White Rock School

The White Rock School in Riga Township was the last one-room schoolhouse in operation in McHenry County, North Dakota. The school was named for White Rock Hill, just east of its location.

In 1963, the school had a student body of ten boys and four girls, with Mrs. Forrest as teacher. The only grade that had no students was the seventh.

The first White Rock School building was built on land donated by A.L. McFarlane, probably around 1905, and one of the earliest teachers was Clarence Taylor, who taught there from 1905 to 1907. He later married Mabel Kuhnhenn, who had been one of his pupils.

On February 12, 1913, the school building burned. Reportedly, a pail of hot ashes had been set on the porch when a strong wind came up, and the wood building was in flames in moments. For the rest of that term, students attended school at the Charley Buck home, which was near the location of the school.

That summer, a new school building was constructed, and Elma Larson was the first teacher in the new schoolhouse. She left before the term was up, and her term was completed by Fanny Whitney, who had come from Downers Grove, Illinois, remaining until the end of the 1914 term.

Over the years, the building has served as a community center, meeting hall, and as the polling place during elections.

The White Rock School was very much like other rural schools, with blackboards lining the walls, roll-away maps, and colored pictures. It had an old organ, which came originally from the Genetzky home, then to the Indiana School, and later to White Rock.

There was a hand bell used to call pupils to order. As soon as they became available, of course, there was electricity and a dial telephone.

In 1963, hot lunches were served to pupils, with mothers providing a hot dish five days in a row, while teachers provided the other necessities for a noon meal. In the earlier years of the school, pupils brought lunch buckets.

The school continued in operation until 1969, after which pupils were bused to the Granville Public School.

A complete record of the teachers who taught at the White Rock School is not available, but they included Clarence Taylor, Mrs. Hetrick, Grace Dougherty, Verna Collins, Mine Seright, Frances Thompson, Ann Winkleman, Elma Larson, Fannie Whitney, Grace Snyder, Lydia Hanson Anderson, Cora Cross, Earl Kenney, Sigrid Tonnesson (who also attended school there), Josephine Allison, Jeanette Molden, Bertha Stenbakken, Viola Streimikes, Myra Roebuck, Marian Lazier, Ralph Olson, Hazel Larson, Vera Strandberg, Edna Rosenberger, Opel Wendland, Beulah Rom, Dick Woddiwiss, Mrs. Hafton Jacobson, Mrs. Hettinger, Mrs. Esther Lavedure, John Rogers, Alice Eikesdahl Kramer, Robert Latimer, and Shirley Einarson Hofmann.

In 1910, the teacher at White Rock School was Grace Daugherty, and the school board members were A.L. McFarlane, J.E. Osborn, P.O. Dwyer, F.M. Bacon, and Verna Osborn. The pupils were Orra, Adrian, Elwin, Georgianna and Alah McFarlane, Borghild, Sigrid and Oscar Tonnesson, Foster and Freeman Osborn, Lizzie Hermann, and Georgia Temann.

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