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Visions and Voices: Montana's One-Room Schoolhouses

by text and photography by Charlotte Caldwell

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The story of Montana's one-room schoolhouses, as recollected and recounted by those most intimately connected to those places, is the story of the American frontier and the high value placed on education for those who came to homestead, mine, or work the railroads. It is a story of the Western spirit, of a culture that displays tenacity and endurance. These stories, told by students and teachers, many of whom are now in their eighties or nineties, tell of adventures to and from school, the school day, recess games, family life, daily chores, but above all, the sense of community, as defined by those iconic humble schoolhouses. These voices share memories and perspectives about a way of life in those singular places, and breathe life into these visions of rural heritage.… (more)
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The story of Montana's one-room schoolhouses, as recollected and recounted by those most intimately connected to those places, is the story of the American frontier and the high value placed on education for those who came to homestead, mine, or work the railroads. It is a story of the Western spirit, of a culture that displays tenacity and endurance. These stories, told by students and teachers, many of whom are now in their eighties or nineties, tell of adventures to and from school, the school day, recess games, family life, daily chores, but above all, the sense of community, as defined by those iconic humble schoolhouses. These voices share memories and perspectives about a way of life in those singular places, and breathe life into these visions of rural heritage.

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