One-Room, Country, & Historic Schools of Butler County

Old Lily Lake School near Augusta, Kansas courtesy of Google Maps.

Old Lily Lake School near Augusta, Kansas, courtesy of Google Maps.

Though Butler County, Kansas, was first settled in 1855, it was not until eight years later that a school system was set aside by the election of its first school superintendent.

The first school taught in this county was in charge of Miss Sarah Satchel. It was located at Chelsea, the oldest settlement in the county, and was opened in 1860. At this time, the school district embraced Butler and Cowley Counties, as well as parts of Chase and Greenwood Counties. The second school was taught in 1863 in Towanda in a log building, erected by the settlers. A school was also started in El Dorado Township at an early day, a subscription being raised by the citizens, and Miss Jane Wentworth taught the school.

Many of the schoolhouses were rough, and, if reports speak truly, some of the teachers were of the same sort. Yet the work was pretty honestly done, and the rising generation compared favorably with that of any other county. There were 124 school districts in 1879; in 1880, 130; in 1881, 138; in 1882, 143. The school population between the ages of five and twenty-one in 1879 was 6,056; in 1880, 6,397; in 1881, 6,545; in 1882, 6,861. Enrollment: In 1879, 4,590; in 1880, 4,356; in 1881, 5,228; in 1882, 5,303. Average attendance: In 1879, 136; in 1880, 176; in 1881, 179; in 1882, 154. Total school expenditures: In 1879, $34,962.76; in 1880, $40,060.03; in 1881, $43,469.22 2/3; in 1882, $53,328.09.

Butler County, Kansas by L.H. Everts & Co., 1887.

Butler County, Kansas by L.H. Everts & Co., 1887.

In 1893, the El Dorado schools were graded and working under a course of study prepared by H.C. Ford.  At that time, there were 1,258 students in the schools, 16 teachers, four buildings in the city, and one in the adjacent territory. The superintendent was Professor L. Tomlin; the principals were William Fisher, Frank Mitchell, Walter Powell, and Stella Long. The first school in the city was taught by Edwin Cowles, M.D.

The Augusta schools were graded with eight teachers employed in one large and handsome building with 473 students. H V. Butcher, former superintendent of Wilson County, was the principal; Edward O’Bryan was the assistant.

Douglass had graded schools and a large and convenient building. The principal enrolled 348 students. Leon also had graded schools, working under a course of study prepared by Principal Elmer Wiseman. It enrolled 283 students. Benton, Potwin, Towanda, Brainerd, Andover, Latham, and White Water each employed two teachers and had excellent two-roomed school buildings.

In the early 1890s, there were many good single schoolhouses throughout the county, and more were under construction. There were 165 school districts in the county and an enrollment of 8,486 students.

El Dorado had a good library. Augusta furnished free textbooks, and there were several other good libraries connected with the schools of the county.

Old Douglass, Kansas High School.

Old Douglass, Kansas High School.

The Butler County district schools worked under the course of study outlined in the classification register used in the schools. The work is divided into three departments — primary, intermediate, and advanced. When the entire course was completed, students took a final examination. If they made the required average, they received a diploma.

Today, Butler County contains nine unified school districts (USDs) within the public school system and several private institutions that serve preschool through high school students.

Andover USD 385, also known as Andover Public Schools, headquartered in Andover, Kansas, includes the communities of Andover, Lorena, and nearby rural areas. The district provides three high schools, two middle schools, and six elementary schools.

Augusta USD 402, headquartered in Augusta, Kansas, includes the communities of Augusta, Gordon, and nearby rural areas. It provides a high school, middle school, and three elementary schools in Augusta.

Bluestem USD 205 school district, headquartered in Leon, Kansas, includes the communities of Leon, Latham, Beaumont, Bois d’Arc, Haverhill, Keighley, Wingate, and nearby rural areas. It provides the Bluestem Jr/Sr High School and Bluestem Elementary School.

Circle USD 375 school district, headquartered in Towanda, Kansas, includes the communities of Towanda, Benton, Greenwich, Midian, western El Dorado, eastern Bel Aire, and nearby rural areas. It has six schools, including Circle High School and Circle Towanda Elementary in Towanda, Circle Middle School and Circle Benton Elementary in Benton, Circle Greenwich Elementary in Wichita, and Circle Oil Hill Elementary in El Dorado.

Douglass USD 396 school district, headquartered in Douglass, Kansas, includes the community of Douglass and nearby rural areas. It operates Douglass High School, Sisk Middle School, and Seal Elementary School in Douglass, Kansas.

El Dorado USD 490, headquartered in El Dorado, Kansas,  includes the communities of El Dorado, De Graff, Oil Hill, and nearby rural areas. It operates El Dorado High School, Extend High School, El Dorado Middle School, Blackmore Elementary School, Grandview Elementary School, and Skelly Elementary School in El Dorado, Kansas.

Flinthills USD 492 is a public unified school district headquartered in Rosalia, Kansas, that includes the communities of Rosalia, Cassoday, Pontiac, and nearby rural areas. It operates the Flinthills Middle/High School in Rosalia for 6th to 12th grades and the Flinthills Primary School in Cassoday for PreK to 5th grades.

Remington-Whitewater USD 206, headquartered in Whitewater, Kansas, includes the communities of Whitewater, Potwin, Brainerd, Elbing, Furley, and nearby rural areas in Butler, Harvey, and Sedgwick Counties. It operates the Frederic Remington High School north of Brainerd, Remington Middle School in Whitewater, and Remington Elementary School in Potwin.

Rose Hill USD 394, headquartered in Rose Hill, Kansas, includes the community of Rose Hill and nearby rural areas. It operates Rose Hill High School, Rose Hill Middle School, Rose Hill Intermediate School, and Rose Hill Primary School.

Historic Schools of Brown County

Name District Years of Operation
Location and Information
Cassoday High School ?? 1924-1967
Old school in Cassoday, Kansas courtesy Google Maps.

Cassoday School

This three-story brick building with an arched central entry was built by Fred Sprague in 1924. The school closed in 1967. It was hit by the Andover tornado in 1989, damaging the roof, which was replaced. At one point, it appeared to be being converted into a residence. It appears to be deteriorating today, with broken windows and significant debris in the yard. In the rear of the school is a gym and stage area. It is located at 606 S Washington in Cassoday, Kansas.

Clay Center 41 1880-??
Clay Center one-room schoolhouse in Butler County, Kansas by Kathy Alexander.

Clay Center schoolhouse.

Clay Center is little more than a place name. It is located at 210th Street and Cole Creek Road. The white clapboard one-room schoolhouse is in good condition. The only other building in the community is an old auto garage. There are a few scattered homes in the area. The place never had a post office.

El Dorado ?? 1937-??
Old Eldorado High School JuniorCollege by Kathy Alexander.


The old El Dorado High School and Junior College is a three-story red brick building with a modified U-shaped footprint. It is built in the Art Deco style and has natural-faced limestone foundations, with Ashlar stone entry surrounds and detailing. It will potentially be a Federal Trade Commission Housing Project.

Ellet 42 1871-1947
Ellett School in Latham, Kansas.

Ellett School

The school in Latham, Kansas, was named for General A.W. Ellet of the Civil War. This small white clapboard school still displays old playground equipment and a water pump. The school closed on January 21, 1947. The school is on Cherry Street, south of Blaine Street.

Elm Creek  38 1871-1947
Elk Creek School in El Dorado, Kansas

Elk Creek

Located in Towanda Township, this school was disorganized and merged with Towanda #6 and Silverton #15. This T-shaped one-story brick building was converted to residence in the early 1970s. There is also a garage/carriage house on the property. It is located at 6057 SW 40th Street in El Dorado, Kansas.

Lily Lake 149 1885-1966
Lily Lake School near Augusta, Kansas courtesy of Google Maps.

Lily Lake School

This old school is located at 9010 SW River Valley Rd., Augusta, Kansas.


Mount Tabor 30 1871-1951
Mount Tabor School, Butler County, Kansas, courtesy Google Maps.

Mount Tabor School

Rock Creek Township. The old school, built of limestone, is about six miles southeast of Douglass, Kansas. It is located on the north side of 230th Street, about halfway between Hopkins Switch and Purity Springs Roads. The school has two front doors, one for boys and the other for girls, and an old house sits on the east side of the school.

Pleasant Center 164 1892-1946
Pleasant Valley School in Rose Hill, Kansas.

Pleasant Valley School

The Pleasant Center School was established on July 5, 1892. It was located in Pleasant Township. It consolidated with Rose Hill #110 on February 26, 1946, and was moved to Rose Hill. It was used as a 4-H building until September 2012, when the Rose Hill Historical Society purchased the building to restore as a one-room schoolhouse museum.

Richland 100 1873-1861
Richland School in Butler County, Kansas courtesy Google Maps

Richland School

The school closed on August 27, 1861, when area students attended schools in nearby Douglass, Kansas. The old school still stands about 3.5 miles west of Douglass on SW 210th Street between SW Indianola Road and SW Tawakoni Road.

Silverton 15 1900-1945
Silverton School in Butler County, Kansas.

Silverton School

This old school was disorganized and merged with Towanda #6. The old Silverton School is a two-story T-shaped red brick building designed in the vernacular style with an intersecting gable roof. Serving as a residence today, it is located at 5280 SW Fulton Road near Towanda, Kansas.

Van Huss 86 1872-1946 Little Walnut Township. The school opened on September 10, 1872, and closed on July 15, 1946, when students were sent to Leon. The building is a private residence today. It is on Route 2 off Highway 400 and north towards El Dorado.

©Kathy Alexander/Legends of Kansas, January 2024.

Also See:

Cities & Towns

Education in Kansas

Historic Sites

One-Room, Country, & Historic Schools of Kansas


Butler County Schools
Columbian History of Education in Kansas, Compiled by Kansas Educators, Kansas State Historical Society, 1893.
Cutler, William G; History of Kansas; A. T. Andreas, Chicago, IL, 1883.
Genealogy Trails