Museum Staff, "Country Schools," In The Midst Of, Cokato Historical Society (November, 2019) vol. 39 no. 4.
From the late 1890s and early 1900s, approximately 21 country schools dotted Stockholm, French Lake, and Cokato townships. Built during an era with no bus service, country schools were constructed to be within a mile or so walking distance for students. Primarily a one-room school house filled with grades 1-7, each grade had to take turns at lessons with the teacher. After completing country school, students either went right to work, or commuted to Cokato Public School for high school. Although relatively similar in concept, each country school experience was a little different.
Ruby Anderson Fielder was a country school teacher at Maple Grove school near Albrights Mill. In her article “A Teacher’s Challenge,” featured in the Fall 1997 In The Midst Of, Fielder wrote that after high school she had taken a one-year Teacher’s Training course provided by the state. According to Fielder, she was 17 years old when she started teaching, and was in charge of 28 students in eight different grades.
During early grade school, Gordy Erickson was a student briefly at Melquist country school before transferring to Temperance Corner. He remembers that unlike Melquist, Temperance Corner had chemical toilets inside, but they still had to go out and pump water. They also had a heater in the back room.
At Temperance Corner, Erickson recalled there being about 21-22 kids in grades 1-6. Erickson’s grade was comprised of four students: Joan Raisanen, Ron Thompson, Karen Dahlman, and himself. According to Erickson, “You learned more because you could listen to upper class people or you could listen to the lower class ones (lessons) if you didn’t pay attention to it before. The teacher took your grade up to the front table to do lessons.”