Erected by Federal Highway Administration; NDDOT; Garrison Diversion Recreation Grant; and Valley City Food & Beverage.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: EducationSettlements & Settlers. A significant historical year for this entry is 1909.
Location. 46° 50.863′ N, 97° 59.818′ W. Marker is near Valley City, North Dakota, in Barnes County. Marker is on Kathryn Road south of 39th Street Southeast
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, on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Valley City ND 58072, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 13 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Sibley Trail (approx. 3.3 miles away); Herman Stern (approx. 5.2 miles away); Votes For Women (approx. 5˝ miles away); Kathryn / Sentinels of the Prairie (approx. 11.7 miles away); Walker’s Best / Grinding Away (approx. 12.3 miles away); A Tribute to Pioneer Living / Building a Hand-Hewn Cabin (approx. 12.3 miles away); Wadeson Cabin Historic Site (approx. 12.3 miles away); Waldheim Church / Ladies Aid Societies (approx. 12.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Valley City.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 21, 2021. It was originally submitted on June 20, 2021, by Connor Olson of Kewaskum, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 63 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on June 20, 2021, by Connor Olson of Kewaskum, Wisconsin. • Mark Hilton was the editor who published this page.

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Mar. 22, 2023