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Wisconsin National Register of Historic Places

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Center Valley Grade School (Peter Adams photo, 2009)

Center Valley Grade School (Peter Adams photo, 2009)

Center Valley Grade School (Peter Adams photo, 2009)

Center Valley Grade School
W5562 Center Valley Road, Town of Center, Outagamie County
Architect: Unknown
Date of Construction: 1888

In the nineteenth century, the Center Valley Grade School was one of seven one-room school houses built by the small, rural school districts serving the surrounding Town of Center. Today, it is the town's only surviving schoolhouse. Constructed in 1888 by a largely Germanic school district, the structure was first put into use when rural schoolhouses were seen as key to the assimilation of foreign born populations. As adoption of the Bennett Laws threatened to alienate Wisconsinís sizable Germanic population with English-only mandates, German residents of the town's School District No. 6 proceeded to replace a log structure with a more substantial school house, keeping it in use with meticulous maintenance and modernization until 1958.

Equally noteworthy is that after the school was closed and put into use as a storage shed, the Friends of the Center Valley Grade School, a group of former students, acquired the building in 2000 and spent seven years documenting and returning its appearance to the 1940s. The group's efforts restored the structure's historic fabric, using photographic evidence in setting the size and location of each classroom feature.

The former school reopened as a museum in 2007. It may be visited during museum hours.

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