Westport Schoolhouse opens for 2019 season

Slates, kerosene lamps, desks arranged by grade — step inside the Westport Schoolhouse and step back in time.

The Westport Schoolhouse opens for the season Tuesday, June 11, in Kenue Park in Okoboji. Tour the last remaining one-room schoolhouse in Dickinson County 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday through August.

“Volunteers love getting to show families around this historic schoolhouse to talk about rural schools in Iowa,” said Kiley Roth, community relations coordinator for the Dickinson County Conservation Board, which runs the Westport Schoolhouse. “Kids and adults can bond over their similar and yet different school experiences through the years.”

Westport No. 5 was originally located in Westport Township in the southwest corner of Dickinson County and was open to students 1897-1952. It was used a community center for the township after closing and then moved to Kenue Park in 1996. Volunteers renovated it, and it opened to the public as a part of Iowa’s sesquicentennial celebration.

Admission is free, and visitors to the schoolhouse can see original documents from the school, including teacher contracts, teacher paychecks, classroom attendance sheets and school books. Take a test to see if you could pass eighth grade, ring the school bell, try out your math or cursive skills on a chalkboard or make a bookmark to take home as a souvenir.

“We want people to immerse themselves in the country school experience,” Roth said. “We even have recess game ideas for families to go outside and play, like Fox and Geese or Pom Pom Pullaway.”

The Westport Schoolhouse is staffed by volunteers, and more volunteers are needed for the noon-2 p.m. shift each Saturday. Please contact Roth at 712-336-6352 if you are interested in volunteering. All training is provided.

For more information on the Westport Schoolhouse and other fun activities in Kenue Park, including the Dickinson County Nature Center, click here. You can also keep up on the latest happenings on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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