Leelanau’s One-Room Schoolhouses

A critical piece of local history was saved when this photograph mounted on a crumbling cabinet card was brought to the Leelanau Historical Society Museum this summer. It was discovered in the donor’s house and they contacted the Museum to see if there was a home for it here in the archives.

A quick look in the archives, told us that this picture of the Nuemann School in Solon Township was not one we (at the museum) had seen before nor was on file in the archives. There is no year or names written on the front or back of the image to give us a clue when the picture was taken. The children are very well dressed for this photograph; what we can only speculate was a special occasion.

Using a magnifying glass we were able to discern “FR’N’L Dist. No. 2 SOLON 1898” on the white oval sign over the door, identifying this building as the Fractional School District No. 2 in Solon Township, built in 1898. This school was located on the corner of M-72 and Cedar Rd. (County Road 651). It was in operation until 1945. The schoolhouse is no longer standing, which is why this photograph is considered valuable to the archives. Comparing it to the images we already have on file for the Solon School No. 2 (Neumann School), we can definitively say this is the earliest known image taken of the schoolhouse. It is also the only known photograph in our archives that captures the entire building. It is suspected that this building was the second schoolhouse to be built on the same site and serve as the School District No. 2 according to the 1881 plat map of Solon Township.

In the 1990’s, The Leelanau Historical Society began a project called “One-Room School Project”. Staff and volunteers collected photographs, artifacts, oral histories of teachers and students, and began mapping out the One-Room Schoolhouses across the Leelanau Peninsula. In 1996, this information was featured in a public exhibit called, “The One-Room School: Leelanau’s Education Legacy.” The product of this exhibit is a collection of folders, one for each schoolhouse, with the research collected at that time.

Many schoolhouses were rudimentary log buildings, some claimed by accidental fires, or rebuilt on original sites or near-by. A few were moved in their entirety to new locations, by horse. As populations and demand for better education in rural America grew, one-room schools became things of the past. They were replaced with multi-room schools that served larger geographic areas. The small buildings were torn down, or expanded upon as private residences. Each schoolhouse has its own unique story; some documented better than others.

Interior photograph of Fractional School No. 2 (Nuemann School) Commonly miss-spelled as “Newman.” Photo dated 1910. Students and teacher not identified. Photo courtesy of Loretta Miser.

“We carried a dinner pail (to school)…they were lard pails – jelly sandwich & a jelly glass with canned fruit in it…not many bananas…that was a treat, you know…our school was fortunate, we had cocoa! Pail of water and a dipper (No well at this school) and a wash basin.”

-Irene Buchanan, recollections of her school days at the Neumann School during the 1910’s, (One-Room School Project)
*Caption Updated 10/13/2021 Neumann School Class Photo, circa 1931.
Back Row: Lorraine Ansorge, Irene Barth (teacher), Mildred Schwind-Evans, Florence Neumann-Roman-Black, Roy Lautner, Wilbert Lautner.
Middle Row: Fredrick Green, Ferdinand Schwind, Alma Ruthardt, Loretta Lautner-Panek-Miser, Irene Lautner-Skiver, Raymond Ansorge, Fred Neumann.
Front Row: Vera Lautner-Panek, Sylvester Lautner, Pearl Lautner-Haywood, Beatirice Lautner-Pickard, Glen Lautner, Wilma Lautner-Black-Alpers, Lucile Schwind-Lickteig, John Schwind, Celia Neumann, Robert Lautner.
Photo courtesy of Loretta Miser. Names of students courtesy of Jan & Gerald Neumann.

It’s been almost thirty years since the “The One-Room School: Leelanau’s Education Legacy” Exhibit. The files have not had additions made to them, save a few new photographs, and updated student’s names over the decades. A collection, such as the one at the Leelanau Historical Society, is only as good and thorough as the items a community contributes.

Want to research a One-Room Schoolhouse in Leelanau County? Email us at info@leelanauhistory.org. We are happy to share the contents of the folders via email, or set up an appointment for anyone to visit the archives in person.

List of One-Room Schools in Leelanau (Sorted by Township)

Bingham Township
– Bingham 1
– Bingham 2
– Bingham Township
– Keswick (Bingham #4 – Co. Rd. 633
– Maple Valley (Bingham #3) (Flohe School)-Otto Rd and Maple Valley Rd.
– Bingham (Suttons Bay)
– Bingham (Lee Points) -M22, end of Hilltop Rd.
– Bingham #5 – SE corner of Center Hwy and Bingham Rd.

Centerville Township
– Unknown Named Centerville School – Sec. 11. 643 and Pine Knob Sec. 11 (1881 plat map)
– Good Harbor #2 Sec. 9/ Kilway and 651
– Hilltop #3 – Sec. 26/ 643, halfway between Kabot and Rice Rd.
– Martin School – Sec.3/ Popp Rd and Amore Rd, SW corner
– Isadore #4 – North of Holy Rosary Church
– O’Brien #5 – Sec.22/ French and Bodus Rd. SE corner

Cleveland Township
– Panek School – Narlock Rd. (demolished)
– #2 Greendale (Bohemian School) – Bohemian Hwy at Ryant Rd.
– #3 North unity – Sec. 8, East of Baker Rd.
– #4 Shetland School – Sec. 24, M-22, west of Lime Lake Rd.

Elmwood Township
– Launter – 616 at M-72, NE corner.
– Mapleleaf – Briethaupt at Bugai, NE corner
– Hatches Crossing – 641 at 614, NE corner
– Heimforth – 641 at Lakeview Rd. SE corner
– Solon School – 616 and 649
– Norris School – Cherry Bend Rd. East of M-22

Empire Township
– Springdale – Welch Rd
– Beeman (Plowman) School – Sec. 26, Plowman Rd, midway between Beeman and Empire Hwy.
– Brotherton – Sec. 18, Voice Rd, between M-22 and Lake Rd.
– Boynton – Sec. 22, Empire Hwy at Benzonia Hwy, NE corner
– Burdickville #1 – Sec. 12, 616
– Tweddle. – Sec.30, M-22 at Stormer Rd. SW corner

Glen Arbor Township
– Miller Hill – Cheney Rd, midway between Miller Hill and Wheeler Rd.
– Port Oneida – Port Oneida Rd, west of M-22
– Glen Haven – M209, west of M109
– Glen Arbor – Pine Street
– Glen Haven #2 (Sleeping Bear School)
– South Manitou School

Kasson Township
– East Kasson – Sec. 23, Kasson Rd. Halfway between 667 and Tower Rd.
– Kasson Center – Sec. 21, Kasson, end of Pierce Rd.
– Maple City – Sec. 3, Maple City
– Round Top – Sec. 14, Tower Rd, South of Valley Rd.
– Armstrong School – Sec. 29, M72, 669, NW corner
– Fritz School – (Lanham) Sec. 7, Fritz and Bow Rd.

Leland Township
– Leland – Leland , Block 4, Pearl St.
– East Leland – Sec. 12, Horn Rd, west of Eagle Hwy
– Lake Leelanau/St. Mary’s – Sec.3, St. Mary’s St, Lake Leelanau (Provemont)
– Houdek School – Sec. 36, Eagle Hwy where 626 turns east towards St. Wenceslaus
– Duck Lake Sec. 21, M22, and Duck Lake Rd, NE corner
– Star School – Schomberg Rd.
– Crescent – Crescent City, North Manitou
– North Manitou School – North Manitou Island, South of Village (Owned by Leland Public School)

Leelanau Township
– Northport – Shabwasung, Northport
– Gills Pier – Sec. 8, Gills Pier Rd and M-22, SW corner
– Omena – Sec.26, 626, west of Kalchik Rd.
– Bight School – Synder Rd, between Woolsey and Sugarbush
– Cracker – Sec. 22, Overlook Rd at Cracker Rd.
– Lighthouse, Sec. 18, Lighthouse Rd and 629 at turn
– Bass lake School, Sec. 28, 626 and Omena Rd. NW corner

Solon Townhsip
– Clearbrook – S. Cedar Rd, Cedar
– Locust Grove – Sec. 28, Solon Road at junction of Hoxie Rd, SE corner
– Happy Hollow – no information
– Cedar – no information
– Neumann – M-72 just before Cedar Rd.

Suttons Bay Township
– Suttons Bay 1 – Sec.3, M-22, south of McCallister Rd, west side
– Suttons Bay 2 – Sec. 1, 641, end of Otto Rd. NE corner
– Lee Point
– Keswick – Sec. 8, 633 at Otto Rd. SW corner
– Peshawbestown – Sec. 11, Peshsawbestown
– Donnybrook. -Sec. 34, McAllister Rd. between M-22 and Norvick Rd.
– Sunshine School (Solem) – Setterbo Rd.
– Wayside – Sec. 19, M-204, west of Macksey Rd.

*Due to changing township lines, some school names appear in two different townships.

Map of One-Room Schoolhouses in Leelanau. On display in the Leelanau Historical Society Archives.