The Pioneer Schoolhouse Museum

In 1857, Reverend A. Iverson recognized the need for a local school building because of the importance of education in the Moravian religion. He donated land located behind the Iverson home and a building, constructed of flat-hewn logs, for the first public school in Door County. Pauline Larsen, the first teacher, was paid $4 per week and taught lessons in both English and Norwegian. The building is still behind the Iverson home and is now a privately owned cottage.

Interior of Pioneer Schoolhouse Museum, 2014. Photo by T. Dukehart.

In 1880, the Pioneer Schoolhouse was built. It was only half the size of the building that is standing today. Cordelia Burt was the first teacher in this school. She was paid $7 per week. Miss Burt had 33 students in grades 1 through 8. By the 1920s and 1930s, there were 45 to 68 students enrolled at the schoolhouse. In 1949, the Pioneer Schoolhouse was closed and a new school was opened in Ephraim. That building also still stands today and houses the Village of Ephraim Administration offices. The Ephraim Foundation (now the Ephraim Historical Foundation) was formed in 1949 and preserved the Pioneer Schoolhouse for the community.

The classes taught by Pauline Larsen and Cordelia Burt were a lot like the classes taught by elementary teachers today. Students, grades 1 through 8 were taught reading, writing, and hygiene. Arithmetic and spelling were taught to grades 3 through 8. Citizenship and history were taught to grades 4 through 8. Grades 7 and 8 were taught English, general math, general science, and social studies.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.