Lower Fox Creek School
From the National Park Service – https://www.nps.gov/tapr/index.htm: “Residents of the Fox Creek area decided in 1878 – 1879 that a school district should be formed for the education of their children. The Lower Fox Creek School was an example of the common school. The model of the common school proposed by Horace Mann was embraced by Kansans when it was time to organize schools in the new territory (and later the state) of Kansas.”
I am no stranger to this area of the flint hills and tallgrass prairie. Visits to this specific area and the Lower Fox Creek School are a common journey when heading out into the beautiful Flint Hills. So was the case this early winter morning. The snow had come during the night ending before sunrise and the morning light was filling the land with its golden color which only accentuated the golden grasses of the tallgrass prairies.
Hiking west of the school on the trail leading into the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve the sights became apparent showing just how beautiful our prairie lands are and have been for thousands of years.
Imagine walking through the golden grasses as a child on your way to school. Or if lucky maybe an early morning wagon ride. Snow covering the trail, the morning sun filling the land with light and warmth. As intimate and historic as this one-room schoolhouse is today, it still must have been hard to set for the day inside when such beautiful nature surrounded all those within.
The site for the schoolhouse was donated by Stephen F. Jones with the stipulation that the deed would revert back to the ranch owner when the place was no longer used as a school. The deed was recorded on June 14, 1882, after the building had been completed in May. The first school term began on September 1, 1884, with Dora Peer as the teacher. The average enrollment was between 1-19 students of all grades. The school was closed in 1930 and the district was disbanded in 1946-47. At that time, the schoolhouse and its grounds reverted to the adjoining ranch.
The Lower Fox Creek School is open for visits and tours provided by The Tallgrass Praire National Preserve. With headquarters located just south of the school. A journey back in time to this wonderful place is always a delight.