An insight into the lesser-known Kansas School in Robinson
The Kansas School circa 1900 is located near the intersection of Silver Lane and Regina Drive in Robinson Township.
By Janet Gonter
-Robinson Township Historical Society-
Around the turn of the 20th Century, Robinson Township was home to 10 one-room schoolhouses. A couple of the actual buildings, including one at the intersection of Forest Grove Road and William Drive and another at Steubenville Pike and Devassie Road, still exist as private homes and are familiar to many local residents.
Yet the fate of another school, the lesser-known Kansas School, remained a mystery until very recently. Located near the intersection of Silver Lane and Regina Drive, it existed at a time when the area was all farmland, and everyone walked to school, some for miles.
In the historical society archives, we found a detailed description of the Kansas School, written by James Aiken many decades after he attended there.
Aiken, a student from 1909 to 1915, fondly described it as follows:
“Kansas School was a one-room country school with a single door and large windows on two sides There was a blackboard on the front wall, opposite the entrance, and a vestibule inside the door where coats and overshoes were placed. Near the front was a large, round iron stove with a protective shield of thin metal around it. It burned coal, and the teacher was also the janitor and fireman.
Behind the school building were two outdoor toilets. There were 20 to 30 children in the school, in grades one through seven. I have good memories of the teacher, Elizabeth Phillips, who was about 18 years of age when I began going there to school. She never married but lived with a bachelor brother a short distance from the school. Many years later, when she was in her 70s, I telephoned her. She at once recognized my voice and called me by my name!”
In 1920, teacher Anna Reis, described it this way in the school newspaper:
“Kansas School is located on a little hill among a group of majestic oaks. In my estimation, it is one of the nicest rural schools in the township as to buildings and equipment. The enrollment at present is thirty-six and is evenly divided among the boys and girls. The pupils are all very polite and show excellent training at home.”
Obviously, the school was much loved. But does the building still exist?
Yes, it does! The Historical Society recently learned that the school was purchased in the 1950s, moved to another lot, and converted into a private home. It has been owned by the same family for generations.
The Kansas School is a fascinating bit of Robinson Township history that until now few residents knew anything about.