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Directory lists one-room schools in Missouri

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Liberty School north of Springfield is one of more than 50 one-room schools in a directory collected by David Burton.

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A publication entitled, “Missouri Directory of Historic and One-Room Schools” has been published online by Greene County Extension as part of the Missouri Historic Schools Alliance.

The first edition — written by David Burton of University of Missouri Extension and Jennifer Kervian of Joplin who was an MU Extension intern — includes details and photos on more than 50 historic schools in Missouri. Most of the listed schools have two pages of information and photos in the directory.

“The goal is for this directory to highlight in word and pictures the very best historic schools in Missouri,” says Burton, civic communication specialist MU Extension. “The first edition or two will be available for purchase and download online to allow time to add other schools and build interest in the final printed directory.”

Individuals can download the publication for $7.99 at or order a printed draft copy by mail for $12 from Greene County Extension, 2400 S. Scenic, Springfield, Mo. 65807.

“We want readers and organizations that download this publication to use it as a way to promote historical tourism in the state and to build our network for school historians and enthusiasts,” explains Burton. “The first edition of this directory is designed to showcase the best historic schools in Missouri that are restored or otherwise accessible by the public.”

Members of the Missouri Historic Schools Alliance received notification when the first edition of this publication became available and were able to download a copy for free. More information about the Missouri Historic Schools Alliance, including a membership form, is available online at:

The directory has the historic schools organized by region. The “Northwest region” includes Banneker School, Mt. Gilead School, Walnut Grove School, Swain School, Pony School and Franklin Academy. The “Northeast region” includes Mount Hope School, Old Pond School and Old Ballwin School. The “Central region” includes just two schools at this point: Newcomer School in Columbia and Mt. Sterling is Gasconade County.

The “Southeast region” includes schools that are state and national historic sites, Alice School (Cabool) and a driving tour of one-room schools in Texas County.

At this point, the “Southwest region” includes the most listings with the following: Kings Prairie School (Monett), Schuyler School (Springfield), Liberty School (Springfield), 1905 School (Springfield). Sycamore School (Marionville), Dry Valley School (Lawrence County), Greenwood School (Webster County), Rocky Point School (Webster County), Newport School (Lamar), New Bethel School (Anderson), Cave Springs School (Sarcoxie), Little Moore School (Lawrenceburg), Wooley Creek (Cape Fair), Oak Trail School (Silver Dollar City), Wolfe School (Rogersville), Kelly Chapel (Rogersville), Northstar School (Strafford), Locust Prairie (Fair Grove), Enterprise (Saddlebrook), Jolly Mill School (Pierce City), Star School (Branson), Boston Center School (Branson), Black School (Cassville), Bunker Hill (Pineville), and Northward School (Bolivar).

Interest in one-room schools has been on the rise nationally since the late 1990s. In Missouri, MU Extension has led the way in a number of ways. For example, Burton has hosted conferences focused on preserving one-room schools, produced publications on the topic, provided advice to others interested in preserving one-room schools and created an organization known as the Missouri Historic Schools Alliance.

Saving one-room schools in Missouri was a featured topic at last week’s Missouri Preservation Conference in Excelsior Springs. A copy of the presentation given at the conference entitled, “Saving Historic Schools in Missouri” is available online. This presentation gives an overview of efforts and then offers three Missouri examples of one-room schools that were restored in recent years. It can be found online at

George Freeman is a veteran journalist and photographer. An award-winning writer, editor and columnist in Springfield, Mo., with more than 50 years experience. His preference is for positive and uplifting stories about people, places, traditions and trends that make the Ozarks one of the most livable regions anywhere. A member of the Garden Writers Association of America, he is a past-president of the Society of Professional Journalists of Southwest Missouri, the Kansas and Ohio AP societies; a board member of Friends of the Garden and a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield. In 1976, he traveled to India as a member of a Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange Team.

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