When the Germans settled on the Kansas high plains over a century ago, after homesteading their farm and establishing a church, the next priority was to build a schoolhouse. This schoolhouse was originally built in Russell County in the 1870's and was moved to the campus of Fort Hays State University in the fall of 1977.
This is the original Plymouth Country Schoolhouse that was built from 3,000 quarried limestone blocks in 1874 in eastern Russell County. It was dismantled block by block and reassembled at the current location along the banks of Big Creek and across the street from Tomanek Hall. The Fort Hays State University Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa completed the restoration project of the 927 square foot structure in 1979 and furnished it with school antiques and textbooks.
The subjects that were taught to the students, whose ages ranged from 5 to 21, were reading, penmanship, arithmetic, descriptive geography, physical geography, and physiology. Other subjects taught were U.S. history, declamation, drawing, algebra, and bookkeeping. Music was held by singing familiar songs parents taught their children. During recess children played games such as leap frog, baseball, follow-the-leader, marbles, drop-the-handkerchief, spin-the-bottle and tag.
Each year enrollment increased with the highest number of enrollees being 59 and with all the subjects in 8 grades it became difficult to teach in a one-room school. By 1904 attendance dropped sharply and the school closed until 1912 when it was opened for one year. It was again closed until 1915 when it reopened and stayed active until 1936. The school was then closed permanently at the end of the school year for several reasons, mainly lack of students, but also due to the depression, dust storms and drought.
The school educated approximately 150 children for eight years of their lives with at least 32 of them continuing on to become teachers.
Through the efforts of the Phi Delta Kappa Education Honorary Organization and many volunteers, the Plymouth Country Schoolhouse was saved and brought to the Fort Hays State University campus. This one room schoolhouse sits on the campus as a reminder to all of us where our education roots began and to show us how important education was to the pioneers of our area.
Fort Hays State University
Hays, KS 67601
Admission: Free Admission
Hours: Free tours arranged by appointment.
Address: Fort Hays State University - 600 Park
Come visit us in Hays, Kansas