The Old Ramshackle School
From When the Bells Rang



That's what the kids called the first school built at Sandridge in 1854. My mother went to school there. That old school rocked when the winds blew. The teacher was afraid to stay inside. It was a one room school with a big old stove in the center and the stove pipe went right up through the ceiling. There were windows on the south and north sides. Water was carried from a neighbor's well in a bucket and everyone used the same dipper for drinks. Later another school was built, somewhat larger than the ramshackle school.
A new school building was built in 1930. It, too, was a frame building much like the former ones. There was a wood type furnace, a cloak room, and a pump. Desks were toward the back of the room close to the furnace, so kids could keep warm. There were teeter-totters outside on the playground. In 1965 Sandridge and Plainview consolidated. During the 1970's a brother and sister combination taught at these two schools: Floyd Swanson at Plainview, and Minnie Swanson Gnos at Sandridge. An old brass hand bell was used to call us from recess and lunch times when we played outside.
New units have been built north of the school that was used from 1930 to early 1970's. This school has been painted red with white trim and is used for storage of school desks and other such items.

Ref: Mr. Robert Wheeler
Drawn on location, 1972.

Note: In 1970, when I sketched the school it was painted white and a new flag pole was being put in place. The cement at its base was still wet and I remember asking why there was a new flag pole, and was told that it was in memory of a student who had been killed during the Vietnam War. On revisiting the school in 1982, I took a closer look at the flag pole and saw about three feet from the base a small metal plaque with these words:
“In loving memory
Larry Jay Wheeler
Who lost his life
For service of God
And his Country.”
Aug. 12, 1969

When I was talking to Mr. Wheeler, whom I interviewed about Sandridge, I mentioned this. His reply was “Larry Wheeler was my nephew, beloved son of my brother, Dean R. Wheeler and his wife, Alice.”



After the construction of several short-lived buildings, this structure was completed in 1931 to house the Sandridge School. More than 70 years later it is still standing and still in good condition (June 2003).


Although it started life as a “little red schoolhouse” the Sandridge School has been painted white at least once in its history.