updated August 12, 2008
New Swede Ridge School Building in 1931
A new $4,000 brick school house on Swede Ridge near McGregor, is replacing the Pioneer little white schoolhouse which was from 1859. ...
The Christmas candles were lit in the Swede Ridge school as far back as 1859. There was a pulpit in it at first, so the Scandinavian immigrants who had settled Swede Ridge and built it could have a house of worship as well as a place where their children could learn English and the three Rs.
A real old-country-customs Christmas was celebrated in the Swede Ridge school in 1859 and for several years afterwards. It began with services and the singing of carols at 3 oclock Christmas morning, and was followed by religious and festival uses for 17 days after Christmas. On the seventeenth day the people gathered for the last rite the taking down of the Christmas tree.
"The school was so crowded in the early days of big families", said Mrs. J. Trygg, who has the facts from old residents on the Ridge, that sometimes there would be two and three scholars to a seat. "Great occasions were those afternoons when suddenly sleighbells and voices would be heard outside and the door would burst open to admit the scholars and teacher from another school, shouting Surprise! and a challenge to a spelling down match."
"Then there was the singing school which was held in the school every winter for years and the literary and debating society. said Mrs. Trygg. What good times everybody had! Folks could sing in those days. And the literary society at one time had 80 members.
~Excerpt from an article in the North Iowa Times, January 8, 1931
~Contributed by Michelle Pettit, Director, McGregor Public Library. Michelle can be emailed from the McGregor Public Library website.
"My husband's grandmother, Nettie Schultz, passed away in 2006. This class photo is the front of a postcard found among Nettie's personal things. The teachers name is Amelia A. Trygg. Nettie would have been about 10 in this photo. We believe she is in the second row standing behind the girl in the white dress OR the little girl with the face scratched out. (I wish she was here to tell us that story!) We don't know much about Nettie's childhood other than she was the youngest of 13 children and was raised on a farm near Pikes Peak in McGregor." ~Jennifer Pazour
Back of the photo-postcard
"Nettie Schultz from your teacher Amelia A. Grigg 1919"
School Souvenir Booklet, School District No. 5 Mendon Twp., Clayton County, Iowa
Amelia A. Trygg, Teacher
Adam Erbe, President
Eva R. Jordan, Secretary
Joe Ramage, Treasurer
~Scans of original postcard and
souvenir booklet by Jenifer Pazour
~Contributed by Jennifer Pazour. Jennifer's email contact can be found for 'Schultz' in the Surname Registry.
~Jennifer's notes: "I'd like more information to go along with the pictures. The notes under each item are all I know. My husband's grandmother, Nettie Schultz, passed away in 2006 and we are slowly going through things and found these items." Anyone recognizing these school children, and can put a name with a face, or give additional information .... please email the Clayton co. Coordinator or Jennifer so it can be added to this page. "I have been told the school building in the photo is still standing but is now a house. I believe I know where it is but haven't had a chance to take any pictures. And it is near the original site of the school, which is up near Pikes Peak as well. But I havent really found any information to back that."
"The School Souvenir picture is a booklet that was found near the postcard photo. It is a booklet with well wishes from Nettie's teacher. The list of students is inside the booklet. Margaret, Alta and Emma Schultz were Nettie's sisters but I'm not sure where they are in the photo. Very neat piece of history I think!"
Return School Index