Foreaker One Room Schoolhouse


Vernon County Museum
Old St. Mary's Church
Foreaker Schoolhouse
Sherry-Butt House
Black Hawk Trail
Elevator Project
Research Room
Teacher Resources
Historic Photos
Weekly Column
Become A Member
Contact Us


Tours can be made by appointment: (608) 637-7396

The Foreaker School 606 W. Broadway St. Viroqua was built in 1888 by James Mankin for $395. It was located in Liberty Township, Southeast of Viroqua, Wisconsin. The one-room school operated until 1960 when it was closed due to low attendance and consolidation of schools.

In 1963 the Vernon County Historical Board purchased this building and had it moved to its present location on West Broadway in the city of Viroqua. It is being cared for by the Vernon County Historical Society and used by third graders of the area each spring as a one-day learning experience. The children are encouraged to wear dress styles of the pioneers and to bring their noon lunch in buckets, jars and baskets, just like they did in the olden days. Recess consists of old-fashioned games and hand washing is done from a bucket of water. Their school day consists of learning the "basics" by one teacher in one room.


The interior remains fully furnished and looks as it did when the school was in use.

"Students who attended one-room schools did "seat work" while the teacher worked with other students at the recitation bench, located in front of the room. Students doing their seat work would communicate with the teacher using fingers. One finger was the restroom, two fingers the library and three fingers help," Miller said. "The teacher would nod at the students, so there would be no interruptions."

"The teacher played many roles. She was the librarian, nurse, principal... She would perform health checks, making sure fingernails and hands were clean, seeing that teeth were brushed and looking for any redness of the throat."

--Jill Miller, a retired teacher and historical society volunteer.


Volunter teacher Jill Miller


Local kids dressed in costume simulate what school must have been like for their ancestors.


Schoolkids stopped at the entryway to put their things away before they experienced a day at a country school of 100 years ago -- note the straw hat and lunch buckets