136. Architectural Tour: Origins of the One-Room Schoolhouse

The one-room schoolhouse in front of you is actually a reconstruction of the original located on Route 59 and 83rd Street in a community once known as Copenhagen. It was the last schoolhouse of its kind standing in the area. Unfortunately, the poor condition of the original building meant it could not move to the museum grounds, but architects reproduced it with measured drawings. This reconstructed building represents what typical one-room schoolhouses looked like in the mid 1800s. Like other newly settled communities, Naperville could not afford to build anything bigger than one room. They relied on other schoolhouses in the area as architectural inspiration, because the builders were local farmers who knew very little about constructing anything grander than a simple wood frame structure. This schoolhouse is made of lumber, but in other areas of the Midwest where trees were scarce, sod wasn’t an unusual building material for schools and homes.