This weekend promises to be a beautiful fall day to drive the country roads in Northeast Iowa. Fields are ready to be harvested, leaves are changing to their fall glory of golden, orange, red, and yellow hues, and the air is crisp and clear. Plan on making a stop at the newly restored Locust School Museum on Sunday, October 9, for their annual Fall Festival. In addition, the Locust School Museum will also be open from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on Saturday, October 8 during the Northeast Iowa Artists' Studio Tour. The school sits at the intersection of Locust Road (W38) and Big Canoe Road (A26), approximately ten miles north of Decorah.
The annual country school fall festival is Sunday, October 9, at the Locust School, beginning at 2:30 p.m. The program for the Fall Festival is an "Old Fashioned Spelling Bee." Participants include Richard and Elaine Anderson, Paul and Sue Bruvold, Paul Hexom, Luke Schissel, Dwight Seegmiller, LaVonne Bjergum, Dave and Elaine Hegg and Barb Winter.
Following the program, at approximately 3:30 p.m., a pie auction will be held next door at St. John's Lutheran Church. After the pie auction, a light lunch of beef burgers, hot dogs, potato salad, baked beans, bars, coffee and milk will be served at St. John’s Lutheran Church from 4-5:30 p.m.
At one time, Iowa had over twelve thousand one-room schoolhouses in use. Built in 1854 of native limestone, it served for 106 consecutive years as a school, which is thought to be the Iowa record for continuous school service in one building and location. The limestone for the Locust School was quarried from a neighboring farm, and it is capped with a gable roof. The lintels and window sills are also stone. A belfry with round-arch openings is located above the main entrance. This beautiful one-room schoolhouse underwent major preservation over the summer of 2016.
To ensure that future generations of students would not forget the days of one-room schools, the Locust School Society was founded in 1965 to preserve this unique school. Its limestone structure was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. The Winneshiek County Historical Society presently owns and operates Locust School Museum, and it is maintained as a living history site where school classes are able to visit and experience a typical school day of the 19th and early 20th centuries.
If you can’t make it to the Locust School Museum this weekend, return during the summer months when the Locust School Museum is open to visitors on Saturday and Sunday afternoons 1-4 pm starting the first Saturday in June and continuing through Labor Day in September. Also open to groups by appointment. Donations appreciated.
The physical address for the school is, 1640 Big Canoe Rd. It’s at the intersection of W38 and A26.
What: Locust School Fall Festival
When: Sunday, October 9, 2:30 pm
Where: Locust School Museum, 1640 Big Canoe Rd, Decorah
Cost: Free and open to the public
Photo credit: Winneshiek County Historical Society