The Ireton Area Historical Society (IAHS) invites everyone to attend a 75th Birthday Party Open House for its one-room schoolhouse on Sunday, Sept. 29 from 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. The school is located just south of the Historical House at 301 Ash St. in Ireton.
Festivities will begin with raising the U.S. Flag and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at 1:30. Old fashioned games will begin at approximately 2:00 p.m. and light refreshments will be provided. Prizes will be awarded in a coloring contest for age 3 – Grade 4.
Reading Township School No. 2, now known as “Kemper School,” was constructed during the summer of 1938 replacing an earlier school building. The new school was in the square style that included separate cloakrooms for girls and boys, a basement, a modern furnace and heating system, chemical toilets and a library. This style of school building became common throughout Sioux County during the administration of Charles Tye who was County Superintendent of Schools from 1918-1956. The design was intended to gain maximum points under the “Iowa Standard School” law and help qualify the schools for additional state funding.
The school was originally located on the northeast corner of Fig Avenue and 460th Street, about two miles northeast of Ireton.
The new school building was dedicated on November 25, 1938. The first teacher in the new building was Bernice Van Wyhe (later Mrs. Lorenz Janssen). Classes were conducted in the one-room school until the Spring of 1954. After that, children in the area attended the Ireton Public School.
On Aug. 28, 1955, the school was sold to the Virginia Township, Union County, S.D., School Board and moved about three miles northwest of Hawarden where it was known as the “Edwards School” and later the “Greater Scott” school.
The school was closed in 1976 and students from Greater Scott began attending West Sioux. The school was sold but sat empty until 1992 when it was purchased by the Ireton Area Historical Society and moved onto a new foundation in Ireton.
Volunteers spent many months repairing, painting, shingling and equipping the building. In August 1993, the refurbished school was opened to the public for the first time. It was renamed the “Kemper School” on April 1, 1995, when it was dedicated to the memory of the late Floyd E. (“Bud”) Kemper. Since then, visitors of all ages have been able to experience a one-room country school.
On Sept. 29 journey back to the days when Sunday afternoons were meant for “visiting,” children made their own entertainment, students in Grades K-8 were all in the same classroom, the emphasis was on "readin,' writin’ & 'rithmetic" and the one-room schoolhouse was the heart of its rural community.
For more information, contact the Ireton Area Historical Society at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 712-278-2810.