Connect with us on Facebook Visit our YouTube channel

Sunnyview school

a rural, one-room school in eau claire county, 1882-1961

Further Information

Progressive Education


Life at Sunnyview


School Consolidation


The One-Room School Today

Related Reading

Farm Life by Frank Smoot
Chippewa Valley Museum Press

Contact Us

(715) 834-7871

Chippewa Valley Museum
PO Box 1204
Eau Claire, WI 54702-1204

1204 E. Half Moon Drive
Eau Claire, WI 54703
(This is NOT a mailing address!)



The last of the old one-room country schools that were the mainstay of Wisconsin’s elementary school system had closed its doors by 1970.

However, Lake View School on Madeline Island still functions much like a one-room school. Students in grades one through six work together in one room. (A gymnasium was added to the building in 1981.) Unlike the one-room schools of the past, it is part of a larger school district.

In other parts of the country, vast distances keep one-room public schools alive. Nebraska, Montana and Wyoming still maintain many one-room schools.

Privately run one-room schools still operate in Wisconsin, generally sponsored by religious groups. The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod operated thirty-six affiliated one-room schools in the 1983-84 school year. In various parts of the country, the Amish have built schools or even bought abandoned one-room schools at auction and returned the buildings to their original purpose.

These religious groups, and a few others such as the Hutterites, became increasingly unhappy with the secular nature of public education. They also had a growing concern with the outside influences to which their children were exposed at public schools.

Even beyond the world of parochial schools, discussion continues in both urban and rural areas about the advantages of smaller, neighborhood-, community-, and home-based schooling. Since the 1970s, some people have criticized what they see as the impersonal education and lack of discipline provided by large, consolidated schools.

At least thirty one-room schools in Wisconsin, including Sunnyview, have been preserved as historic structures. Others have found new uses as community halls or private homes. Still more have been torn down.


Lake View School, Madeline Island

Lake View School on Madeline Island is a two-room school built in 1927. Enrollment stands at 20 students. Middle and high school students who live on the island travel to school in Bayfield, Wis., on the ferry, windsled, or over the ice road, depending on the season.

Round Valley school, Nebraska

A one-room school house in Round Valley, Neb., which is in the Sand Hills area about 25 miles NE of Broken Bow, Neb. Nebraska leads the nation in number of one-room school houses, according to the High Plains Regional Climate Center, Lincoln, NB, which is affiliated with the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Photo © 2001, HPRCC. For Educational Use Only.

Plan A Visit
When you get here
Services we offer
Who we are
Bring us home
You can help