Marshfield, August 1877: First meeting of Marshfield school board held
By Kris Leonhardt
When Article X of the Wisconsin Constitution was instituted in 1848, Wisconsin became a forerunner in providing free education. Article X provided for free public schools for all children ages 4 to 18, and local taxes went to school support. It was not until 1865 that free education was available throughout the United States.
The goals of early schools included building skills for work and introducing acceptable life habits like good health, moral conduct, and citizenship.hen Article X of the Wisconsin Constitution was instituted in 1848, Wisconsin became a forerunner in providing free education. Article X provided for free public schools for all children ages 4 to 18, and local taxes went to school support. It was not until 1865 that free education was available throughout the United States.
As immigrants made their way into the vast woodlands of Wisconsin, they would establish one-room schools in their infantile communities. Schools were often crude structures pieced together by a giving community. Finances and labor were quite often donated and the result of a community’s will to provide.
The early 1870s were formative years for Marshfield as residents began filling the expanded village.
Seeing the need for local education for the small band of youth that now populated the town, a group of parents joined together to collect enough financing to hire a teacher. After employing Clara Davis, the group set up a school room on the upper floor of a grocery store owned by Chris LaMere.
The fledgling school operated at random over the next four years. During this time, the number of children grew in conjunction with the population of the city. As residents of various ethnicities began to populate the area, the need for a uniform education compounded.
Still years from being incorporated as a city, the people once again took action by organizing their own educational system. Assembling on their own, city leaders organized the first school board, which held its first meeting in August 1877.
After its organization, the board secured money from the state, and Marshfield’s first public school building was constructed on the northeast corner of West Third Street and South Chestnut Avenue.
As the population grew in the Marshfield area, so did the school district. The School District of Marshfield continued to expand and would eventually be comprised of nine schools in and out of the city limits.