The Pioneer Sholes School heralds back to a simpler time; a one-room school house dating from 1872 that currently serves as a living history museum and classroom. This school was originally located on David Sholes’ farm in Burlington Township, near the crossing of Burlington and Plato. According to an old map of Kane County, the first school on this site was built before 1860, though by 1872, the current building had been constructed.
The Sholes land was then sold to Louis Schairer, who was heavily involved in school affairs. In the early 1900s, teachers would often board at the Schairer residence or teachers and students would warm themselves at the Schairer home when the school's heating failed. The school served the neighboring areas until 1946-47, when Kane County started their school consolidation project. Over 135 small schools were closed down and their buildings converted to everything from chicken coops to residences.
The Sholes School building was never converted. It sat idle on Campbell’s land from 1947 until 1979 when Campbell donated it to the Kane County Forest Preserve in memory of his mother who had taught at the school in 1913-1915.
At that time, the Pioneer Sholes School Restoration Society formed to move and restore the building. Because the building itself was in significant disrepair by late 1970’s, much work was required to return the building to its current state. The following sources provided significant furnishings in the school:
The antique floor boards come from a barn near DeKalb.
The tin ceiling is from the old Leath Furniture Building in Aurora.
The blackboards are from the original Louise White School in Batavia.
The school bell in the cupola was donated in memory of Martha Campbell.
The sconces in the vestibule were given by descendants of David Sholes.
Group tours are specifically tailored to complement your group’s interests and are available by appointment. During the school year, preference for use of the school building is given to classes visiting from area schools.
School/Children’s Groups Visits
For more information please contact us at 630-377-6424 or email DurantAndSholes@ppfv.org.
closed for the season
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St
Saint Charles, Illinois 60175
Parking on site.
Open to the public Sundays 1:00-4:00 p.m. (June-September)
Open to private tours by appointment.
Share our history—reap the rewards!
Delve deeper into the history of school houses on the prairie! Prior experience is not necessary and training is provided.
Learn more here or contact our director at 630-377-6424 or firstname.lastname@example.org.