Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, February 17, 2019, pg. 4
During the 19th and much of the 20th centuries, small rural country schools once dotted the landscape across the state. The type of education the country schools provided was unique, and now has become a part of history. Those who attended country schools will always remember them, and the former schoolhouses which remain today serve as reminders of these foundations of education in our American History. Most country schools covered grades Kindergarten through the 8th grade. When a pupil finished their course-work, they would take a knowledge test in order to enter the 9th grade at a nearby city high school.
The country schoolhouses were more than just places to send children to school. They were community centers which provided a sense of belonging. There were community meetings, church services, potluck dinners, singing classes, reunions, 4-H Club meetings, women's club meetings and other events held at the school houses.
Modernization problems began to affect the operations of the country schools following World War II. The State of Michigan went ahead with plans to close these schools and have them annex into adjacent city school districts. Most country schools were closed in the 1950s and early 1960s. Where children had previously walked a mile to school with their brothers and sisters, neighbors and friends, they were now picked up by a bus and shipped off miles away to attend classes in new surroundings.
The rural country schools were known by two different names: Their legal name which began with the name of the township it was located in followed by a number, and then by their "common name." There were numerous country schools surrounding the Albion area. This week we are featuring the Sheridan District No. 4, commonly referred to as the Wines School. Schools received their common names usually after the farm owner who owned the land upon which the school was built, or the person who donated the wood or funds or labor to build the schoolhouse, or by some nearby physical characteristic.
The Wines School was located at 16475 28 Mile Road (then known as the Duck Lake Road), halfway between H and J Drives North, in Section 10 of Sheridan Township on the west side of the road. It was named after New York-native Jeremiah Wines (1801-1879), who farmed 170 acres of land in Sections 10 and 11 of Sheridan Township near the schoolhouse. The school district was organized around 1868 and a brick structure was erected, according to a 99-year site lease the district signed with the farmer land-owner dated November 24, 1868.
The Wines district was plagued with problems of modernization, an approved a $6,500 bond issue in 1953 for improvements to the school, including indoor bathrooms. A decade later however, the Wines district voters approved annexation into the Albion Public Schools on March 8, 1965 by a wide margin: 55 yes, to 1 no. Wines School was thereby closed in June, 1965. The former schoolhouse was purchased by the Apostolic Church in 1969, and today is used as a fellowship hall in front of the church sanctuary building.
From our Historical Notebook this week we present an October, 1939 photograph of Wines School, courtesy of Jerry Dean. Notice the school bell housing, and beautiful Victorian porch which once adorned this schoolhouse. How many of our readers attended Wines School as a child?
Wines School, October 1939
All text copyright, 2021 © all rights reserved Frank Passic