I grew up in a small Ohio town, and I rode the school bus from 1st through 12th grades. My bus ride always included a country road on which every school day we saw a one-room brick school house. (SW corner of Stine Rd and Enon-Xenia Pike). As the years went by, I watched this wonderful, familiar friend fall apart. After I married, the school really began to deteriorate. Every time we visited the area I would want to take a photo of the school, but never did. Finally, when we went specifically for the task, the school was gone. It was a huge loss for me and, since that time, whenever we pass a one-room school, it is a joy to stop to take a picture or two. Thus, our collection here, and the one with schools in other states. Jill :oD

Friday, May 27, 2011

Pleasant Valley #5, Forest Grove School, Bettendorf

At the junction of Forest Grove Road and Criswell Street, on the north side of the road just east of Criswell.  Built in 1873 and closed in 1957, this school is in very sad shape.  Many cement blocks have been removed from the site, which leaves the sides with no foundation.  The interior has been intentionally destroyed and trashed.  But the architecture is still interesting, especially in the school sign above the door.  Both swing sets are still there, although minus the swings.
Photographs taken on 5/26/11

Update, 8/30/12.  The Cedar Rapids Gazette, 8/26/12, reported that efforts are underway to stabilize the foundation of this school before winter, as the beginning of a restoration project.

Update, 4/1/14.  Photos taken today to show progress being made in restoration.  A new foundation was built after lifting the school, and then the school was set back down on it.  Restoration efforts ceased for the winter.

UPDATE 12/1/15:  Here's an article discussing the restoration, and letting us know that the school is "buttoned up" for the winter.

UPDATE 1/16/16:  The following photographs were taken today.

UPDATE 10/16/16:  The following photos were taken on 10/15/16 during a tour with a 1-room school conference group.  The interior has a long way to go.


runlevelfivepointer said...

This is awesome! I love vintage houses, schools, barns, and other buildings.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

We love old architecture also. When we drive through old towns, we often will leave the highway just to drive up and down the streets to look at the buildings and houses.

Forest Grove School Preservation said...

This Spring, Forest Grove School Preservation (a 501c3 non-profit corporation)has been able to replace the east siding and is preparing to replace the south siding as well. The sign is being rehabilitated. Window jams are all rehabbed, with only two new jams on the south. We are awaiting construction of the new door jam and threshold, as well as the new replica door. We are looking for 10 and 11 lb window weights to install the replica windows that are completed (including historic glass), primed, and painted. We are seeking a mason to build a non-functioning chimney accord to the architect's specifications. Thank you for inluding Forest Grove School No. 5 in this blog. We are grateful for your support.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hi Forest Grove Restoration,

I've been following you on Facebook ever since I read you had one. We are glad to see the great job you are doing to preserve the school.

Sarah B said...

My mother in law Mrs.Jane Westbrook Butcher, was a teacher at this school.We are all so anxious for it's completion.
Sarah Butcher

Sharon Andresen said...

Work on the interior of the schoolhouse has begun. Reclaimed flooring from another schoolhouse near Princeton, IA, was donated to replace the original flooring in Forest Grove School, and we are eager to have that installed. Currently, work is being done to rehab and replace the 'bones' of the cove ceiling and to replace interior structural features that were removed in 1949 to add a basement and stairway. Please follow us on Facebook at Forest Grove School Preservation, or follow our pictorial timeline on the website at

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hi Sharon,

Thank you for that update!