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Montana’s One-Room Schools are on Historic Places ‘Endangered’ List

Sula school
The Sula one-room school. (KLYQ File Photo)

The Sula School (see photo) has received community help since this photo was taken a few years ago, but all of Montana’s one-room schools have been listed as a collective group of endangered historic places by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

There were 11 additions to the list this year, as the organization announced this week. They include:

  • The Houston Astrodome
  • New York’s old Pan Am Worldport Terminal at Kennedy Airport
  • Abyssinian Meeting House in Maine
  • Village of Mariemont, Ohio
  • Kake Cannery in Alaska
  • San Jose Church in Puerto Rico
  • The James River in Virginia
  • Gay Head Lighthouse in Massachusetts
  • Rancho Cucamanga Chinatown House in California
  • Mountain View Black Officer Club in Arizona
  • Montana’s Historic Rural Schoolhouses

Regarding the Montana schoolhouse the organization’s website notes:

“…for decades, the state has held the distinction of having more one-and-two room schoolhouses still in operation than any other state, and at least one of these iconic schoolhouses can still be found in each of Montana’s 56 counties. Montana families that farmed the land in the 19th and 20th centuries relied on these rural schools to educate their children, as the vast distances between towns made it impractical to travel to schools in population centers. . . . As Montana’s rural areas lose population, the enrollment in rural schools has also shrunk, rendering many of these schools underused or closed altogether. Montana schools, once the centers of community life in rural Montana, now face the kind of physical threats that can afflict any building that is not being maintained or used, including neglect, vandalism, and exposure to harsh weather conditions.”

Find out more about the National Trust for Historic Preservation

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