"It seemed... a lonely little house of scholarship, with its playground worn so bare... But that humble little school had a dignity of a fixed and far off purpose... It was the outpost of civilization... driving the wilderness farther into the west. It was life preparing wistfully for the future."
James Rooney, Journey from Ignorant Ridge, 1976
Providing a basic education for their children was a high priority to prairie settlers. Classes began here at the Lower Fox Creek School in 1884, and continued until 1930. Land for the school had been donated by Stephen F. Jones, original owner of the adjacent Spring Hill Ranch.
The school's basic one-room style, constructed of the same limestone which underlies its knoll, provided a place where the basics were taught — reading, writing, arithmetic — and geology. From their little prairie school, local children were introduced to the world. Some of them stayed to inherit family ranches, while others went off to explore the places they had only seen on school house maps. Wherever they went though, the memory of growing up in this place probably went with them.
As the tallgrass prairie has become an increasingly threatened landscape, the type of view that can be seen from the Lower Fox Creek School has become increasingly rare. As a part of the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, it will continue to be protected so that children of the future can have the opportunity to enjoy, and learn the basics of, the amazing prairie.
To honor Mr. & Mrs. Robert Peterson of Cottonwood Falls, Kansas for their labor of love in restoring Lower Fox Creek School House in 1972.