The one room schoolhouse and Sherman County
When Sherman County was first started children went to school in one room school houses. It was very different from how it is now, with some children only going three months and eight grades were taught in the same room all together! Teachers taught with whatever they had on hand and boys and girls could not play together on the playground.
The first school in Sherman County was at the home of Dr. H.P. Gandy where his daughter, Louella Gandy, was the teacher. She taught sixteen students. Originally children would go to school when they could be spared from the farm, which was roughly three months. Later, laws were passed that restricted child labor and reading and writing became more important. As a result the school year became more than three months. Usually early school houses were made of sod with a stove in the middle to warm them. An upgrade for school houses was a wooden frame with the stove in the middle of the room.
One teacher taught all eight grades and they would use anything from Montgomery Ward Catalogue and magazines to books to teach. Teachers’ salaries were $30-$40 when funds were available and slept and ate with families who lived near the school. Students brought water from home and one digger or cup was used by all. Students also brought their lunches to school and if they lived within 2 1/2 miles they walked to and from school. On the school playground it was unacceptable for boys and girls to play together, so they kept to their own sides. The first classes in Goodland were in Thorsen’s Hall above his store. School began on November 22, 1887 and J.T. Knight was principal with Goodland being District No. 1. By 1893, 84 one teacher schools existed.