Marshall County Rural Schools: A History (2023)

ADDED PHOTO - The old building of Le Grand Public School pictured some time after its completion in 1871.

Editor's Note: This is the first article in the Times-Republican Education Corner series about some rural schools in the area. The series will focus on the history and formation of schools, as well as the challenges they face in modern times.

More than a century has passed since the first white settlers arrived in present-day Marshall County. When they arrived, they set about building the main foundations of modern cities: roads, houses, shops, churches and schools.

Much has changed in education in the state since then. The three rural school districts in the county - West Marshall, East Marshall and Green Mountain-Garwin - have their own unique history. History also shows some patterns common to districts.

Past actions, contemporary effects

West Marshall, East Marshall, and Green Mountain-Garwin counties each have their own history of origin. While they are unique in their own way, there are also clear patterns that emerge when it comes to small school bonding times and between them.

Marshall County Rural Schools: A History (1)

PHOTO ADDED - People and horse-drawn carriages pose in front of St. Anthony Consolidated School building which opened in 1913 and closed in 1957. The building has since been demolished.

As described in The Continuing History of Marshall County Iowa, 1997, residents of some communities that had lost students or entire school buildings to consolidation resisted amalgamation into larger neighborhoods.

"The small-towners we were ... felt that consolidation probably wasn't good for us because we'd lose our school," said Julie Long, a 34-year-old Marshalltown Schools teacher and current substitute teacher at Green Mountain-Garwin. "There are pros and cons, like everything."

Lang said she grew up in Van Cleve, east of Melbourne. The small town was eventually added to the Marshalltown School District and the local building closed.

(Video) Adam Thada Presents "All Creatures Big and Small: Biodiversity in Marshall County"

Lang said Van Cleve, like some communities in the West Marshall, East Marshall and GMG school districts, was unable to meet the educational and infrastructure needs the state requires of students.

She said the first wave of consolidation in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was due to village schools working together. In the 1940s and beyond, schools in smaller towns consolidated to lose out to schools in larger cities such as State Center, Le Grand and, in her case, Marshalltown.

Gary Krob of the State Library of Iowa's State Data Center said the state's population saw steady growth during these periods.

"Iowa's population has generally always had slow and steady population growth," he said, noting that this was before the agricultural crisis of the 1980s.

He said international immigration from places like Germany and Ireland was key to the demographic boom in the early and mid 20th century that is happening today. The arrival of the baby boomers also contributed to the state's population growth.

Krob said it's sometimes hard to look at historical population figures because the methods of gathering information were different than they are today.

Western Marshal

Today, it includes the black and gold West Marshall Community School District State Center, home to all of its educational buildings, as well as Melbourne, Rhodes, St. Anthony, Clemons and LaMoille.

According to Continuing History, the modern district was established in 1962 after elections that sought to consolidate several independent territorial districts into West Marshall.

The first small school buildings appeared in the district in the 1860s on Rhodes and State Center. LaMoille followed in 1870. Then, in the late 19th century and early 20th century, the first wave of school consolidation began.

Rhodes Consolidated Schools was established in 1883 by combining students from several school buildings in the area. The same thing happened at the State Center in 1909 and in LaMoille and Melbourne around 1914-1915, according to Continuing History.

(Video) A Tiny History of Theatre in Marshall County

This has been the case for several decades in western Marshall County. A new wave of consolidation occurred in the post-war period. Minerva Consolidated School merged with State Center in 1945, and LaMoille did the same in 1955. Rhodes and State Center merged in 1961, just before West Marshall was finally formed in 1962.

The creation of the present district did not immediately mean the end of local school buildings in other towns. As the years passed and new educational facilities were added to the State Center, other cities began to lose their school buildings.

The final blow came in 1979 with the closure of the Clemons school building and in 1983 with the closure of the Melbourne school.

According to Continuing History, some citizens of the smaller towns around the State Center were unhappy with the consolidation.

"The people of Rhodes strongly opposed the closure of the (local school) as they expected a negative impact on the city, but this failed," it said.

Eastern Marshal

Purple and gold East Marshall Mustangs have been showing up more and more lately across the county. This district now serves the communities of Le Grand, Gilman, Laurel, Quarry, Dillon, Dunbar and Ferguson.

East Marshall was founded in 1992 according to "Continuing History". Before that, there were several waves of consolidation.

In the mid-1850s, the first school was established at Le Grand. In 1871, it became clear that students needed more space, so a two-story brick schoolhouse was built on the northeast side of town.

The three-story building was built in 1916 to accommodate even more students, but it burned down over the next seven years. The replacement building was built and opened in 1924 and still serves as part of East Marshall High School.

As with West Marshall, some communities have lost schools due to consolidation. Dillon School closed in 1955, and the nearby Rock Valley School existed from 1862 to 1954.

(Video) Correctional Officer CAUGHT On Camera Making Racist Comments to Journalist in Front Of Commander!

Ferguson originally had a two-form school before merging with nearby schools in 1915. The last class to graduate Ferguson was in 1960, and then the school was for third- and fourth-graders at Le Grand-Dunbar-Ferguson. (LDF) school district and later East Marshall. The Ferguson School also closed in 2010.

There was a consolidated school in Dunbar between 1922 and 1958. The building continued to serve fourth through sixth grades in the LDF district for some time before closing.

The cities of Laurel and Gilman continue to serve East Marshall Elementary and Middle School students, respectively. Laurel saw a new brick schoolhouse built in 1920 and a new high school built in 1951.

A change came for Laurel in 1963 when it merged with Gilman's school and part of the Mariposa Township in Jasper County to form the South East Marshall County (SEMCO) district. This district was affiliated with the LDF for several years until the formation of East Marshall in 1992.

The first school in Gilman existed from the 1870s until 1908, when it burned down. The building was replaced the following year and has since been renovated. This is the current East Marshall Middle School building.

Garwin Zielona Gora

The GMG school district covers Eastern Marshall County and Western Tama County. Green Mountain, a small community northeast of Marshalltown, experienced many of the same pressures as other towns in Marshall County in the 19th and 20th centuries.

According to Continuing History, students in the Green Mountain area prior to 1921 attended a one-room school slightly north of the school's current location.

In September of that year, voters voted to approve the creation of the Green Mountain Independent School District. This decision followed two previous failed attempts to create a district.

An important decision was made in 1952, authorizing the construction of a building for fourth through sixth grade students and a superintendent's office for $120,000.

According to Continuing History, the situation at the school in the small town remained fairly stable in the following decades. Then, in 1992, the current Green Mountain-Garwin neighborhood was formed when the schools of the two communities merged "after much discussion".

(Video) Kentucky school shooting (Marshall County) 2 dead 17 wounded

Today, Green Mountain is home to the district's elementary through sixth grade students, while Garwin is home to the middle school/high school.

From single and two-story schools on the plains in the early 20th century to multi-story multi-building school campuses today, rural schools in Marshall County have changed over time.

ADDED PHOTO - The old building of Le Grand Public School pictured some time after its completion in 1871.
PHOTO ADDED - People and horse-drawn carriages pose in front of St. Anthony Consolidated School building which opened in 1913 and closed in 1957. The building has since been demolished.

Today's breaking news and more right in your inbox

Roadside crooks showed up in Marshalltown on Sunday, lining Center Street with buckets and traffic vests and…

(Video) Marshall County Indiana Spanish Flu Deaths 1918


What is the history of Marshall County Indiana? ›

Marshall County was named in honor of Chief Justice Marshall. It was part of the territory belonging to the Menominee tribe of Potawatomie Indians, and included in the Government purchase under the treaty of Tippecanoe River, made in 1832.

Who was Marshall County Indiana named after? ›

Marshall County was named for John Marshall. It is located in the north-central area of the state.

How many schools are in Marshall County Indiana? ›

For the 2023 school year, there are 15 public schools serving 7,145 students in Marshall County, IN (there are 14 private schools, serving 1,468 private students).


1. Police find dead body in rural area of Marshall County
2. Marshall County High School shooting 1/23/2018
(Kasey Louthan)
3. First Annual Marshall County schools Fine Arts Showcase
(4-L Farm)
4. History of Marshall
(Fauquier Heritage and Preservation Foundation)
5. Rural, Marshall County Fire
(iNewZ TV)
6. Marshall County to start school year with no mask requirements


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Ouida Strosin DO

Last Updated: 20/11/2023

Views: 5737

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (56 voted)

Reviews: 95% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Ouida Strosin DO

Birthday: 1995-04-27

Address: Suite 927 930 Kilback Radial, Candidaville, TN 87795

Phone: +8561498978366

Job: Legacy Manufacturing Specialist

Hobby: Singing, Mountain biking, Water sports, Water sports, Taxidermy, Polo, Pet

Introduction: My name is Ouida Strosin DO, I am a precious, combative, spotless, modern, spotless, beautiful, precious person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.