The One-Room Schoolhouse


“Let’s take this dirt road and see where it goes.” Those are common words when you live in the rural West. Most of the West is made up of dirt roads.

Traveling around last year, I came across an old empty one-room schoolhouse down one of those dirt roads. Tucked beneath tall pine trees, it was now empty and has been that way for several years. It was obvious.

I attended a one-room schoolhouse when I was in kindergarten. The old Arcadia School a few miles north of Nyssa, had its heyday way before travel by car. The country kids still had to travel to get to school, but on foot. Those kids, now elderly, will tell you stories about how they had to walk to school, 10 miles, in a blizzard. Both ways.

One of my favorite Clint Eastwood movies when I was a kid and was the movie “Thunderbolt and Lightfoot.” It’s a brilliant movie about some bank robbers that hide their loot behind the chalkboard in a one-room schoolhouse. Thunderbolt (John Doherty) and Lightfoot arriving at the site of what was supposed to be the old schoolhouse, now replaced with a modern new school. These are some lines from that scene in the movie.

Lightfoot: Are you sure this is the spot?

John Doherty: Yeah.

Lightfoot: What? I didn’t hear what you said.

John Doherty: I said, yeah, this is it.

Lightfoot: Well, what happened to it?

John Doherty: I don’t know… Progress.

Progress, yes.

One-room schoolhouses are slowly becoming a thing of the past.

Below are photos of some of those schoolhouses that are still standing. Some still have the chalkboards attached to the walls. Hidden cash? I doubt it.

Homestead School


Mann Creek School
Midvale School
Alpine School



Goodrich School


P1140291.JPG The old Arcadia School is long gone, torn down a few years ago. I don’t remember much about it since kindergarten was so long ago. I think it was brick? I couldn’t find any photos of it.  I wonder what will happen to the remaining one-room schoolhouses that are still out there?





  1. Wonderful pictures. My mom attended a one room school house in ND as a child and I remember seeing it when visiting the family farm. The stories of that life make one smile in wonder with the contrast of today. Great pictures, especially the Goodrich School. Wonderful light with the dark clouds behind. That is the one where I would look for treasure behind the blackboard.

    1. Mark, thanks for the comments. Riding across the United States on your bike, I sure you saw lots of interesting things, do you remember seeing any old schoolhouses? I wonder how many are still standing?

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