The Little Blue School, Memories of Education in Sheridan County in 1902 – Sheridan Media
Eva McCrary with students inside Little Blue School
The Little Blue School House in Ranchester gives students a taste of what it was like to go to school in early Sheridan County.
According to the book, “The little blue schoolwritten by Frances Stall Husdale and Audrey M. Kleinsasser, with Dorothy Gibb and illustrated by Ed Murphy, the school was built in 1902. The book is available from the Tongue River Branch Library.
The families living in the upper Five Mile Flat were some distance from the Ohlman School, and it was a long ride for the youngsters on horseback. Families decided to build a school closer to home.
The school operated until 1949. In 1988 the Little Blue School, although no longer in use, did not collapse into a pile of dusty boards, and it was one of two or three one-room Sheridan County schools still standing.
Several people in the Parkman-Dayton-Ranchester area were interested in moving the school and restoring it to the time. The school was moved to the grounds of Tongue River Elementary School in Ranchester.
In 1990, the restored Little Blue School was dedicated as an official Wyoming Centennial Project. It was presented to the School Board of School District No. 1 and is recognized as a symbol of living history serving to preserve the legacy of one-room rural schools that have played a role in Wyoming’s history and show the commitment of Wyoming’s early settlers to educating their children.
Today, the Little Blue School stands near the Ranchester Community Center. One day each spring, second grade teachers Eva McCrary and Andrea Sears bring their students from Tongue River Elementary School to teach at the old school. “We let them walk here and told them how they should have walked or ridden to school.” said McCrary. “We also talk about the history of the school.
She added that the kids love it, it’s an excursion they will always remember. She said they even had a dunce cap that children sometimes wore and sat in the corner, which was a punishment for unruly students in the 1900s.
Students pack lunch and stay most of the day. Mike Board, a retired PE teacher who taught at Tongue River Elementary School, teaches them old-fashioned PE games.
He talked about some of the games the students used to play. “We will do potato sack relays, Annie, Annie Over which is a tag game of throwing the ball over the Little Blue School; London Bridge, Kick the Can and other games.
The interior of the school is laid out as it would have been in 1902. There is a blackboard, old readers, a wood stove for heating, pictures of Washington and Lincoln, a piano and a jug water, pewter mugs, and everything students would need to learn in the early days of Sheridan County.
Although McCrary only brought the second-grade class, most one-room schools had students in grades one through eight, with one teacher for all grades and older students helping younger ones. At the one-room Slack School near Parkman, a teacher has five students, from kindergarten through fourth grade.
The Little Blue School of Ranchester, a step back in time and allowing students to discover how their grandparents could learn and what games they could play in Wyoming’s one-room schools.