navigation bar Houghton Mifflin Social Studies School and Family
Primary Sources logo Primary Sources

Sod Schoolhouse, 1907—Photograph

Photographs of people and events from the past can teach us about the way people lived long ago. Look at this photograph from 1907. It shows students in front of the last sod schoolhouse in Decatur County, Kansas.

Primary Source

There is a 1907 photograph of a school made out of sod in Decatur County, Kansas.

Source: Library of Congress.


What does your school look like? Long ago, schools looked very different from the way they do today. They used to be much smaller. Schools had one room where children of all ages learned together. On the Plains, there were not enough trees to make schools out of wood. There, many schools were made out of heavy chunks of dirt and grass, called sod. Making buildings out of sod was hard work. Sod schools had to be built carefully so that they did not fall down or let in rain.