Story of Heritage School

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History

Built in 1876, the Third Ward School - now called Heritage School - combines architectural eloquence and a history that recalls the excellence of Sheboygan's schools and educational facilities since the earliest times. Located at South 8th Street and Kentucky Avenue, the modest Victorian Italianate structure was designed by Arvin L. Weeks, a prominent 19th Century Sheboygan architect.

The two room building was constructed of cream brick with handsome arched windows, ornate brackets, and a belfry. It was originally planned for primary and intermediate grades. As such, it served for two generations and then because the city's first kindergarten.

By 1918, the young children of the ward had been enrolled in a larger school building and the steadfast schoolhouse opened its door as a Fresh Air School, another first. This new concept provided education and nourishing meals for tubercular children in Sheboygan and outlying areas.

A final tenant, the Sheboygan Health Department, vacated the building in 1975. That year, Sheboygan County Landmarks Ltd. cited the Third Ward School for its architectural distinction and local historical importance urging that a contemporary adaptive use be found for the building.

In 1981, the Third Ward School was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1983, a grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation provided the start-up funds to what became a ten-year community project to restore the building as a "living history school museum."

The Sheboygan County community successfully raised over $350,000 for the preservation/restoration project. In May 1993, the Third Ward School was rededicated HERITAGE SCHOOL. Since the 1993-1994 school year, 4th grade students have experienced a first hand, curriculum based living-history program.


Chronology

1876
Third Ward School constructed; Arvin L. Weeks architect. Grades 1-4 served.

1877
January, first classes held. Aggie Zuveld, teacher. Paid $30/month.

1883
176 students attend half-day school classes due to crowned conditions.

1888
Third Ward School now renamed Fourth Ward School. 210 students attend classes half day.

1890
New Fourth Ward School constructed, occupied by all but kindergarten classes which remained at the two-room school house.

1918
Become Open Air School, later renamed Fresh Air School, serving tubercular students.

1932
First Air School closed. Sheboygan Dept. of Health now occupies building until 1975.

1975
Building landmarked by Sheboygan County Landmarks, Ltd. Proposals to save building as a school museum initiated.

1978
January 24, program proposal made for restoration of the Third Ward School, and its operation as a living museum.

1980
Trade of Franklin School property for City Health Dept. property transacted.

1981
Third Ward School placed on National Register of Historic Places. Friends of Heritage School Committee formed.

1983
Grand from National Trust for Historic Preservation begins restoration project.

1992-1993
November 1992 - March 1993 held Pilot/model classroom sessions.

May 23, 1993
Dedication of the Sheboygan Area School District Heritage School.

1993-1994
First full school year Grade 4 classroom sessions.

May 13, 2013
Special event celebrating milestone 20th year, 2012-2013, of the Grade 4 Social Studies first hand, curriculum based living-history experience.


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