Last One-Room Schoolhouse to Close

Mother remembers that her one-room schoolhouse was the last to close in South Dakota.

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My Mother grew up in South Dakota. She maintained that particular corner of the world was the last to get or do anything, and theirs was the last one-room schoolhouse to close. Her parents said it was "only a mile to school," which was probably correct if you cut through cow pastures, crawling under barbed wire fences and keeping a watchful eye out for any ill-tempered bull that might roam the pasture.

Mother liked to tell about the "book boxes." Because there were no libraries available for the students, the county seat would prepare what was called book boxes. They were crate sized, and on the inside cover was a sign up card, much like our library cards. These boxes contained a variety of books to accommodate all students, from grade one through eight. When one school finished with the box, it was rotated to another school. Sometimes when the weather was bad, the box stayed at one school for months. Mother would read every book in the box before it was traded for another.

Eileen Snaza
St. Paul, Minnesota


 Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.