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Wisconsin National Register of Historic Places

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Vernon County Normal School (Tim Heggland photo, 2010)

Vernon County Normal School (Tim Heggland photo, 2010)

Vernon County Normal School detail (T. Jacobsen photo, 2009)

Vernon County Normal School interior (Tim Heggland photo, 2010)

Vernon County Normal School
410 South Center Avenue, Viroqua, Vernon County
Architects: Parkinson & Dockendorff
Construction Date: 1919

The highly intact Vernon County Normal School is one of the finest of the buildings that once housed Wisconsin's 32 county normal schools and it is an excellent representative example of this specialized educational resource type. The County Normal School program, begun in 1899, filled the growing need for qualified teachers to staff the state’s rural schools. The program continued to produce teachers until 1971, when the state ceased funding it. During the course of its 64 year history as a training school, nearly 2000 teachers received their training in this building. It remains the physical embodiment of this program and of the commitment that Vernon County's citizens made to properly educate their rural children during this important period of growth.

This Prairie School style building was built in 1919 at a cost of nearly $65,000.00. The prominent La Crosse, Wisconsin, architectural firm of Parkinson & Dockendorff designed the building. The firm is noted for their designs of numerous school buildings built between 1902 and 1952, both in Wisconsin and in other states. Today, the school is the headquarters of the Vernon County Historical Society. It houses the Society's museum and is open to the public.

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