Updated: Aug 25, 2022
The Ervin Schoolhouse was originally built in the 1900's, and was part of both Nebraska City and Conestoga's school district. For nearly 100 years, it served many teachers and children. In 1992, it was decommissioned.
It’s been extremely important to new owners, Zach and Kim Sherwin, to preserve the school’s history. There’s pictures in the schoolhouse from it’s school days many decades prior, a scrapbook full of schoolhouse memories, a plaque outside explaining the schools history and it is now a Registered Cass County Historical Site. In 2022, a former Ervin Schoolhouse Teacher has teamed up with the WW&G team to host a reunion at the Schoolhouse for previous kids and teachers to attend. We’re excited to reunite many classmates and teachers from over the years!
What is Different/Same from Then & Now
We interviewed former Ervin Schoolhouse teacher, Joyce Swanson, on what things were like during her time teaching at the Ervin Schoolhouse.
Joyce said they attended school from 8a-4p everyday, very similar to now. They started school in August and they were done in early May.
There wasn't any air conditioning, but they had fans if they needed them. She said it really never got very hot as they weren't in school during the dead heat of summer. In the winter months, lighting the stove was always a challenge, they seemed to have trouble getting it to light.
In schools present day, it is frowned upon to call your teachers by their first names. During the Ervin Schoolhouse days, teachers were regularly called by their first names. Joyce said they had to make their own lesson plans, but there were still state guidelines they had to follow like they do still today.
Joyce said they had a lot of fun with their school activities they would do every year. They had your normal music, speech classes, etc for extracurricular activities.
In the fall there was always a Halloween party. The kids got to dress up in their costumes for their Halloween party every year. Then during Thanksgiving, they would have a big meal together (teachers, parents and kids). Joyce's husband would roast the turkey and the parents and kids would each bring a side to share. The kids would make party favors and place mats at school the week before.
During the winter they would have a Christmas program that all the parents would come and watch. Santa would even come visit if they were lucky. When there was snow on the ground, the kids would go 'sleigh riding' on the hill from the schoolhouse to the gravel road. Each teachers would stand at each side of the hill to make sure there were no cars coming and the kids would take turns sledding down the hill. Joyce said this was her favorite memory there.
In the spring time, they would host their spring program outside. After the kids performed, they'd all have a picnic and roast hot dogs together.
At the end of the school year, they participated in the King Korn Carnival in Plattsmouth. All the kids would pitch in to help decorate their float in the yard next to the school. Everyone had a lot of fun. Joyce said it was also a very big task as they had to drive the float all the way to Plattsmouth from Union. They even won first place a couple times.
The History in the Ervin Schoolhouse is pretty special. We're thrilled we get to share it with so many people!