Thursday, July 14, 2011

Acorn School, Franklin County


The Acorn Schoolhouse is located in Franklin County. To get there leave the interstate and take Old Highway 50, a two-lane blacktop, south from Ottawa to Williamsburg. At John Brown Road go south a couple of miles to Iowa Road. The schoolhouse is on a slight rise to the north watched over by a solitary tree and a merry-go-round.

The white clapboard school was built in 1900 replacing an earlier structure built in the 1870's. The faint inscription over the door reads "Acorn School, District 74, built 1900". The school has two doors, one for the boys and one for the girls. It was usual for boys to sit on one side of the school and girls on the other. There was a space for coats to be hung in the winter and lunch pails to be stored, as well as wood for the pot-belly stove and a water pail.


Irene Herron, a teacher in the 1950's, recalls preparing lunches for the school children cooked on a pot-bellied stove. The menu included rabbit the school boys hunted, perhaps seasoned with local wild garlic and prickly pear. Family gardens would be a source for plenty of fresh tomatoes, potatoes, and onions.

A Tour of Southwest Franklin County by Catherine Jane Richards and Deborah Barker.




The school is District Number 74 on the Franklin County, Kansas Atlas, 1903.

detail of Franklin County, Kansas Atlas 1903
Driving along John Brown Road the houses are few and far between. But things were different in 1903, as Homewood Township. Also note that John Brown road ended at Iowa Street, probably due to the several creeks to the south.


detail of Homewood Township, School District 74, Franklin County


The school closed in 1959. A former student who maintains the school described her feeling when the Franklin County schools were consolidated -  "I was a country girl and had to dress in city clothes to go to a city school with city kids. I missed the small schools." And maybe the rabbit stew.

The school is preserved by the Acorn Ladies Club and the local landowners.

On a return visit in August of 2014, I took these images on a cloudy day.



Acorn Schoolhouse, Franklin County

Acorn Schoolhouse, Franklin County

Acorn Schoolhouse, Franklin County

Acorn Schoolhouse, Franklin County



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