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

Historic grade school in Cottonwood Falls, Kansas, courtesy Wikipedia.

Historic grade school in Cottonwood Falls, Kansas, courtesy Wikipedia.

On December 31, 1861, school districts numbered 1 to 8 were organized in Chase County, Kansas. In 1867, there were nine schoolhouses in Chase County; in 1870, 18; in 1878, 35; in 1882, 45, and 53 school rooms. The school population in 1882 was 2,140. The number of school visitations by the superintendent in 1882 was 73. There were 44 School Districts in the county, three of which were joint with Lyon, one with Morris, and one with Marion County. The schoolhouse bonds voted in 1882 were $16,130. There were ten teachers for grade one, 42 for grade two, and 12 for grade three.

Today, Chase County is served by USD 284, a public unified school district headquartered in Cottonwood Falls, Kansas. The district includes the communities of Cottonwood Falls, Strong City, Cedar Point, Elmdale, Matfield Green, Bazaar, Clements, Saffordville, Toledo, and nearby rural areas of Chase, Lyon, and Morris Counties. It covers almost all of Chase County. The school district operates two schools — Chase County Junior/Senior High School in Cottonwood Falls and Chase County Elementary School in Strong City.

Historic Schools of Chase County
Name District   Years of Operation Location & Information
Bazaar 7 Chase 1917-1965
Bazaar, Kansas old school by Kathy Alexander.

Bazaar School

Bazaar, Kansas. In 1917, the town’s third schoolhouse was built next to the old stone schoolhouse, which had served so well for many years. Built at a cost of about $4,000. It has two large schoolrooms, a library, two vestibules, two washrooms, and a kitchen. The school was dedicated on November 9, 1917. It is utilized as a community center today.

Cottonwood Falls 6 Chase 1904-2010
Cottonwood Falls Grade School in Cottonwood Falls, Kansas, courtesy Wikipedia.

Cottonwood Falls Grade School

The old Cottonwood Falls Grade School is at 401 Maple Street in Cottonwood Falls, Kansas. The two-and-a-half-story stone building was built in three stages: the original 1904 building, an addition in 1915, and a second addition for a gymnasium in 1963. The school continued to operate until 2010, when it became a victim of consolidation, and its students were sent to the grade school in nearby Strong City. The school was added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 28, 2021.

Elmdale 1 Chase 1895-
Elmdale School in Chase County, Kansas.

Elmdale School

Elmdale Auditorium, courtesy Google Maps.

Elmdale Auditorium

The Elmdale Elementary School is a two-story limestone building that retains its historic wood windows and rectangular stone lintels and sills. The bell tower was removed sometime before 1975. Next door is a brick auditorium that was built in 1915. The school is located at 200 Campbell in Elmdale, Kansas.

Lower Fox Creek 14 Chase 1884-1947
Tall Grass Prairie Schoohouse courtesy National Park Service.

Lower Fox Creek School

In 1878, residents of the Fox Creek area decided to form a school district. Stephen F. Jones donated the site for the schoolhouse. The first school term began on September 1, 1884, with Dora Peer as the teacher. The average enrollment was between 1 and 19 students of all grades. The school was closed in 1930, and the district was disbanded in 1946-47. The schoolhouse and its grounds reverted to the adjoining ranch at that time. Today, the school is part of the Tall Grass Prairie National Preserve. The school is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is located at 2480B Kansas Hwy 177, north of Strong City.

Matfield Green Grade School 43 Chase 1938- 1975
Old Matfield Green Grade School in Chase County, Kansas.

Old Matfield Green Grade School

The old Matfield Green Grade School is a one-story brick Tudor Revival-style U-shaped building with pavilion wings on the west and east. In April 2019, the School for Rural Culture and Creativity Inc. acquired this building and incorporated it as a non-profit the following year. Improvements since then include new electrical panels and additional electrical repair, major roof repair, masonry work, exterior door replacement/repair, new gymnasium windows and frames, new track lighting, new swings for the playground, landscaping, painting, and plenty of scrubbing, weeding, and more. Several current and developing projects include maintaining playgrounds and open green spaces, developing a printmaking/artist studio for resident and visiting artists, studio space, exhibition space, native landscaping, a children’s playroom and reading area, and more. It is located on Bocock Street in Matfield Green, Kansas.

Matfield Green Grade Gymnasium 43 Chase 1929-??
Old Mattfield Green Gym

Old Mattfield Green Gym

The old Matfield Green High School Gymnasium is a Progressive Era two-story red brick building designed in the Late 19th & 20th Century Classical Revival style for the Rural High School (1927), which has since been demolished. It is well-lit by windows and includes limestone accents throughout the exterior. An arched entryway leads into a vestibule with two stairways, one on each end, that lead to three small upstairs rooms. The smaller-than-regulation basketball court provides minimal room for spectators, but the stage is amply outfitted for dramatic productions. Directly beneath the stage are two locker rooms with toilets and showers. This vacant building is at 408 Bocook Street in Matfield Green, Kansas.

School No. 46 ?? Chase 1901-??
School #46 in Strong City, Kansas.

School #46

This rectangular limestone one-and-a-half-story building was built in the commercial style with a gable front roof. It has two outbuildings. The building has been restored, modified, and modernized. It is located at 2243 U Road in Strong City, Kansas.

Wonsevu ?? Chase ??
Wonsevu School in Chase County, Kansas.

Wonsevu School

This one-story rectangular wood frame school was built in the vernacular style with a gable roof. The vacant building sits at the northeast corner of E Road and Cedar Creek Road in the extinct town of Wonsevu, Kansas, 20 miles southwest of Cottonwood Falls.


Chase County Historic School Districts

School District Years of Operation Location and Information
Elmdale 1 1895-??
Cottonwood Falls 6 1861-?? The first school in Cottonwood Falls was a subscription school, organized in 1859, with 25 students from Cottonwood Falls and the surrounding area. It was held in a log cabin not far west of the old mill site. School District No. 6 was organized on December 9, 1861. The public school was held in the Courthouse, which is a small log building. In 1866, a stone schoolhouse was built just west of the log cabin. It stood until 1882 when a four-room stone building costing $10,000 was erected. In 1903, District No. 6 voted to donate the site, building, and equipment to the High School and, in 1904, built a new elementary school building for $15,000. In 1915, an addition was built for $12,000. A large gymnasium, auditorium, classrooms, and storm cellar were added in 1962. The Bond issue was $195,000.
Bazaar 7 ??
Vernon 11 1862-1944 It is east of the Cottonwood Falls District. All district property was sold on April 12, 1949, by County Sheriff George Gutsch.
Balch 17 1871-??
Miller 19 ?? The Miller School District was organized in the late 1860s or 1870s. It was located southeast of Cottonwood Falls in the Miller and McCandless area. County Sheriff George Gutsch sold all district property on April 12, 1949.
Diamond Creek 22 ??
Upper Fox Creek 24 1889-1947 The district was disorganized on March 5, 1947.
Toledo 26 ??
Prairie Hill 30 ??-1922 In about 1922, the district disbanded, and the building was sold to George Starkey and moved to his place.
Patton 31 ?? It was southeast of Cottonwood Falls. County Sheriff George Gutsch sold all district property on April 12, 1949.
Bloody Creek 35 ?? The Bloody Creek School District was organized in the late 1870s or early 1880s.
Matfield Green 43 ??
Marble 46 1889-1944 The school district was disorganized on March 5, 1947, and attached to Districts 6 and 41. The school stood idle for some years except for an occasional school reunion or community meeting. It was later used as a hay barn and burned down.
Buck Creek 49 ??-1945 The Buck Creek School District was southwest of the Cottonwood Falls District. All district property was sold on April 12, 1949, by County Sheriff George Gutsch.
Fairview 53 ??-1916 In 1893, the school had 14 students, and in 1901-02, it reached its high mark of 18 students. From then until 1908, the average number of students was 12 to 15. From then until 1916, the average was 6 to 8. In the last month of that year, students moved out of the district until there was only one student left, Blanche LaPlant, who graduated that year.
Daub 66 1895-1947 The district was disorganized on March 5, 1947.

©Kathy Alexander/Legends of Kansas, updated May 2024.

Also See:

Chase County, Kansas

Education in Kansas

Kansas Destinations

Kansas Ghost Towns


Chase County Submitted Historical Sketches
Cutler, William G; History of Kansas; A. T. Andreas, Chicago, IL, 1883.
Historic Public Schools of Kansas
Kansas Historic Resources Inventory