Campus holiday tradition celebrates history


When Paul Adams took over as Anschutz Professor of Education, he ensured the Plymouth Schoolhouse was honored with more than just tours made by appointment.

Located across the street from Tomanek Hall, the Plymouth Schoolhouse is open once a year to the public for a holiday open house. Yesterday, visitors could explore the schoolhouse and enjoy refreshments at the come-and-go event. While scheduled tours of the schoolhouse can be taken throughout the year, this event provides another opportunity to celebrate its history.

“Not every school group is going to come here, and there are people in the community that maybe have never noticed this little building,” Adams said. “So, we like to advertise it for people to come in here.”

The schoolhouse was built in 1874 and served the community near Wilson, in what was then the Plymouth township. Around 100 years later, the building was moved brick by brick to the Fort Hays campus by Phi Delta Kappa, who wanted to recognize the history of education in the area. The building was dedicated in 1979.

“They looked for schoolhouses that were relatively complete, representative of our area and had, as near as possible, complete records,” Adams said.

Some of the records available for viewing at the schoolhouse include pictures, a diploma and graduation invitations. There is even a framed piece of old math homework found in one of the two student desks that are original to the schoolhouse. Other features on display include a furnace and some old textbooks.

According to Adams, the days of one-room schoolhouses are not as far away as they seem.

“We’ve had folks come in and they’ll talk about their experience either teaching in a one-room schoolhouse, because there are still some folks who have done that, or attending a one-room schoolhouse,” he said.

Adams also said that he enjoys helping younger visitors understand how life was during the time of one-room schoolhouses.

“It’s a combination of sharing our history and also hearing the living history of people who experienced something like this,” he said.

More information about the schoolhouse and tour contact information can be found here.

Photo Captions

Books – Two visitors look at some of the antique books displayed in the schoolhouse.
Decor 1 – Festive decorations fill the inside of the schoolhouse alongside the historical displays.
Decor 2 – Festive decorations fill the inside of the schoolhouse alongside the historical displays.
Decor 3 – Festive decorations fill the inside of the schoolhouse alongside the historical displays.
Desks – Old fashioned desks take up most of the space inside the schoolhouse. Two of the desks are originals.
Furnace – A big furnace sits at the back of the schoolhouse. According to Paul Adams, the furnace is not the building’s original, but was a prop used in the 1973 movie “Paper Moon” given to the university.
Refreshments – Two visitors enjoy cookies, hot cider and hot chocolate while exploring the schoolhouse.

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