Old schoolhouse may be moved This replica of the first log schoolhouse in Dakota Territory, located south of the Senior Citizen Center in Vermillion, may be moved to the grounds of the Austin-Whittemore House. by David Lias A replica of the Old Log Schoolhouse, a famed historical site in Vermillion, may be moved in the near future.
For several years now, the replica has stood in an obscure, wooded area south of the Vermillion Senior Citizen Center.
Cleo Kosters of the Clay County Historical Society told the Clay County Commission Tuesday that the society is considering moving the replica of the building onto the grounds of the Austin-Whittemore House nearby.
Such a move, she said, would give the replica of the Old Log Schoolhouse greater visibility, and would make it more accessible to the public.
Koster added that the society is aware that the log structure could affect the esthetics of the Austin-Whittemore House grounds. That will be one of many factors taken into consideration before the society decides whether to move the structure.
Kosters said that even though no decision had been made yet, she wanted to let the county commission know about the proposal. If the move is approved, she said, the society likely will seek financial help from a variety of sources, ranging from the county commission to various entities that award grants.
The original Old Log Schoolhouse was built in November 1864 by a group of citizens and soldiers led by Captain Nelson Miner. It was the first permanent building erected for school purposes in Dakota Territory.
The building was constructed at what today is the corner of Dakota and Chestnut streets. The structure was 15 by 20 feet and built of round cottonwood logs. Besides serving as a school, the building was also used as city hall, courthouse, general meeting house and church.
Ten people served as teachers there during the 1871-72 school year.
As Vermillion grew, the small building could no longer serve all of the community�s children. Students attended a larger school built on the hill near the corner of Church and Bloomingdale streets.
The abandoned log school house became a playhouse for children. After the flood of 1881, the building was dismantled and the logs were used either for other construction or firewood.