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Early Oak Creek Schools


Oak Creek Township was formed in 1840 as the United States opened Wisconsin Territory to settlers.  Settlers came from other parts of the United States and from a diverse group of European nations, especially England, Ireland, and Germany.  While the priority for settlers was building shelter and clearing the land for farming, it soon became clear that they needed schools to educate their children.

The norm today is to build a few large schools and transport the students to those school locations, but in the 19th century, the needs were different.   With long distances and no real transportation system, schools needed to be within walking distance for students.  As a result, nine small school districts were formed within Oak Creek Township.  Two of the districts also served part of eastern Franklin Township.   Most districts built small one or two-room wood schoolhouses in the 1860s or 1870s.  That building was often replaced by a more substantial brick structure about 1890.  Some districts built larger multi-room buildings in the 1930s as part of the federal Works Progress Administration.

Four of the district school buildings still exist, now used for other purposes.  The other buildings were demolished, and the sites were put to other uses.

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