A Prairie School: Then and Now

Bean School

On March 11, student investigators from Chapman Center spent time at the old Bean School, District #3 in Wabaunsee County. Using historic images and several plat maps, they reconstructed the school landscape as it would have looked around 1890.

The remains of the historic Bean School after a devastating fire, which occurred just before the school was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places. SOURCE: Schendt, Jamie. District School #3: Alma, KS (1893-1925): A Case Study of Integrated Schooling. K-REx, K-State Research Exchange, Department of History, Chapman Center for Rural Studies. Kansas State University, KS. 2010. http://krex.k-state.edu/dspace/handle/2097/4176

The remains of the historic Bean School after a devastating fire, which occurred just before the school was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places. SOURCE: Schendt, Jamie. District School #3: Alma, KS (1893-1925): A Case Study of Integrated Schooling. K-REx, K-State Research Exchange, Department of History, Chapman Center for Rural Studies. Kansas State University, KS. 2010. http://krex.k-state.edu/dspace/handle/2097/4176

Although partially consumed in a tragic fire just as it was about to be nominated to the National Register of Historic Places, this old limestone school still has a story to tell.

Dist. No. 3 is barely visible on this crumbling entryway to the school. Though it's known as Bean School, the official name was actually Dist. No. 3. SOURCE: Schendt, Jamie. District #3: Alma, KS (1893-1925): A Case Study of Integrated Schooling. K-REx, K-State Research Exchange, Department of History, Chapman Center for Rural Studies. Kansas State University, KS. 2010. http://krex.k-state.edu/dspace/handle/2097/4176

Dist. No. 3 is barely visible on this crumbling entryway to the school. Though it’s known as Bean School, the official name was actually Dist. No. 3. SOURCE: Schendt, Jamie. District #3: Alma, KS (1893-1925): A Case Study of Integrated Schooling. K-REx, K-State Research Exchange, Department of History, Chapman Center for Rural Studies. Kansas State University, KS. 2010. http://krex.k-state.edu/dspace/handle/2097/4176

The principal investigators of a vanished Flint Hills landscape, shown left to right: Will Lienberger, junior, Agriculture; Blake Hall-Latchman, sophomore, History; Michael Spachek, freshman, Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation; Sam Felts, senior, History; and Tanner Foster, junior, Secondary Education.

Students gather around the old school house.

Students gather around the old school house.

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Where Everybody Knows Your Name

The new Spring 2014 Interns have had nearly two months to get acquainted with the Chapman Center for Rural Studies, a program they were already familiar with through classes taught by Dr. Bonnie Lynn-Sherow and Dr. MJ Morgan. It was almost like deja vu to see the two faces and hear their names, which had already been floating around from time to time.

Griffin Page, Senior in History, and Jessica Hermesch, Sophomore in History.

Griffin Page, Senior, and Jessica Hermesch, Sophomore.

During their classes the two of them were able to get their Lost Towns paper published to the Lost Kansas Communities Digital Archive. Griffin and Jessica both wrote about towns close to where they grew up. Griffin was able to capture the struggle Stanley, Kansas (currently part of Overland Park, KS) went through during the process of being annexed by a nearby town. Jessica chose to write about Goff, Kansas and how the town beat all statistical odds based on the survival rate of other towns in similar situations.

The really exciting research is still-to-come, however, with Griffin working on CIS maps started by previous interns and Chapman Center staff that illustrate, for example, bootlegging and crime rates in Clay County, Kansas during the 19th century. Jessica will be working on interviewing a fellow classmate about her Lost Town paper about the home she grew up in – which had previously been a one-room school house! We’re very excited about the wonderful work Griffin and Jessica have already done and we can’t wait to see what they’ll produce next!

For a more information about Griffin and Jessica, go to our Staff page on our website: http://www.k-state.edu/history/chapman.