Kansas One Room
School House Project

Larzelere School--Antigo, Langlade, Wisconsin


The Kansas Heritage Server would like to thank Jeanne Bloom for contributing this material.


Notes from Jeanne Bloom

I am late to this discussion, but had a great newspaper piece from Wisconsin that I thought Rene might find of interest.

My own experience with one-room school houses was in the mid-60s in Allen County. Although I was from the "city", our 4-H club met at Prairie Dell School, a one-room school house southeast of Iola and across from the airport. I believe Prairie Dell was in operation until the State mandated unified school districts and the students were bused into town.

Hope that you find this of interest and I will keep my eyes open for any other one-room school house information.


The Antigo Daily Journal, Antigo, Wisconsin, May 18, 1935, page 5

Larzelere House Oldest Dwelling In County Still Used!

Back in 1871, six years before F. A. Deleglise located the site of Antigo, Henry Larzelere, a lumber cruiser, drove a team of horses down the old military road in the eastern part of the county and built a dwelling house and hotel on the banks of the Wolf river at what is now known as Langlade.

Today that building is still standing, being occupied now by the Harry Gelb grocery store and tavern. It is the oldest dwelling still standing in Langlade County, and one of the oldest in this part of the state.

The Larzelere house was one of the few stopping places on the Military road at that time. It was built from hand hewn pine logs, in later years to be covered with siding. A north wing was added later.

For a time the cabin served as the post office for Langlade, Shawano and Oconto counties. It was the only post office on the military road north of Shawano and was used for this purpose until 1890. Up to about 15 years ago the building was used for a hotel and tavern.

Other Stopping Place.

At the time the building was erected there was a trading post and topping place about four miles south. This place was operated by an Indian by the name of Gardner. Another stopping place, operated by Henry Strauss, was located about 4 miles north of Lily. Hi Polar had a place on Pickerel creek and Louis Motsfeldt had a place on Swamp creek. All were located on the military road.

In about 1890, Larzelere moved to Antigo and a man by the name of Scott bought the place. He operated it until his death in 1916. His widow still owns the building. Gelb has occupied the place for the last nine years.

The barroom and dance hall, which occupy the main part of the building, has recently been artistically remodeled and redecorated. The hand hewn timbers across the ceiling of the first floor have also been repainted. It is one of the few buildings in the state that still has such timbers.

A new bar and back bar has been installed and the entire room has been repainted.

The grocery store, which occupies the south wing of the building, will also be remodeled.

The Antigo Daily Journal, Antigo, Wisconsin, Thursday, December 31, 1925, Section 4, Page 5

Antigo Man Pupil In First School, Langlade County
E. C. Larzelere Recalls Its Opening On Old Military Road in 1873
Miss Addie Wescott Was Its First Teacher
School Got Under Way Six Months After First Settlers Came - First Pupil
Were Children of Hotel Keepers - Four of Five Still Living.

More than a half century ago, fifty-two years ago to be exact, five students ranging in years from five to eighteen, appeared with faces bright with anticipation, for the first day of school in Langlade County. One of those students, Elton Larzelere, remains in Langlade County, and his recollections of the county's first school are of interest.

Mr. Larzelere, now agent for the Chicago & Northwestern road here, was one of the youngest of the quintette of pioneer scholars attending the improvised school which opened for the first time in 1873 on the old Military road in eastern Langlade County. The site on which the school stood was later known as the A. J. Woods farm, and also as the Yates farm, the Yates hotel having been located just across the road.

Five In Class.

The first attendance included Waldo A. Yates, Elton C. Larzelere, Levi R. Farrow, Etta B. Farrow, and Carrie J. Larzelere, and their teacher was Miss Addie Wescott, said to be living in Shawano now.

"Prior to 1872," Mr. Larzelere explained, "there was no need for a school, but in that year my father moved his family to the Military road district and in the same year Oscar Yates, an easterner, arrived with his family and oped a "hotel" just 100 yards down the Wolf from the stopping place conducted by my father. My father's family and that of Mr. Yates each contributed two children toward the school enrollment, and Waldo Yates made the fifth student, to which an attendance of five persons the school had an excuse for existing."

The Useful Stove.

"The school got under way about six months after the first settlers took up residence in the locality. Originally the building had been a lumber camp, but now, deserted; it served well as a school building. It was fairly large and was at least warm, kept so during the winter by an old-fashioned stove. That stove, by the way, never enjoyed much of a vacation, because after it had served as a heating plant all winter, it still faced the task of smudging the mosquitoes and flies from the cabin-school."

If resort owners of, today fancy they are participating in upper Wisconsin's first resort boom they are wide of the mark by more than fifty years, for at the time of the opening of the county's first school all of the people in the district were hotel people. With no other activity to come for some years, there already existed a keen demand for hotel service, and travelers from Oshkosh north were often forced to travel from "stopping place" to "stopping place" before finally finding one which was not filled.

Business Always Good.

"Often the travelers too weary to look further would sleep on the floor in the little "office," and glad of the opportunity. Teaming a trip of two hundred miles, several stops for sleep and food were required, and the traffic at times on the Military road, now highway 55, was an unbroken line of plodding supply wagons from Oshkosh to the north country."

The school, as may be imagined, was strictly utilitarian in its functions, and the three r's, readin', ritin', and rithmetic constituted the backbone of the course with a bit of history and geography for the more advance students.

"Yes, indeed, we had a splendid gymnasium course," Mr. Larzelere replied to a query on the subject, "but it was home work.' The elementary class in gymnasium went through its daily exercises of during the cows to and from pasture, and the body-building exercises were graduated from that subject to the final task of swinging an ax.

The Lumber-jack Fiddler.

"There were really no classed in the school, but the teacher taught each child about what she thought the student needed. The subject of music, was not neglected, and while it was not properly included in the curriculum of the school we were given many opportunities to listen to the musical offerings of a lumber-jack fiddler, who made up in willingness what he lacked in technique. The fiddling, with the attendant dancing, was almost a nightly affair, and went far to break the monotony of the pioneer life."

With Shingled Roof.

The first school was not a ramshackle affair, as fiction would have it, but a substantial and well-built cabin, warm, roomy, and well lighted. The roof was made proof against the rains by a thick and tight covering of shingles, hand hewn with a draw shave. Often cabins were covered with less desirable roofs, made of "shakes," which were little more than slabs of wood split from logs about four feet long.

Only one of those first five pupils is deceased, the other four now living at widely separated points in the United States. Etta B. Farrow died some years ago, Waldo Yates is living at Seattle, Washington; Levi R. Farrow is on a farm six miles south of Oshkosh, and Mrs. H. C. Scott, formerly Miss Carrie Larzelere, is living at Milwaukee. Mrs. Scott also owns a farm at Beach, about five miles from Bowler.


Saturday, October 13, 2001 8:11 PM



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