Maple Grove School - 1905
The first step toward establishing a public school in the town of Dittmer began in the late 1860s, but it was 1870 before classes actually began. According to legend, John Fox cut logs and Kristian Lucken dragged them to the site. And with the help of local citizens, they erected the first public school building in the area. Most of the work was done by dr. Amandus Crull, Herman O. Bruns, J.Gerhard Bruns, Gottlieb Brackmann, Christ Grupe, Frederick Stulken, John Ficken, Louis Ficken, John Fox, Christian Lucken, William Young, Christ Grunehold, Frederick Springmeyer, William Meyer, John H. Kramme, Henry Eggers, and Herman Gherken. Since the schoolhouse sat in the middle of a field of Maple trees, the school was named "Maple Grove".
The first teacher at the schoolhouse was a man named William Bryan. A school voucher receipt dated in 1870 showed us that he was paid $43.00 per month, but the first school term lasted only 3 or 4 months. George Steele, an Englishman, taught during the second school term in 1871-72, which lasted a little longer than the first. A newly arrived German immigrant, named Gottlieb Brackmann, invited the teacher to stay at his home so that he and his family could learn to speak the English language. Steele's salary was $47.00 per month. Receipts also show that a check was issued to Herman O. Bruns for a stove for the school in the amount of $11.00 on January 19, 1872. In the same month $40.00 was paid to William Brackman for work on the schoolhouse, and J. Riemann was paid $28.00 for making twelve writing desks. In April 1872 a blackboard was purchased, and in June 1872 a check was issued for painting the interior of the school.
The log schoolhouse was destroyed by fire, and replaced by a frame building about 1900, and about 1915 a bell tower was added to the schoolhouse roof. According to local lore, the bell tolled for 30 minutes when World War I ended on November 11, 1918. Herman Roglin was the teacher.
With the help of the W.P.A., a move began to build a new school building. The new and enlarged building had two classrooms, a library and cloak room on the main floor, and an auditorium, kitchen, rest rooms and supply room in the walkout basement. It was completed in the summer of 1941, and in August 1941 a very successful picnic was held to raise funds to equip the new building, which opened in September 1941. The old school house was sold at auction for the sum of $650.00 with one acre of land. Although the 1941 building is still in use, it has undergone many changes since it became part of the Northwest R-1 District in 1949.
One of the sources used to gather the above information was a book called "Country Schools of Jefferson County, Mo 1806 - 1952" by Della Lang