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

This school that once stood in the mining camp of Skidmore is gone today.

This school that once stood in the mining camp of Skidmore is gone today.

In the early 1900s, the spirit of public education in Cherokee County, Kansas, was one of the chief characteristics of the people who lived in Kansas. Sometimes, people were heard complaining of public expenses of various kinds, but the public school was immune. It was not subjected to the ordeal of rigid investigation such as is often made into other matters of public concern.

In 1904, Cherokee County had 120 public schools outside of the cities. At that time, there were 14 schools in the cities. These were distributed uniformly over the county so that not a community within its borders could be found without a schoolhouse, well furnished and under the charge of an industrious, well-qualified teacher.

At that time, Columbus had three school buildings and 13 teachers. Galena had five school buildings, and the School Board soon built a High School building at a cost of $20,000. Baxter Springs had one large school building with eight teachers.

Weir City had two buildings and 17 teachers, and Scammon had one large building and eight teachers. Empire City had one building and five teachers, and Mineral City had one building with six teachers.

The Cherokee County High School building was erected in Columbus in 1900 at a cost of about $18,000. The attendance at the County High School in the first year was more than 200. For the school year 1903-04, the attendance was 260.

In later years, these many schools were consolidated, and the vast majority are gone today. However, several still remain.

Name District Years of Operation Location & Information
Cherokee County ?? 1925
Old Cherokee County School in the Scammon vicinity.

Old Cherokee County School

This one-story T-shaped wood building was designed in the Craftsman/Bungalow style with a cross-gable roof. The deteriorating old school is located on NE K-7 Highway in the Scammon vicinity.

Crestline 78 1921-??
Crestline School in Cherokee County, Kansas courtesy Google Maps.

Crestline School

The schoolhouse was built in 1921 and was a two-teacher school. Features of the schoolhouse are the use of decorative stone molding around the double door entrances and stone squares on the window corners. The red brick school with a wooden merry-go-round in front appears to be in good condition. The school is located on U.S. 69 ALT Highway and SE Wyandotte Road in Crestline.

Elm Tree 57 1881-??
Elm Tree School in Cherokee County, courtesy Google Maps.

Elm Tree School

The local 4-H club currently uses this building. It is located on SE 20th Street north of High Line Road near Riverton.

Rickland Valley 63 1900-1954
Old Rickland Valley School in Columbus, Kansas.

Rickland Valley School

The old Rickland Valley School is a one-story wood-frame rectangular building with a gable roof built in the vernacular style. It has a gable entry with vinyl siding. After closing in 1954, it was purchased and moved to serve as the Sherwin Christian Church annex. It is located at 6155 NW Sandpiper Lane in Columbus, Kansas.

Roosevelt ?? 1937-1970
Roosevelt School in the extinct town of Empire City, Kansas by Kathy Alexander.

Roosevelt School

Roosevelt School was built by the Works Progress Administration in Empire City. Construction started in October 1936, and the dedication ceremony was held on October 29, 1937. The school district closed Roosevelt School in 1970 and gave the building to the city in 2001. Empire City is part of Galena, Kansas today. The school is located at 319 W. Empire Street.

Star 1896-1958
Star School in Cherokee County, Kansas courtesy Google Maps.

Star School

This school is located near West Mineral on NW 70th Street, south of NW Scammon Road.

Stoney 88 1879-1960
Number 88 School in Cherokee County, Kansas courtesy Google Maps

Stoney School

This stone schoolhouse is located at southeast 20th and Wyandotte Road near Columbus. After consolidating with Columbus schools, the building was used by the Stoney ATA Lodge and Auxiliary.

West Mineral Auditorium/Gymnasium ?? 1930-2003
West Mineral Gym in Cherokee County, Kansas.

West Mineral Gym

This two-story rectangular brick gymnasium has a one-story rear hip addition. Designed in the commercial style, it has a vaulted roof. The interior is intact with plaster walls, original doors and trim, and a wood gym floor. Built in 1930 as a gymnasium for a former school that was demolished. A grade grade school was added on-site in 1937. It was used as a gym for the grade school until 2003. Afterward, it was sold to a private owner for a residence. It is located North of Joplin Street in West Mineral, Kansas.

West Mineral Grade School 1837-2003
West Mineral Grade School in Cherokee County, Kansas.

West Mineral Grade School

This one-story rectangular brick building was built in the commercial style with a flat roof and parapet and a recessed central entry. When it closed, its interior was intact with plaster walls, original doors, trim, chalkboards, and suspended ceilings. Used as a private residence today, it is North of Joplin Street in West Mineral, Kansas.

©Kathy Alexander/Legends of Kansas, updated December 2023.

Also See:

Cherokee County, Kansas

Cherokee County Photo Gallery

Extinct Towns in Cherokee County

Kansas History

Kansas Ghost Towns


Allison, Nathaniel Thompson; History of Cherokee County, Kansas; Biographical Publishing Co., Chicago, IL 1904
Genealogy Trails
Kansas Historic Resources Inventory