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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tripp School

The Tripp School in Vernon Township was located on the east side of Route 21, one mile north of Deerfield Road. It was located in this general location from the 1840s to 1979.

The original Tripp School was a log house built as a dwelling at the "back" of the Francis Tripp farm. The students sat on benches, the older children having a bench and a desk, and the heat source was a fireplace at one end of the building.

On August 15, 1848, Tripp sold a small portion of his land along Route 21 to the school district for $10.

Parents paid 50 cents per scholar/per term to send their children to the school. The teacher, generally female, was paid from this money.

In 1912, the school's frame building was lifted and a basement put under it, an entryway added and a furnace installed. The remodeled school is shown below in 1918.

Interior view of the Tripp School's classroom, 1918.

A map of Vernon Township was drawn by Tripp School students in 1918. The communities of Half Day, Prairie View and Aptakisic are shown, now all absorbed into Lincolnshire and Buffalo Grove. The Tripp School is indicated at the bottom right. Note there are four other schools on the map, all within a few miles of each other.

In 1912, there were 92 one-room schools in the county. But by this time, the popularity of the “rural” schools was waning in favor of larger, more completely equipped schools with teachers specializing in subject areas rather than one teacher teaching all subject areas. Some of the one-room schools had as few as ten students, and it was considered cheaper to bus them a few miles down the road to the larger “central” schools than to maintain smaller, separate schools.

Seventh and eighth graders of the Tripp School, 1918, are from left to right: Ruth Rockenbach, Louis Steen, Lillian Seiler, Maudesse Nitzer, and Molly Seiler.

The Tripp School continued until 1957 when it was consolidated into Aptakisic-Tripp Elementary School District 102. For a time the historic building was used as an American Legion hall, but in 1978 it was scheduled to be burned for firefighting practice by the Vernon Fire Protection District.

Thankfully, a group of concerned local citizens rallied to save this chapter of their community's heritage. In 1979, the building was re-located by William Boyd and Phil Spinuzza, and is now being used as an antiques shop at the Sale Barn Square antiques center at 971 N. Milwaukee Avenue (Route 21) in Wheeling.

The history written and photographed by the Tripp School's scholars in 1918 and in the Dunn Museum's collections is hosted at the Illinois Digital Archives: Tripp School Online


Anonymous said...

This morning I am pleased to have discovered your information. What a relief the old school house escaped fire practice! Having done research about the Potawatomi and one of their leaders, APTAKISIC, I was gratified to read his name had been used in: "The Tripp School continued until 1957 when it was consolidated into Aptakisic-Tripp Elementary School District 102."
Good for your town to save this structure! We plan to visit soon.
I just wish you had a picture of the house move, as I had to find one on another site. Susan Estall

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the above information. I am intrested in the tripp School also. Could you give me any information, if anyone from the village of wheeling area attended this school? Milwaukee Ave & Dundee Area. Any other information would be helpful.
Bill Hein
Wheeling Historical Society

Anonymous said...

Dear Friends: What a treasure to see interest in the preservation of historical educational sites and experiences.
My two Brothers attended Tripp School. Before the Aptakisic Trip School was built the church/ home then school on the corner was built. Students had two rooms up stairs and down stairs. Four classes to each. The Bell rang and we all went in side or recess announced. Halloween parades occurred to the general store by the rail road.
My Brother Donald Diggs played the piano for their class one of the last classes to attend there with so much pride.
At both of these older and multi schoolrooms many a leaders, Senators, Congressmen, Solar people, Construction, teachers, Doctors and medical staff as well as Veterans came from this experience.
When the new Aptakisic-Tripp School was built the communities had exploded in population from the WWII families and immigrants. The farms had migratory families that worked seasonal, many came and stayed after getting their Visa.
Also these schools and surrounding were the protective community and educators for some of the families and /or their offspring brought to the USA from the concentration camps of Hitler. Yes, some were from Schindler's List.
Proudly my Sisters and Brother's all graduated and went on to make a difference for others with their work and families. Like so many others, the Diploma was earned and received with great pride. So too the High Schools they later went on to and other advanced College Experiences. The land for Aptakisic-Tripp was provided by a farming family also. Teachers had large classes. Students cried their first day of school, their last and Graduation.
The education we received among the best of this nation from magnificent teachers, School Board, and families who paid the taxes to provide a wonderful public education. Thank you for sharing this history from the Archives and may the little school houses be protected from encroachment of the horrendous population growth we are experiencing.
Education an honor and gift not something to take for granite. Sharon Marie Diggs Walker

Unknown said...

I went to Aptakisic Tripp in 1959. I had three other siblings that attended as well I remember very well my first grade teacher Miss gomberg and my second grade teacher mrs. Weidner do you have any photos of the school then and maybe these teachers

Jim Seckelmann said...

I recently purchased the property located at 1700 Estonian Ln Buffalo Grove. Located at the NE corner of Milwaukee Ave and Estonian Ln. I located an old foundation at the southwest portion of the property. After doing some research I realized that this was the original site of the Aptakisic Tripp School. The old school house had been slated to be burned down for fire practice. Thanks to owners of the Wheeling Sale Barn for saving it! I spoke with Phil Spinuzza who originally paid to move it and create a new home for the School house. It was relocated to The Wheeling Sale Barn at 971 N Milwaukee Ave. In Wheeling, approximately 1.5 miles south of its original location. Phil tells me he’s reached out to local municipalities, LCFP and to anyone who could help preserve this extremely rare historical structure. Unfortunately he has had no success. Phil’s research says it dates back to 1835, One of the 1st School houses in Illinois and maybe the oldest to still be in existence. Phil is looking to retire and sell The Sale Barn. None of the developers interested in the property have any interest in saving this extraordinary piece of history. Both Phil and I would like to bring the Old School back to its original location and create a permanent home. Anyone having pictures, historical information or any ideas we look forward to hearing for you. Jim Seckelmann / Phil Spinuzza.