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A Step into the Past

Andrea Aguilar
On May 3, 2022

Grandparents are great. They shower you with unconditional love, buy you the best presents, and tell you the best stories. Stories about how things were different when they were children and how much everything has changed throughout the years. Stories that are passed down that can be shared with the new generation. 

Now imagine being able to take a step back in time, a time where either your grandparents or even great-great-great-grandparents were once kids. Imagine being able to see and sit down in a classroom that was once operated as a schoolhouse more than 100 years ago. Sounds pretty cool huh? Well, you’re in luck!

Here at Harold Warp Pioneer Village, located in Minden, Nebraska only about 20 miles away from the City of Kearney, one can experience the atmosphere of this vintage schoolhouse that had once been used during the late 19th century and the early 20th century.

History of the Country Schoolhouse Exhibit

Back in the late 19th century, it was common to see one-roomed school houses across the U.S as it was seen as a symbol of progress for pioneer settlements. Since at first, settlements started out small, the children were taught by one of the township’s family’s wives until more people came to settle in the area. Once more people arrived, they saw having a schoolhouse would be needed and necessary. 

In 1877, School District 13  had thirteen children being taught in the John Barnes home for a cost of $68. A couple of years later, “A Sod school was built in 1879 at a cost of $21.98 and in 1881 a floor was added that cost $16.42”. This information is stated in the book “A History of Man’s Progress from 1830 to the present”, written and compiled by museum founder, Harold Warp.

That number of thirteen pupils expanded up to 85 students in 1900. The number steadily declined over time and by the time it was 1920 the class size had shrunk down to 32. As the years passed and the year 1937 approached, it was decided by the local community by a vote to send the children to Minden for school since there weren’t that many kids left in the district.

Since the kids left to go to school in Minden, the school building was left abandoned there for the next eleven years. 

How the Grom School ended up at Pioneer Village

During this period, it was not uncommon to see old equipment and buildings being put up for auction because of the development of new and better equipment. This is exactly what happened to the schoolhouse  in 1948 by a vote of the district.

The building ended going to the biggest bidder which winded up being Harold Warp, who attended the school and couldn’t bare to see it destroyed. Warp bought the Grom Schoolhouse in 1948 which included all the records that the school had. In 1952 he moved the schoolhouse to Pioneer Village. A unique fact about the schoolhouse is that it has been left the same since the last day of class that the students finished for the term in 1938. All the books they have used were put back onto their racks where they remain today. Now one can take a step back into the past and get to have a glimpse of how life once was. 

References:

A History of Man’s Progess from 1830 to the present. Written and compiled by Harold Warp. Page(s) 369- 370. 

Andrea Aguilar
A Student at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, as part of Heather Nelson’s Service Learning Academy class.

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