Palmer School

The Palmer School was originally built in 1924 on Illinois Route 26 in the country six miles west of Amboy. It was the second school built at that location, the first having been destroyed by fire. It is typical of the one-room school houses prevalent throughout rural America during that era. Built of wooden construction, it measures 25 feet by 40 feet and is naturally lit with east-facing windows. In addition to the large instructional room, it also contains a second, back-room built originally for storage, coats, etc.

After 1950, rural, one-room schools were abandoned in Illinois, with rural students now being bused to town. However the Palmer School was saved from destruction and moved to our museum. It has been fully restored both inside and out so that an example of this mode of education could be preserved as a tribute to the teachers and students whose education and values were formed inside these simple structures.

The interior of the restored Palmer school is that typically found in a one-room school house of the early 20th Century. Such a building would typically be heated with a cast-iron stove, necessitating the teacher' s early arrival to stoke up the stove so that there would at least be a tolerable level of heat in the building before the students arrived. Arranged in the school are rows of seating of various sizes to accommodate a wide range of students, from the smallest first grader to young men age 14 or greater, all facing the teacher's desk and blackboard. Also included are such one-room school standbys as the unfinished portrait of George Washington, a multiple roll of world maps and a piano for recitals. Additional photos and artifacts from various local schools and classic group photographs of actual classes of students who attended Palmer School in the late 1940's are also on display.