Berrien County, Michigan - Old Time Schools
When Berrien started to become organized in the 1830's, classes were taught originally in private homes and log cabins. But a call went out, and citizens, being of an industrious nature, commenced building schools. Some were first made of logs, then improved on by wooden structures. And some were lucky enough to have those same wooden structures, either through fire or necessity to be replaced by brick buildings. The one room school is pure Americana in both its quaintness and function. And there was something to be said for the personableness of a one room schoolhouse compared to the mega-size schools of today. At the end of World War II men returned from the front and the baby boom was soon in full swing. The population started to expand and the one room schools were inadequate to handle the needs of most communities. Along with this, roadways had improved and school busses came into being. Now students could be transported further distances than the local school house. Many of the schools below were consolidated into larger facilities, while others faded into history.
In 1934 Berrien County Schools bragged a total of 165 schools in operation: 134 Rural schools, 13 parocial schools and the remainder divided by 4 city school systems.
Presented below are some of the schools that educated children in the Berrien County area. The photos linked to some of them are compliments of Teresa O'Riley and we thank her humbly.

See Additional sties   
Great site - One Room Michigan Schools
Berrien County Michigan Old Schools - Photos - by: Teresa O'Riley

 

Old Time School Listing

Township/City/Village
School Name
Location
Added Comments & Sources
Organizers & Teachers (Partial list)
Bainbridge Township founded 1837 - taken from Berrien
Corner of Territorial Rd. & Bainbridge Center Rd.
Two Room Red Brick school built circa 1888 and school was closed in 1966
Bainbridge district was split into the Coloma and Watervliet districts.
Teachers:
Arthur Kent
Walter Kendall
Emil Stetler
Alfred Butzbach
Walter Briney
Leslie Melville
Lowell McMillan
Miss Murial Clark
Helen Clark Scherer
Phyllis Schaus
Wilma Schaus
Mrs. Francis Holmes
Dean Foster
Boyer
Bainbridge/Coloma twp line
Original school built circa 1859 moved back to make room for new school in 1884. Some of the older students were Edith Pearl & brothers Warren & Jim Adams along with Ruby Guy, now of St. Joseph in 1959|- the last year of school.
1884 structure replace in 1959 which became an administration building.
 
Burg
AKA Berg
About 1/2 mile west of County Line Rd. on Daneffel Rd.
... Miss Mira Olds taught there in 1906
Byers
1/2 Mile East of M-140 at the Corner of Territorial and Nichols Rds.
Byers school district organized in March 29, 1851 at the John Byers home. School was held only 4 months of the year u ntil 1871 when it was open 6 months of the year.
Newer brick school was built in 1902 in 1957 the building was no longer used and sold to Horace Wise.
Organizers: John Byers, Adam Miller, George Wise
Charles Kit, M. B. Harrington
Some teachers: 1884 - Katherine Sommers
1885 - Maggie Anderson
1890 Ironey Jaqueny
1891 Zuth Scott
Some Families that attend:
Hiler, Peters, Wise and Olds.
Center AKA Centre
..
Newspapers 1869
Brick one built in 1885
 
Between N. Branch Rd. & Hill Rd.
Three Miles South on M-140
Structure burned December 5, 1917; replaced w - 2 room brick building still standing
Michigan Schools
 Late 30' Henry Beall teacher
Millburg Later to be considered part of Benton Twp.
Before 1868 - Wooden structure replaced - brick about 1920.
1928 teacher, Miss Olive Roberts
Penn Yan (Photo circa 1948). On Bainbridge Road, between Napier and empire Roads. Photo & information dontated By Chet Pelton.

Mr. Henry Beall taught there from at least 1940 to 1951 .  His wife Isabelle  taught there from at least 1948 to 1951.

Spinks Corner
NW Corner of Napier and South Park
Originally a little red school house existed in 1846 where also various denominations of churches also held their services in.
Spinks Corners came into play as a school district in about 1866. In 1880's a newer school was built and then added on to in 1908
George Wright and sister Caroline were early teachers in this school.
Baroda Township
divided from Lake Township in 1923
Baroda Further information being researched Nov. 13, 1946 Boiler explosion at school
Also See - River/Riverside Schools
1905 teacher Clara Prince
Hills . In operation in 1934continuing to 1949 .
Landon . In operation in 1949 1949-50 Eugenia Markert
Ruggles
.
Founded abt 1899 Still in operation in 1949
1949-50 Max Bailey & Mrs. Bernice Zehnor
Benton Township
Named after Col. Thomas H. Benton - founded in 1837
Bard
Was 7 block East of Fair on East Main Street
Before that a portable wooden structure was being used.
Charles Ledyard was commisioned to build the newer school in 1927 to replace the old one.
In 1949, school enrollment was abt 650 students per newspaper art.
.
Boynton
Britain Avenue
Newspaper & family attended
School history sought
Fairplain
Colfax Avenue and Napier Avenue.
In existance in 1896
In the mid 1960's Fair Plain had grown into 4 small schools which consolidated into the School District of the City of Benton Harbor
School history sought
Mr. C. D. Jennings was principal for several years circa 1899
Hull
Territorial Road & Crystal Ave - East of Benton Harbor
.
School history sought
Johnson
Corner of Benton Center Rd. and Territorial Rd.
Two-room school
In existence in 1868
.
Lafayette
North Shore Drive, North of Benton Harbor
.
Principal 1949 Glenn A. Durflinger
Martindale
East of Benton Harbor on
N. Euclid Ave
One room school house. Principal John Keana - 1949
Pearl . IN existance in 1934 per Newspaper article .
Sorter
On Pipestone Road near Napier Ave
Originally built about 1848 to 1849
Then another built in it place in abt 1874 and razed 1927.
Was eventually assigned to the Benton School District
Lawrence Peachey, Supt, 1949
Stanley School
End of Kerlikowske Rd.
St. Joseph Herald 1868
Merged with other schools in the 1960's
Histories sought
Stump Off of Nickerson Avenue on Pipestone Road School formed before 1855 History of Van Buren and Berrien Counties, MI
Teachers -
Miss Jerue - 1905
Mrs. Ruth Purdy - 1950's
Berrien Township
founded in June, 1832 taken from Niles
Evans
North East corner of Marquette Woods Rd. & Washington Ave.
Consolidated with Eau Claire about 1914.
1905 Miss Naomi Klachel
1903 teachers Miss Anna Scott and Miss Bernice Jeffries
Franklin
North end of Pucker Street
.
1959 - Miss Patricia McClain
North East corner of Smith Road & M-140
Newspaper mention
.
Maple Grove
.
One room schools house replaced with two-room cement block building circa 1950.
Web & newspaper source.
Teacher in 1898 was Miss Elsie Michael.
National No. 5
9950 Pucker St.
School discontinued in 1964. Students sent to Berrien Springs school
.
.
Newspaper Est. 1868
.
Painter
.
Existed in 1869 -
One of the teachers was a Miss Preston in 1906
St. Joseph Valley
Near corner of Daniel Boone Trail & Pokagon Rd.
.
.
Bertrand Township founded 1837 - taken from Niles twp.
Bakertown
.
.
Mrs. Ted Seikman was reelected as treasurer of Bakertown school board in 1949
.
Several newspapers.
.
Bronson
.
Newspapers
.
Buchanan Township founded 1837
Clear Lake area, near Buchanan
Began around 1855
Miss Anna Thorburn taught there circa 1910
Buchanan
.
Various sources
.
Corner of Garr and Glendora Roads
A Great site - Michigan Schools
Originally known as Ingleright School. Organized July 15, 1848.
.
Coveney (Coveny)
North East corner of Coveney Rd. & E. Glendora Rd.
Web Source
Organized March 1, 1845.
.
Corner of Wagner Road & Gardner Road.
Circa 1860
.
Miller
Corner of Miller Road & North Main Street.
Originally known as Sherwood School.
.
Sherwood
Was located at the Corner of Miller Road & North Main Street.
See Miller School.
.
Wagner
Near Wagner Road & Clear Lake Road.
Web Source -
Organized March 2, 1845.
.
Chikaming Township
established 1856 taken from New Buffalo
Browntown
Browntown Road
Built circa 1867 closed mid 1950's when Chikaming school opened.
.
Greenbush It was located on Birchwood - Beach Road. In existance before 1869.
Edmund Glavin owned original property school was placed on. Was also used for church services. Was then moved to location and would take on new name of Harbert School. Greenbush building was moved across the tracks from Harbert school and was turned into a Harbert Community Church about 1928.
.
Harbert
By Railroad tracks in Harbert.
As was Harbert so was the school name. Named after a Chicago Attorney, Mr. William Harbert who owned about 200 acres in the area. When the new Harbert school was built.
George N.Otwell circa 1896
also taught school at Three Oaks
Mrs. Dunham taught there in 1906.
Lakeside
.
Friends attended school before consolidation of River Valley School system.
School consilidations of Lakeside. Harbert, Sawyer combined in abt 1957 to 1958 and Chikaming School was built.
Riverside
3 miles North of Three Oaks.
Newspaper
.
Sawyer
Sawyer next to
Lutheran school
Closed when Chikaming School opened. mid 1950's.
.
Coloma City in Watervliet twp
Coloma
.
St. Joseph Herald newspaper speaks of it in 1868
.
Gray Coloma/Riverside Road Built before 1880 .
Ingraham As of 2003, still standing on Hagar Shore Road and Coloma Road. Coloma #4. Built before 1879. .
Eau Claire Village
lies partially within Pipestone Township and Berrien Charter Township.
Collins
.
.
.
North Maple Grove
.
.
.
Galien Township
founded in 1844
2509 Buffalo Rd.
School existed in 1885 - Ceased operating - 1936.
.
Hagar Township founded in 1846
Curtis
Kerlikowski Road
Original school burned - replaced - Circa 1860's
 
.
. Teacher: Mary Daly Theisen; Tri City Record, October 31, 2001
Bundy aka Bunday
Near intersections of Bundy and Riverside roads
Oldest school in Hagar James Bunday built the building abt 1832 and was later used as a school house - log cabin originally in 1843 - burned in 1849 and replaced with a framed structure. - 3rd structure replaced the others in about 1884
First teacher was Matilda Irwin who taught there circa 1844
Eaman
.
Built in 1854, log
web source.
Histories sought
Gray Riverside Road. Circa 1868 - before 1880 - Eli Rice agreed to a 75 year land option in Hagar and Watervliet twp in 1880. .
Pier
Pier Rd.
Log school; In existance in 1908.
1908 Miss Una Hower teacher.
Wisner . Built before 1859. .
Lake Township
founded in 1846 - taken from Oronoko
Baroda . . .
California
. . .
Hathaway
.
.
.
Lincoln Township
established 1867 taken from Royalton
Nash . School started in 1866 - Mentioned in St. Joseph Herald, October 17, 1868 History of Van Buren and Berrien Counties, MI
South Lincoln
Lincoln Avenue South of John Beers Road.
. .
Spears Southeastern part of county. Initiated by the Methodist Episcopal in 1847 later became known as Spears School. History of Van Buren and Berrien Counties, MI.
Stevensville
.
Consolidated with Lakeshore; Herald-Palladium, January 23, 1994; See Riverside Schools
.
Stewart (Old Stewart School)
Lake Shore Drive and Glenlord Rd.
Est. abt 1881 - closed about 1957 when New Stewart school was built.
.
New Buffalo Township 1836 - taken from Niles
first schoolhouse built in 1836
First school in New Buffalo . Established in 1836 .
New Buffalo
.
.
Niles Township
Original & Oldest township founded in 1829
Barnhardt???
.
.
Research needed.
Bell
.
.
.
Bertrand
.
.
.
.
.
.
Carey Mission One mile West of Niles. 1823 Founded by: Rev. Isaac McCoy- Baptist clergyman
DeMott
South East corner of Rangeline Road & Matthew Road.
.
.
Pucker Street - Niles
.
Got its name from being situated closely to the Niles Power plant. Did not get electricity until 1931.
Mabel Andrews taught here and at various other schools in the region.
Fairland
Stafford Rd.
Niles/Berrien Springs area
.
Ferry Street
It is located on the corner of 7th and Ferry Street in Niles, Michigan.
A red brick Schoolhouse built in 1867 for Colored children. It was closed after 3 years and reopened in 1873 as an integrated school.

Miss Carrie Bond taught there in 1897.

That is where it was at in 1912-1913
Two teachers at that time were Carrie E. Toan and Anna B. Duffy. Also Claudine A. Rahn and Katherine McLellan.
Hatfield
North West corner of Hatfield Road & M-140
Niles/Berrien Springs area
.
Lacey
Phoenix Street, Niles
.
.
Range Line
Rangeline Road & Matthew Road.
Originally named DeMott School
.
St. Joseph Valley
Corner of US 31 N. & Matthew Rd.
  Early twentieth century
Mrs. Mary Pauline (Graham) Winn teacher
Thomspon . . .
Union
.
Building completed in 1856
First principal was E. W. Spaulding.
Oronoko Township founded 1837
Bedinger
South West of Berrien Springs.
.
.
Burke
Corner of Snow and Garr Roads.
.
.
Grange
Between Snow Road & Grange Road.
.
.
Corner of Hinchman Road & Scottsdale Road.
.
.
Paw-Paw Township founded 1834
Redistributed into Watervliet and Hagar
. . . .
Pipestone Township established 1842 taken from Bainbridge & Royalton
Burke
Union Road
. .
Columbia
Columbia Road, off M-140 Highway
. .
Eau Claire
Five Corners
.
First . . .
Original School . . George Lundy was the first teacher in this township.
Pipestone
On the corner of Preston and Old Pipestone Rd.
. .
Red School House . 1855 History of Van Buren and Berrien Counties, MI
Shanghai
Corner of Shanghai Road and Pipestone Road.
Original school - Constructed before circa 1841 -
School replace shanty in 1847
Closed in the 1960's.
Started in a log shanty
History of Van Buren and Berrien Counties, MI
Royalton Township
founded in 1835
Bacon
Miners & Bacon School Roads.
Bacon school built in 1893 and originally located on the Bacon farm.
closed in November, 1958
One of the teachers was S. B. Miners who taught circa 1880 thru 1887.
Buckhorn
Between Rockey Weed & Linco Roads.
See Tryon School; built 1869, converted into a church.
.
Dickinson
Corner of Marquette Woods Road & U.S. 31
See Tryon School.
..
Hollywood
N. Hollywood Road.
Source: March 1946 Newspaper.
.
Royal School . Built circa 1918 closed in November 1958. .
Tryon
Corner of John Beers & Scottdale Roads.
Built in 1840; used as the Township Hall.
.
Sodus is considered to be a part of the Benton Harbor/St. Joseph urban
Mt. Pleasant Hillendale Road area. . .
Rector . In existance in 1860. .
River . . .
Stumps
.
Family knowlege
.
Tabor
.
In existance in 1858
.
Sodus Township area established 1860 taken from taken from Pipestone
Arden
.
AKA Royalton Township.
.
Chadwick Elementary
4100 Watson Road
.
Cowles
Yore Avenue.
.
Mt. Pleasant . . History of Van Buren and Berrien Counties, MI.
River
4439 River Road.
. .
Tabor .
.
History of Van Buren and Berrien Counties, MI
St. Joseph Village grew into a City
Brown
Was located off of Lake Shore Drive South at St. Joseph.
Consolidated with St. Joseph School District.
.
Gard
Hilltop Rd. & Cleveland Ave.
. additional information needed
Log
1 mile west of Dickerville on Riverside Rd.
Note, in the 1830's there was more than one log building erected that school was taught in until other buildings were constructed to replace them.
.
North Lincoln
School under St. Joseph twp in 1934.
Closed in November 1958
.
.
North Shore
.
Newspaper 1946 also see above.
.
Trinity Lutheran
.
Newspaper 1946.
.
Washington
.
.
.
St. Joseph Township
founded in 1832
Old White School House
Corner of Ship & Main Streets.
Constructed around 1834 to 1837.
.
Witheral (Witherell)
Corner of Hollywood and Niles Road.
Served as a church for the Methodist Congregation.
School commenced circa 1871 with Nicholas Miller building it and was named after the Witheral family, but not built on their land. School moved in 1904 to its persent location of 1958.
closed in November, 1958.
Teacher - 1896 Joe Collier.
Stevensville incorporated in 1893 lies within Lincoln Township
Hill Top Exact location sought. In existance in 1905. 1905 teacher Miss Grace Shearer
1908 teacher Miss Margaret Jeffries.
Stewart
.
Teachers in the 1940's were: Miss Elsie Prillwitz, Miss Alma Tinkham, Mrs. Lavinia Kamrad?
.
Three Oaks Township - established 1856

First schoolhouse built in 1836
Avery
.
School discontiued in 1938.
.
Information sought.
Corner of US 12 & Basswood Road, North side, 8075 U.S. 12 West, Three Oaks
3 miles South West of Three Oaks.
Established abt. 1865 - School discontiued in 1938.
.
Cherry aka Spring Creek School
.
Built of cherry wood in 1844. Located across the road from Spring Lake School. also see Spring Creek below
.
.
Three Oaks
Elm and Ash Street.
Circa 1852 to 1854 Newer school built and then added to in 1877 and 1896
High School building built in 1906 -
Its high school burned January 3, 1919
Newer school built in 1921 and additions made in subsequent years.
Might have been in the home of W. H. Hinkley
First teacher was Miss Goodrich.
Lottie Heard of Niles 1854-1855.
Spring Creek (named after the community that was the predessor of Three Oaks)
Intersection of Donner Road & Three Oaks Road. Two miles South of Three Oaks.
.
In existance on or before 1842 closed in 1938 and students sent to Three Oaks school. Mrs. Elizabeth Chamberland first teacher on record
Mrs. Cornelia Crosby taught at the school in 1866.
Weesaw Township
founded in 1837
Elm Valley
Elm Valley Road, 5 miles North East of Three Oaks.
Founded in 1880. Student were sent to consolidated schools of Galien and New Troy at the time of its closing. School was in use until about 1944 and building sold in September of 1949. This was the 3rd building since 1880's that was erected for the school. The Stoner family sold original 1 acre of land school sat on.
1880's teacher - Herman Austin
1929 - teacher Miss Agnes Spaulding.
Hills Corner
Corner of Glendora Road & Gardner Road.
No longer standing
Ref: Michigan Schools
Histories sought.
New Troy
.
Built about 1871
.
Watervliet
founded in 1846
Clymer
North West of Coloma and Hartford.
Ref: Newspaper 15 May 1886 - also 1st school built in 1880 replaced by red brick school 1917 - original land donated by Arthur Clymer.

First teacher was Albert Jackson.

Select
Opened about 1849 to 1851. Charles Bostwick started the school and then sold it. Later it was turned into a tavern by Moses Sargent. Tavern named "The Osgood House."
.
Shingle Diggings aka Shingle Diggin's Watervliet area source - A Twentieth Century History of Berrien County - page 229. Opened 1837 materials ran out and closed in 1838. Mary Youngs.

 

Famous Berrien County Teachers
Area taught in
Additional Comments
.
Teacher's/Educators names
Niles area. Niles area. Circa 1830. Titus B. Willard
Niles area schools. . . Caroline Bond daughter of Henry Bond.
Niles area schools. . . Henry Mansfield
Niles area schools . . Mrs. Asa Hamilton - daughter of Joseph and sister of Henry Mansfield.
Niles area schools. . . Laura Chipman daughter of Joseph N. Chipman.
Buchanan area. Old log house - school taught in. . Angeline Bird 1841 to 1842.
Bainbridge Twp. . . Miss Ella Martin circa 1880.
Hagar twp. . . Mrs. Charlotte (Barrett) Alden.
Berrien County. Various schools. . William E. Hollinrake.
Watervliet. High school teacher. . Jessie V. Randall
Berrien County. Various. . Lennie B. Hill died at only twenty five years of age.
Berrien County. Various . George D. Hill.
St. Joseph area. Grade school teacher. . Minda Belle McKindley.
Niles Public schools. . . Winifred Atkinson.
Various Berrien Cty Schools. . . C. M. King.
Buchanan High School. 7th grade teacher. . Grace Mutchler circa 1905.
Three Oaks teacher. . . Ethel Maude Watson circa 1905.
Lincoln School /St. Joe twp. . . Winifred Wright - Principal circa 1905.
Various. . . Lewis Sutherland.

References:
Various Newspapers
A Twentieth Century History of Berrien County by: Judge Orville W. Coolridge - published in 1907
Histories of Berrien and Van Buren County, Published 1880
The Region of Three Oaks published 1939 - The Edward K. Warren Foundation



 

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