Welcome to Pioneer Sholes School

Information for Visitors
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Sholes School is a typical one-room country school used today as a living museum for students and their teachers.  A full curriculum, circa 1900, is available for classes who wish to reenact a day at Pioneer Sholes School.

Picture of Modern-Day Sholes SchoolSholes School is currently located at the LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve on Dean Street in St. Charles Township, Illinois.

The school building originally stood on the David Sholes farm in Burlington Township on Burlington Road near Plato Road.  According to an old map of Kane County, the first school at that site was built before 1860.  The current Sholes School building dates back to at least 1872, as a picture from the Elgin Historical Society shows, but it may be older.

Later on, the Sholes land was sold to Louis Schairer.  Schairer was very active in school affairs in the early 1900ís.  With the school being near to the Schairer residence, teachers sometimes boarded there and occasionally students and teachers warmed themselves in the house on cold days when the heating system in the school failed.  At the time, the school was sometimes called the Schairer school.

Sholes School was closed in 1946-47 when Kane County started a school consolidation program.  In all, the County closed approximately 135 small schools and sent the students to the larger town schools.  Many of the old school buildings were converted to other uses--from chicken coops to personal residences.

The Sholes School building was never converted.  It sat idle on Campbellís land from 1947 until 1979 when Campbell donated it to the Kane County Forest Preserve in memory of his mother who had taught at the school in 1913-1915.

At that time, the Pioneer Sholes School Restoration Society formed to move and restore the building.  Because the building itself was in significant disrepair by late 1970ís, much work was required to return the building to its current state.  The following sources provided significant furnishings in the school:

Always Amber, a story of Fayann Stone's experiences in a one-room school during the late 1930s and early 1940s (Also available as an MS Word document).

Interview with Ruth Anderson, Teacher at Sholes School, 1940-1947

Visit our picture gallery.

Pictures of a class from a local school visiting Pioneer Sholes School.

Information for Teachers:

The following sources of information will be of use to teachers who are studying 1880s school life or who wish to bring their classes to Pioneer Sholes School for a day to re-live an 1880s school day.

The most important source for teachers who wish to bring a class to Pioneer Sholes School is the Teacher's Manual.  Be sure to read the Manual if you are interested in visiting Pioneer Sholes School.

Teacher's Manual
Daily Schedules
Brief History & Information in Q&A Format
Narrative of a Day in the Life of a Rural School
Sholes School Curriculum Information & Sources
"Discipline of the School"


Information for Visitors:

Pioneer Sholes School is open for visits from the general public at the following times: During the school year, preference for use of the school building is given to classes visiting from area schools.

If you wish to contact someone from the Pioneer Sholes School Society to make a reservation or to obtain further information, please write to the following address:

    Pioneer Sholes School Society
    PO Box 1275
    St. Charles, IL 60174

You may also contact us by sending an e-mail to sholes@pioneersholesschool.org

Work on this site was funded in part by an Educate and Automate Grant
from the Illinois State Library (1998).
The work is a cooperative project of Community Unit School District 303,
the St. Charles Heritage Center, the St. Charles Public Library District,
and the Pioneer Sholes School Restoration Society.