Frog Pond School

Iowa rural schools in Iowa, marked on the old maps, were planned so that students wouldn’t have to walk farther than two miles to attend classes. They were usually just one-room structures with an area to hang “wraps” and park lunch pails.

Clabe Wilson and his sisters, Rectha and Alice, attended Frog Pond School.

Rectha Mae (1890), Claiborne Daniel (1888), and Alice Madeline (1891) Wilson, Guthrie County, Iowa. Photo probably taken in Panora before 1900.

The Wilsons farmed in Section 28 in Jackson Township, Guthrie County. I believe that Frog Pond School is in the southwest corner of Section 29 in this old map.

One of Clabe Wilson’s schoolmates there was Wesley Clampitt, who became the Superintendent of the Dexter School when Clabe’s children attended there during the Great Depression. He is mentioned in Leora’s Dexter Stories.

At one time, more than 12,000 rural schools dotted the Iowa landscape, most two miles apart. Today some are in use as houses or farm buildings, others as township halls and community centers. Many have been preserved as museums.

Thanks to Kenneth Wheeler for providing a photo of this school, also known as Glendon Independent School #5

A piece of the school foundation was erected on the site marks the area where Frog Pond School used to stand.

It was fun to learn that former Frog Pond students gathered for reunions as late as 2007. This one was held at The Port Restaurant in Panora.

The Vedette, October 18, 2007

A tribute to the endearment of the community and rural beauty of Guthrie County, Iowa.




    • This one is long gone, but even where ones used to be will soon be getting markers. So many have turned into other uses. Two were moved into the town of Dexter. One was our music room, the other houses 5th and 6th grade, at least when I was that age.

  1. Have always loved how they named cities and towns, and apparently schools. Of course, I’m not sure how they ever came up with two of my favorites; Weewah (Wewahitchka), Florida (I heard it was an Indian word) and Arp, Texas (did the town father’s just finish breakfast when they named it?). 🙂 Thanks for a little slice of history today Ms. Joy

  2. My wife went to the Adair country school, which was located on land donated by her grandfather, Lawrence Lehman. The building today is occupied by my wife’s niece.

    • I wonder if Adair County is getting them all recorded. Audubon County is even marking where they used to be. I signed up right away to sponsor the one the Goff children went to! Dallas County has started working on it too. That would make a wonderful blog post as well! With photos!

  3. I also didn’t know the schools were every two miles. I’ve seen a number of these in the plains communities (and Idaho) homes of my ancestors. One was named for an ancestor who provided the land, but Frog Pond is delightful! Those children had some sturdy shoes for doing all that walking.

  4. I enjoyed reading your article.
    My grandmother, Rosa (Davison) Bain, taught there in 1930. I have her contract as well as a couple of photos of her class.

    • Thank you for your note! You might like to share those with us on the Historic Guthrie County Facebook page. There are several people who remember Frog Pond School. I gave a book talk yesterday at the Panora Library, since the third “Leora book” has stories about Morrisburg, Frog Pond School, and the Liza Jane Train. The photo on the cover is of a Panora house that still stands today. Women there remembered Frog Pond School.

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