Square Lake School and students in ca. 1908

Square Lake School and students in ca. 1908

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District No. 74, Square Lake
GENERAL LOCATION Between Square Lake and Mays Lake in north-central Washington County
MODERN ADDRESS Located on Old Field Rd. on Wilder Forest in the town of May.
DISTRICT BOUNDARIES Just south of Maple Lake marked northwestern corner while Big Carnelian Lake marked the southeastern edge
DISPOSITION Now a residence
  • 1896: District established. School started that year in Mr. T.H. Hillary’s home for a month, until a wood building was erected Feb. of 1896. School lasted a month that year in that building.
  • 1917: The building is destroyed by fire. Rumors spread that the fire was set off by a pro-German to protest World War I.
  • 1918: The school is rebuilt, this time in brick.
  • 1939: Walls are repainted.
  • 1943: The school has one pupil left, and when the teacher failed to show up for school, and 2 more students arrived for school, the school closed.
  • It was noted in the Gazette that for so young a district, the children’s attendance was excellent as well as their school work.
  • Originally, the district was apart of district 4, but students in the western part found it hard to travel.
  • The school was 30 ft. long, 12 ft. high and 20 ft. wide and painted white (the wood building).
  • Enrollment in 1896: 23 students. In 1938: 12 students.
  • There was known to be many conflicts between the townspeople and the school, more specifically the teacher.
  • Consolidated into the Marine school district in the 1950s.
MEMORIES: “I remember well when [Lydia VanTassel’s] husband-to-be, Colonel Edwin Swenson, came to get her on Fridays, and how he winked at us and set us all to giggling.” -Ila Jarchow Brown, Historical Whisperings


“Come with me to the hillside and sit
Beneath the tree;
Upon the schoolhouse lawn that sheltered you and me
But few are left to greet me, and few are let to know
Who played with me upon the green
Just seventy years ago.” -David Monson

“Each teacher brought some skills and some house-wifely good sense to the job. In general, she was isolated and lonely in her job, subject to close scrutiny by the little community. Lack of training in primary work was probably noticed the least. Unfortunately, although great strides have been made, the problem persists today.” -Ila Jarchow Brown

Known Teachers:

1896: Nellie Emerson
1896-7: Tillie Caplazi
1897-8: Aurora Swanman
1898-9: Aurora Swanman
1911-2: Marie Ryan
1917-8: Rosela Lyman
Late 1910s: Drusilla Lyman
Late 1910s or early 1920s: Pearl Pankonin
1924-5: Lydia VanTassel Swenson
1925-6: Lydia VanTassel Swenson
1926-7: Lyola Erickson
1927-8: Verna Lindblad
1928-9: Verna Lindblad
1929-30: Gladys Jarchow
1930-1: Ruth Peterson
1931-2: Evan Schubert
1934-5: Gertrude McLaughlin
1938-9: Helen Maloney
1939-40: Lois Maloney


Square Lake School – winter 1919