Rural Schools of Marshall County: A History (2023)

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - The old Le Grand Public School building, taken after completion in 1871.

Editor's note: This is the first part of a Times-Republican Education Corner series about some of the area's rural schools. The series deals with the history and origins of schools, as well as the challenges they face in modern times.

It has been more than a century since the first white settlers came to present-day Marshall County. When they arrived, they began laying the most important foundations of modern cities: roads, houses, shops, churches and schools.

Since then, a lot has changed in education in the country. The county's three rural school districts—West Marshall, East Marshall, and Green Mountain-Garwin—each has a unique history. History also shows some patterns that are common in provinces.

Past actions, contemporary influences

West Marshall, East Marshall, and Green Mountain-Garwin counties each have their own origin story. While unique in their own way, there are also clear patterns that emerge when it comes to the timing of small school mergers.

Rural Schools of Marshall County: A History (1)

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - People and horse-drawn carriages pose in front of the Consolidated School of St. Ante building, which opened in 1913 and closed in 1957. The building has since been destroyed.

As accounts in the book "The Continuing History of Marshall County Iowa, 1997" suggest, residents of some communities who lost students or entire school buildings to consolidation opposed merging into larger districts.

"Small town folks like us ... thought the consolidation probably wasn't good for us because we were going to lose the school," said 34-year-old Marshalltown schoolteacher and current Green Mountain-Garwin substitute teacher Julie Lang. "As with anything, there are pros and cons."

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

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Lang said Van Cleve, like some communities in the West Marshall, East Marshall and GMG school districts, cannot meet the education and space needs the state requires for student success.

She said the first wave of consolidation in the late 1800s and early 1900s was a result of the consolidation of rural schools. During the 1940s and beyond, she said, schools in smaller towns lost out to those in larger cities, such as State Center, Le Grand and, in her case, Marshalltown.

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

"The population of Iowa in general has 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 that early to mid-20th century population boom as it is today. The arrival of the baby boom generation also contributed to the growth of the state's population.

Krob said it can sometimes be difficult to look at historical population data because the methods of gathering information were different than they are today.

West Marshall

Today, the Black and Gold West Marshall School District includes State Center, where all of its educational buildings are located, as well as Melbourne, Rhodes, St. Anthony, Clemons, and LaMoille.

The modern district was created in 1962 after an election held to consolidate several independent districts into West Marshall, according to "Continuing History."

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

Rhodes Consolidated Schools began in 1883 and combined students in several district schools. The same thing happened at State Center in 1909 and in LaMoille and Melbourne around 1914-1915, according to Continuing History.

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That's how it went for decades in western Marshall County. The second wave of consolidation came in the post-World War II period. Minerva Consolidated School merged with State Center in 1945, and LaMoille did the same in 1955. Rhodes and State Center merged in 1961, shortly before the eventual formation of West Marshall in 1962.

The formation of the current district did not immediately mean the end of local school buildings in other cities. As the years passed and new educational additions appeared at 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," there was discontent among some citizens in the smaller towns around State Center when it came to consolidation.

"The residents of Rhodes strongly opposed the closure (of the local school) as they foresaw a negative impact on the town, but they failed," it said.

Eastern Marshall

On the other side of the county, purple and gold East Marshall Mustangs have appeared more recently. That district currently 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 a few waves of consolidation.

In the mid-1850s, the first school was founded in Le Grand. In 1871 it became clear that a larger space for students was needed, so a two-story brick building was built on the northeast side of town.

The three-story building was built in 1916 to house even more students, but burned down seven years later. A replacement building was constructed and opened in 1924 and continues to serve as part of East Marshall High School.

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

(Video) Rural, Marshall County Fire

Ferguson initially had a two-room schoolhouse before consolidating with nearby schools in 1915. The last graduating class in Ferguson was in 1960, and after that was the school for third and fourth graders in the Le Grand-Dunbar-Ferguson (LDF) school district. and later East Marshall. Ferguson's school was also closed in the 2010s.

There was a Consolidated School in Dunbar from 1922 to 1958. The building served the LDF District's fourth through sixth graders for a time before closing.

The cities of Laurel and Gilman continue to serve East Marshall elementary and high school students. Laurel saw a new brick school building in 1920 and a new high school was built in 1951.

Change came for Laurel in 1963 when it consolidated with Gilman School and part of Jasper County's Mariposa Township to form the South East Marshall County District (SEMCO). That district merged with the LDF for several years until East Marshall was formed in 1992.

The first schoolhouse in Gilman lasted from the 1870s until 1908 when it was destroyed by fire. The building was replaced the following year and has since been renovated. It is the current East Marshall High School building.

Green Mountain Garwin

The GMG School District stretches between eastern Marshall County and western Tama County. Green Mountain, that small community northeast of Marshalltown, experienced many of the same pressures as other Marshall County towns during the 19th and 20th centuries.

According to "Continuing History," prior to 1921, students in the Green Mountain area attended a one-room schoolhouse 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. That decision followed two previous failed attempts to create a district.

In 1952, a major resolution was passed authorizing the construction of a building for fourth through sixth grade students and a principal's office for $120,000.

According to "Continuing History," things remained fairly stable for the small-town school over the following decades. Then, in 1992, the current Green Mountain-Garwin District was formed when the two communities' schools merged "after much discussion."

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

From one- and two-room schoolhouses on the plains in the early 1900s to school campuses and multi-story buildings today, Marshall County's rural schools continue to change over time.

PHOTO CONTRIBUTION - The old Le Grand Public School building, taken after completion in 1871.
CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - People and horse-drawn carriages pose in front of the Consolidated School of St. Ante building, which opened in 1913 and closed in 1957. The building has since been destroyed.

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What is the history of Marshall County? ›

Present-day Marshall County was created by the Alabama legislature on January 9, 1836, from Cherokee land acquired in the 1835 Treaty of New Echota. The county was named in honor of John Marshall, chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1801 to 1835.

How many high schools are in Marshall County Alabama? ›

Marshall County contains 4 high schools. For personalized and effective admissions consulting,consider Get one-on-one advising on your essays, application strategy, and extracurricular profile to help you gain acceptance to your dream colleges.

How many schools are in Marshall County KY? ›

Marshall County contains 13 schools and 4,589 students.

How many schools are in Marshall County Alabama? ›

Marshall County contains 15 schools and 5,758 students.

What are some historical facts about Marshall County WV? ›

The county was named in honor of John Marshall, who at the time was the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. On Christmas Eve, 1852, the B&O railroad track was completed at Rosby's Rock. The railroad was the first to connect the Atlantic Ocean with the Ohio River.

What is the history of the name Marshall? ›

Marshall is a boy's name of French origin. It is an occupational surname that translates to “caretaker of horses” and originates from Norman French. This name also has roots in German and Ashkenazi Judaism as an Anglicization of the name “Marschall”.

What is the biggest 7A school in Alabama? ›

Hoover competes in AHSAA Class 7A athletics. Hoover is the largest high school in the state of Alabama, with an enrollment of 2,770 students.

What is the #1 High School in Alabama? ›

The top ranked public schools in Alabama are Loveless Academic Magnet Program High School, Crestline Elementary School and Cherokee Bend Elementary School. Overall testing rank is based on a school's combined math and reading proficiency test score ranking.

What is the best school in Marshall County Alabama? ›

The top ranked public schools in Marshall County, AL are Arab Elementary School, Arab Junior High School and Cherokee Elementary School.

What high school in Kentucky has the most students? ›

The average private high school in Kentucky has 253 students (2023). The largest private high school in Kentucky is Christian Academy Of Louisville English Campus with 1,765 students.

How many schools are in Lexington? ›

Overview of Lexington

Lexington contains 10 schools and 6,901 students. The district's minority enrollment is 60%.

How many kids are in JCPS? ›

JCPS is a leading urban school district that provides a high-quality education for 96,000 students (about 1 of every 7 students in Kentucky).

How much do substitute teachers make in Marshall County Alabama? ›

The average salary for a Substitute Teacher is $35,844 per year in Alabama.

How many 1A schools are in Alabama? ›

The 2022-23 and 2023-24 football alignment places the 32 largest high schools in Class 7A and 57 in Class 6A, 56 in Class 5A, 62 in Class 4A, 60 in Class 3A, 60 in Class 2A, and 62 in Class 1A.

What is the largest public school in Alabama? ›

The public school in Alabama has approximately average 544 students (2023). The public schools with the largest student enrollments are listed below (where sufficient data available). The largest public school in Alabama (by enrollment) is Alabama Connections Academy with 4,727 students.

What are some important facts about Marshall County? ›

Marshall County is home to the largest conical burial mound in North America, at Moundsville. Marshall County was formed in 1835 from Ohio County by act of the Virginia Assembly. In 1852, on Christmas Eve, workers completed the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad's connection to the Ohio River at Rosby's Rock in Marshall County.

What is the history of Marshall County Kentucky? ›

Marshall County, located in far western Kentucky and created in 1842, was part of Hickman County, and later it was the northern part of Calloway County. Prior to that, the land belonged to the Chickasaw Indians, and was bought as part of the Jackson Purchase.

How did Marshall County in Kentucky get its name? ›

On June 1, 1842 a new county was legally formed from part of Calloway County. This new county was named Marshall, in honor of Chief Justice John Marshall who had recently died.

What does the word Marshall mean in the Bible? ›

The revisers follow Septuagint and Greek authority which favor "marshal" as against "scribe." The office of marshal was to help the general to maintain discipline (compare 1 Macc 5:42). (2) Tiphcar (Jeremiah 51:27), a loan-word whose meaning is clear.

What clan is Marshall? ›

Marshall is a sept of Clan Keith, and the current Chief of Clan Keith is Sir James William Falconer Keith of Urie, 14th Earl of Kintore, 14th Lord Keith of Inverurie and Keith Hall, 4th Viscount Stonehaven, 4th Baron Stonehaven, 5th Baronet, 6th of Ury, born on 15th April 1976.

What heritage is the last name Marshall? ›

Marshall is an occupation name whose origin is from the Frankish mare ("horse") + skalkoz ("servant"). It is most commonly found as a surname, but may also be used as a given name. It is also an old Scottish surname meaning 'Love of Horses'.

What is the oldest school in Alabama? ›

Barton Academy is considered the birthplace of public education in Alabama, having been established by Alabama's first public school system in 1836.

What is the oldest high school in Alabama? ›

Murphy High School History

In April, 1976 Murphy celebrated its golden anniversary as the oldest school in Alabama. Originally named Mobile High School, the name of the school was changed in 1927 to Murphy High School in honor of Mr.

What is the smallest big east school? ›

Providence College is the smallest member of the Big East conference.

What is the richest school district in Alabama? ›

Of active districts in Alabama with at least 100 students, Mountain Brook City – located in Jefferson County – ranks as the wealthiest.

What is the number one private school in Alabama? ›

The best top ranked private schools in Alabama include Indian Springs School, Mobile Christian School and The American Academy For Young Professionals. The average acceptance rate is 90% (view national acceptance rates). Minority enrollment is 24% and the student:teacher ratio is 12:1.

What are the best private highschools in Alabama? ›

Westminster Christian Academy (Huntsville)

Tuscaloosa Academy (Tuscaloosa) Trinity Presbyterian School (Montgomery) Briarwood Christian School (Birmingham) John Carroll Catholic High School (Birmingham)

Is Marshall a prestigious school? ›

Marshall University's ranking in the 2022-2023 edition of Best Colleges is National Universities, #299.

What state has the best high schools? ›

1. Massachusetts. Massachusetts has the highest rank for public schools across the country. The quality of education is exceptional, and safety is also high.

What is the largest single high school in America? ›

The largest high school in America is currently the Brooklyn Technical High School in New York City, New York. Founded in 1922, the school is located in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn and currently has over 6,000 students enrolled.

What is the largest independent high school in the US? ›

Pinkerton Academy, located in south central New Hampshire, is the largest independent high school in the United States. The primary source of funding for the Academy is public tuition.

What is the history of Marshall County Minnesota? ›

History. The Minnesota legislature created the county on February 25, 1879, with territory partitioned from the southern half of Kittson County, with Warren (which was first platted that same year) as the county seat. It was named for William Rainey Marshall, who served as Minnesota governor from 1866 to 1870.

What is the history of Marshall County Kansas? ›

Marshal County, one of the most northern counties of the state, was officially organized on August 25, 1855. Founded by Frank Marshall; A. G. Woodward; John D. Wells; A. G. Barnett; and Joseph Langdon, the county was one of the original 33 counties organized by the Territorial Legislature in 1855.

What is the history of Marshall County Oklahoma? ›

The county was created at statehood in 1907 from the former Pickens County of the Chickasaw Nation. It was named to honor the maiden name of the mother of George Henshaw, a member of the 1906 Oklahoma Constitutional Convention. The county and its cities are part of the Texaoma region.

What is the oldest suburb in Minnesota? ›

Richfield: Minnesota's Oldest Suburb.

What is Marshall Minnesota famous for? ›

Marshall is a regional center in southwest Minnesota, and the county seat of Lyon County. It is the headquarters of the Schwan Food Company and the home of Southwest Minnesota State University.

What was the first county in Minnesota? ›

The first Minnesota counties were Benton, Dakotah, Itasca, Ramsey Wabasha, and Washington established on October 27, 1849.


1. Adam Thada Presents "All Creatures Big and Small: Biodiversity in Marshall County"
(Marshall County Museum Plymouth, Indiana)
2. Marshall County High School shooting 1/23/2018
(Kasey Louthan)
3. Anthology of Uncommon Hoosier History
(Marshall County Museum Plymouth, Indiana)
4. First Annual Marshall County schools Fine Arts Showcase
(4-L Farm)
5. 12 Moments You Wouldn’t Believe If Not Filmed
6. Marshall County Indiana Spanish Flu Deaths 1918
(Marshall County Museum Plymouth, Indiana)


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