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Second-graders in Faith Hesselink's class at Paperjack Elementary spent much of Monday morning at the Camp Nine School on the grounds of the New Richmond Heritage Center.

Students step back in time

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Students in Faith Hesselink's class stepped back in time as they entered the Camp Nine School at the New Richmond Heritage Center on June 6.

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The second-graders spent much of Monday morning learning about how different school was in the early 1900s.

The Camp Nine School, built in 1902 near Glenwood City, is a single classroom school that housed students in grades one through eight, said Rachel Starbuck, of the New Richmond Heritage Center.

The Camp Nine rural school got its name because its original purpose was to provide a school room for the school-aged children of Lumber Camp Nine. It was used by the Glenwood City School District until 1957. It was purchased and moved to its home at the Heritage Center in 1995.

As the bell sounded to signal the start of the school day, several of the New Richmond second-graders were shocked to hear about school in the early 1900s. The idea that rulers were used as a disciplinary tool caused eyes to widen.

"You have to understand that that kind of thing was acceptable back then," Starbuck said.

Students sat in the desks according to gender and height and were required to stand when asking a question. Trouble-makers -- or those chosen to act as troublemakers -- were forced to stand with their noses touching the chalkboard.

Students learned about the typical school day and how their grandparents or great-grandparents very likely were required to use an outhouse -- and newspaper as toilet paper -- and drink from a community water pail.

Camp Nine gives students the opportunity to learn first-hand about school history -- something they wouldn't necessarily grasp from reading in a book.

The New Richmond Heritage Center houses several historic buildings. The museum is open year-round, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

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Jackie Grumish
Jackie Grumish has been a reporter with the New Richmond News since 2008. She holds degrees in journalism and fine art from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill. Before coming to New Richmond, Jackie worked as the city government reporter at a daily newspaper in Aberdeen, S.D. 
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