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

Old Clay County, Kansas High School.

Old Clay County, Kansas High School.

The settlers of Clay County, Kansas, took a deep interest in educational matters from the beginning.

This enabled the county to become, in so short a time, one of the foremost for its age in the ranks of school privileges. The first schoolhouse was built on government land in Lincoln Creek in 1864. It was a crude structure of logs and was nearly completed when Samuel Allen went to the land office at Junction City and filed on the land, thus appropriating the schoolhouse as his personal property. This made it necessary to secure another schoolhouse, and F. Kuhnle bought a log cabin. Mrs. Lack taught the first school, which had about 15 students. The first district was organized in 1865.

Dissatisfaction arose in 1866 in Clay County over the taxes imposed by the authorities of Geary County, and a meeting was held at the schoolhouse in Clay Center on July 28 to consider the question of organizing the county. A committee was formed to draft a petition and affidavit to be sent to the governor as required by law. On August 10, 1866, the governor appointed county commissioners and named Clay Center the seat of justice.

By 1881, there were 84 schoolhouses with 145 teachers. At that time, there were 95 districts, or one for every 140 inhabitants. The first schoolhouse cost about $50; the last, that of Clay Center, cost $25,000. From a school population of about 24 when the first school was taught, it increased in 16 years to about 5,000. The increase in school property at the same time, from $50 to nearly $90,000, showed the prevailing interest in the cause of education.

Historic Schools of Clay County
Name District Years of Operation Location & Information
Fairview 92 1882-1955
Fairview School in Clay County, Kansas.


This wood frame building with a gable front entry has its original double-hung wood windows, chimney, and a new tin roof and brick chimney. This original building was outgrown in early consolidation, and a new, larger building replaced it. This building was purchased and moved to a nearby farm. It is on the north side of the road across from 2226 Highway (18th Road) in a wooded area. It stands near Clay Center.

Fairview (Second Building) 92 1955-1968
The second Fairview School in Clay County, Kansas.

Fairview School

The second Fairview School is an L-shaped Queen Anne-style wood frame building. The school was originally the Riley County Fairview School, purchased by the Clay County District #92 in 1955, and moved on a new foundation at the original Clay County Fairview School site. The district consolidated with Green School in 1968, and the land and school were sold at auction. The school was then moved to its current location and remodeled into a home. It is located at 1825 Valley View Road, Clay Center, Kansas.

Gatesville 10 ??
Gatesville School in Clay County, Kansas.

Gatesville School

This old wood frame with a hip-enclosed front entry porch has a gable roof. This deteriorated building is located about seven miles south of Highway 24 on Thunder Road in Clay County, Kansas. The school sits in front (east) of a large chicken house; a long metal shed is across the road to the east.

Idana 28 1941-1966
Old Idana School in Idana, Kansas.

Idana School

The one-story concrete Idana School was built in the Modern Movement style. The first school on this site was built in 1888 and was replaced by this one in 1941. The Works Progress Administration built the school. After it was closed, it became a voting center. Now, in private ownership, it is used for storage. It is located at 303 Lincoln Street in Idana, Kansas.

Idlewild 8 1925-1966
Idlewild School in Clay County, Kansas.

Idlewild School

The square Vernacular-style wood-frame Idlewild School has an intersecting gable over the front entry and a basement. The school district was organized between 1872 and 1880. After the school closed, the building was donated to Goshen Township for Community Building and is used for family gatherings, community meetings, and a voting site. It is located 8.5 miles north of Highway 24 on Quail Road.

Green 97 1930-2005
Green School in Green, Kansas.

Green School in Green, Kansas.

Built as a High School in Green, Kansas, in 1930. When the High School closed in consolidation in 1960), it became an Elementary School and continued that function until 2005, when it closed. The old public school closed in 2005 and is now utilized as the Green Christian School, a satellite of the Flint Hills Christian School of Manhattan, Kansas. It serves students from kindergarten through the eighth grade at 501 N. Street.

King  23 1908-??
King School in Clay Center, Kansas.

King School

This wood-frame vernacular-style rectangular school has its original wood floor, doors, and trim and is set up like one one-room schoolhouse for display. Located on-site with five relocated historic buildings north of the sports field on the south side of Highway 24. It is located adjacent to Sportsman Park in Clay Center.

Lincoln Creek 1 1878-??
Lincoln Creek School in Clay County, Kansas.

Lincoln Creek School

Lincoln Creek (Lower Lincoln) School is a deteriorated native stone building with a collapsed roof and south wall. The district was organized in 1867, and the school was built on land donated by George Neil. It was also used for Sunday School. The District was disorganized in 1952. It is two miles east of County Road 396 and 16th Road near Clay Center.

Longford 99 1946-??
Old Longford School in Clay County, Kansas courtesy Google Maps.

Longford School

The old Longford Grade School is a Vernacular-style T-shaped brick building converted into a residence in the 1990s. It is located at 510 Kansas Avenue in Longford, Kansas.

McKinley School ?? 1916-??
Old McKinley School in Clay Center, Kansas.

Old McKinley School

This three-story rectangular brick building with stone detailing was converted into apartments in 2000. The first school built on this site in 1881 burned down in 1915. The building was built in 1916 as a grade school and high school. A Gym/Auditorium was added in 1950. The brick auditorium connected on the north side of the building burned in 2004 and was demolished. It now serves as McKinley Apartments at 731 Crawford Street in Clay Center, Kansas.

Mt. Vernon 67 1909-1966
Mt. Vernon School in Clay County, Kansas.

Mt. Vernon School

The Mt. Vernon School, a rectangular one-story wood frame school, was built in the vernacular style with a shed enclosure at the front entry. Wood frame w/ shed enclosure at front entry. The interior is intact with wood wainscot, plaster walls, ceilings, chalkboards, light fixtures, etc. The first school at this location was built in 1873; this one in 1909. At some point, the belfry and bell were removed. When it closed in 1966, it was sold to Union Township. It is eight miles South of Clay Center on Highway 15.

Sunnyslope 9 1876-??
Sunnyslope School in Clay County, Kansas.

Sunnyslope School

This one-story rectangular native stone building was built in the commercial style with a gable roof. There are two outhouses in the rear of the school and a merry-go-round east of the school. It is located one and a half miles east of Redwood on 9th Road near Wakefield, Kansas.

Thorton 35 1880-1953 This one-story rectangular wood-frame building was designed in the vernacular style with a gable roof. It was built in 1880, replacing the 1873 structure lost to fire on land donated by Samuel and Ann Thornton. Often called the “Common School,” it closed in 1953 and was sold in 1955 to Hays Township for Township Hall. Vacant today, this deteriorating school is located at the corner of Qual Road and 20th Road near Clay Center, Kansas.
Historic School Districts of Clay County
School Name District Location and Information   School Name District Location and Information
Athelstane 45 Mayfield 63
Beach Glen 94 Morganville 41
Blaine 19 It was located in Red Top, Kansas. Mt. Erie 22
Bloss or Hayes 59 Mt. Olive 57
Bouldin 90 Mt. Pleasant 32
Broughton 16 Mt. Vernon 67
Bryan 70 Mud Creek 60
Bunkerhill 74 Mulberry 34
Centennial 76 Nicod 46
Chester 50 North Exeter 36
Clark 62 It was located in Gill Township. Oak Hill 12
Clay Center 2 Olive Hill 28
Coffel 43 Pleasant Hill 38 It was located in Hayes, Kansas.
Crawford 37 Pleasant Hill 55 It was located in Union, Kansas.
Davis 84 Pleasant Hill 93 It was located in Grant, Kansas.
Deweyville 58 Pleasant Prairie 83
Diamond 44 Pleasant Valley 48 It was located in Oakland, Kansas.
Dimon 72 Pleasant Valley 64 It was located in Goshen, Kansas.
Dry Creek 18 Pleasant View 56 It was located in Five Creeks, Kansas.
Eagle Bend 27 Pleasant View 65 It was located in Highland, Kansas.
Eight Mile 95 It was located in Ten Mile, Kansas. Riverdale 14
Elder 33 Ross 47
Fact 24 Shaubel 20
Fair View 85 It was located in Oakland, Kansas. Sherman 4
Fairview 92 It was located in Highland, Kansas. Sherwood 6
Four Mile 51 Sommerset 75
Garfield 87 Sommervile 13
Garfield 91 It was located in Bloom, Kansas. South Exeter 42
Gatesville 10 It was located in Gatesville, Kansas. Sunny Slope 9 It was in Union Township.
Golden Ridge 96 Sunnyside 61
Green 97 Swedesburg 31
Hannibal 29 Tabor 52
Hebron 21 Thornton 35
Highland 73 Timber Creek 3
Hillside 78 Trudell 79
Idana 11 Tubbs 89
Idylwild 68 Twin Mound 7
Iwacura 30 Two Mile 81
Jennings 53 Uniondale 17
Johnson 98 Union Mound 80 It was located in Black Hill, Kansas.
King 23 It was located in Woodside, Kansas. Upper Lincoln 82
Knob College 88 Victor 100
Lincoln 26 It was located in Garfield Township. Vinzant 77
Lincoln 40 Wakefield 39
Longford 99 Walker 69
Lower Lincoln 1 Washington 15
Machmer 71 It was located in Mt. Pleasant, Kansas. West Exeter 49
Madura 8 Wheeler 54
Mall Creek 5 Wiberg 86
Marty 25 Woods 66

©Kathy Alexander/Legends of Kansas, January 2024.

Also See:

Clay County, Kansas

Education in Kansas

Kansas Destinations

Kansas Ghost Towns


Blackmar, Frank W.; Kansas: A Cyclopedia of State History, Vol I; Standard Publishing Company, Chicago, IL 1912.
Cutler, William G; History of Kansas; A. T. Andreas, Chicago, IL, 1883.
Historic Public Schools of Kansas
Kansas Historic Resources Inventory