Oregon Area School Days

Emigrants from New York, Vermont, Pennsylvania, and ireland began to arrive in Dane County in the late 1830’s and early 1840’s. Some settled in what is now Fitchburg and other in the present Towns of Oregon, Rutland, Dunn, and Brooklyn.Starting Rural Schools: the majority of the new families had come from regions where schools had been an important part of their heritage. It was imperative, therefore, that they provide facilities for their children to receive an education.

It was the custom for a farmer to deed an acre of land to the school district for the school with the stipulation that, upon the dissolution of said district and need for a school,the land would revert back to the original owner.

The schools were named either for the donor or the topography of the land.

The one-room school in the rural areas become not only the source of learning the essentials needed to survive and progress in their “new world,” but also supplied the young students with a knowledge of the world beyond their small area.

In 1845 a bill to the territorial legislature became law, authorizing all legal voters of a town to vote taxes on all assessed property for full support of schools. In the fall of 1845 the first free schools in the state were legally organizes.

Slowly, year by year, new measures were adopted by the legislature and passed on to the small rural and village schools giving them authority under a state and county superintendent to govern themselves.

Over the years, the school grew steadily. Now the one-room rural school has become a thing of the past. No longer do students walk miles each day to be “packed” into a small area. One school, the Dreher School just west of the Village of Oregon, in 1856 had 58 young people in grades one through eight with one teacher.

Consolidation: After consolidation with Oregon and the closing of the rural schools, the students were transported to school by bus.

Even in the 1930’s, as had always been true, many of the male rural students attended high school for their freshman year and then, upon reaching their 16th birthday, were forced (principally for economic reasons) to terminate their education.

Map of the Oregon School District
Click here for Enlarged Map(Note: Much more information about rural schools in Rutland can be found in the Oregon School District booklet published by the Oregon Area Historical Society.)