Two Creeks 2 – Twin Elder School
Two Creeks school district No. 2 was designated the Twin Elder school in 1918 because of the twin elders growing in front of it. To older residents of Two Creeks it was known as the South school because it was the school in the southern half of the township.
District 2 was first set up as a part of Two Rivers school district No. 6 in the 1850’s when Two Creeks was still a part of Two Rivers township. The district then consisted of sections 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 34, 35, and 36 in the present township of Two Creeks plus sections 4. 5. 8. and 9 in Two Rivers township. After Two Creeks became a township by itself in 1859, it became in turn Rowley Dist. 2 and then Two Creeks No. 2. At present the school district is made up of the south one-half of Two Creeks township.
An interest in establishing a school was evident in the early 1850’s. On May 23, 1856, the first school known as Two Rivers No. 6 was opened in a private house owned by Charles Brandies. It was a frame structure located on the shores of Lake Michigan on what was later the P. J. Schroeder farm. The exact site has now been washed away by the lake. The first log school building was constructed about 1860 and was situated on the northeast portion of a farm once owned by John Koeck, and purchased from the U. S. government in 1858 by Patrick Howard.
The log school was constructed by Burton Rowley at an approximate cost of $150. Two others influential in setting up the first school were a Mr. McMillan and Patrick Flynn. Amanda Newell was the first teacher, teaching for three month terms, and boarding ’round the district. For her services she was paid $10 a month! The names of some of Miss Newell’s pupils were Harriet, Tresie, and Sarah Flynn, Dunston Rowley, Duncan, Mary, and Phoebe Buchanan, Catherin Malcalm, Peter McMillan, and Peter, Henry, William, and Marie Thurjer. Today those family names are no longer common to the district.
The school term was gradually lengthened as the years passed, but two terms yearly were prevalent until 1873. The voters decided upon the term length and opening date of each term. Recorded school minutes show that the winter session began in December, and the summer session in May. Female teachers in summer and male teachers in winter was the rule. Some of the texts used about the 1870’s were Sanders Union Readers, Sanders Primer and Spellers, Robinson’s Rudiments of Written Arithmetic, Robinson’s Intellectual Arithmetic, and Spencerian Copy Books. In 1873, the voters decided on a seven month session, employing one teacher, but allowing for a three weeks’ recess in the middle of the term. In 1875, the two term plan was again reverted to, but in 1877 the single term became permanent.
After 17 years of service, the log schoolhouse was turned over to E. A. Benedict who had to move it off the site. What he did with it is not recorded. At the regular school meeting on August 25, 1873, some sentiment was expressed in favor of a new school, but it was not until in 1874 that the sum of $200 was appropriated for that purpose. The site on which it was to be built was the same as that of the old log school. No record of the size of this building was given although it must have been quite large for by 1890 there were over 50 pupils enrolled for each of the previous ten years. County records indicate that it cost the sum of $400.
In 1891, the present site was chosen because it was closer to the center of the district. It was decided at first to move the old building to the new location. Accordingly an advertisement was inserted in the “Chronicle” for bids to move the school-house. Evidently the bids were too high for the decision was reached to build a new school. The old school was then sold to John Koch on the farm now owned by Mr. Haley and made into a granary.
The third school was built in 1892 for $730 and was of frame, one room type. This structure was adequate until 1905, when a new state law requiring two rooms for enrollments above 65 went into effect The enrollment for this district in 1905 was 81. This building then was purchased by the father of Alois Kraus who tore it down and used the lumber to build the present Kraus house.
Two Creeks No. 2 in 1906 constructed a two room brick building 38 x 52 feet. The classrooms were 20 x 25 feet and 23 x 29 feet respectively. The building had a full basement which housed the furnace, fuel room, and a large playroom. The first floor had a large cloakroom in addition to the regular classrooms. The cost of that school was about $3,500. By 1913, the enrollment was 90, so a third teacher was added to the faculty. To provide a recitation room for the third teacher, the large cloakroom was remodeled and made into a classroom, but all of the pupils were seated in the large classrooms. The ninth grade was added when the third teacher was hired. It was not until about 1930 that the district voted to build an addition to the southwest corner of. the school for a third classroom. The temporary classroom again became a cloakroom. In 1920 the district voted to offer the tenth grade. This was done by having a qualified high school teacher teach the ninth and the tenth grades on alternate years. That plan stayed in effect until the spring of 1948. The voters at a special meeting on Monday, February 2, 1948, by a vote of 34 to 5 voted to discontinue high school work.
Up to 1948 the Twin Elder district maintained a modern three room state graded school with grades 1-3 taught by a primary teacher, grades 4-6 taught by an intermediate teacher, and grades 7-10 taught by a junior high school teacher. The building contains all of the modern conveniences such as indoor lavatories, furnace and stoker, electric service ,steel files, open library shelving, running water, and single, adjustable desks and seats. The playground, enlarged in the summer of 1946, is adequate enough to make ideal football and baseball fields.
Two Creeks No. 2 has always had aggressive and progressive board members. Among them we find the names of Geo. Taylor, Sr., Peter McMillan, Geo. Taylor, Jr., W. A. Koch, F. A. Pfunder, and Charles Wascher serving from 1870 to 1900. After 1900, we find such prominent men on the Board as Gust Eggert, August Last, Werner Schmoock, and Frank LeClair. Gust Eggert later became County Register of Deeds and County Abstractor, August Last and Werner Schmoock became town chairman, and Frank LeClair became assemblyman in 1946. Former residents who became important in the development of Two Rivers were the Schroeder brothers who organized the Schroeder Bros. department store and bank.
The list of teachers is incomplete but those on record in the county office are Richard Cody, Kate O’Donnell, John Mulholland, Floyd Benedict, James Stitt, E. A. Benedict, James O’Hara, H. F. Arnemann, H. J. Westgate, John J. Gruber, and Joseph Konop. The first principal of the two room school was Alice Finch with Ora McMillan the primary teacher in 1906. Most of the teachers before 1906 were men and their average stay was for one term. The district records show that out of a total of 38 teachers before 1900, only E. A. Benedict remained more than one year. Teachers after 1906 who became prominent were Roy Ihlenfeldt, state supervisor of schools; Lillian Chloupek, county superintendent of schools; Amanda Heyroth, county supervising teacher; and Geo. Barthel, county superintendent of Kewaunee county.
The district residents have always used their school for a gathering place. Spelling bees, box socials, card parties, seasonal programs, and graduating exercises have all taken place in the building. During the principalship of Roy Ihlenfeldt, debating and parliamentary law societies were in vogue. Mr. Ihlenfeldt well remembers the “hot” debates between Gust Eggert and August Last on such issues as Concrete vs. Macadam Roads, Advantages of a Two Room vs. a Three Room School, and Woman Suffrage. In more recent years the school has become the meeting place for Boy Scouts, farm organizations, and 4-H clubs.
Written by Principal Clarence Angel
Rappel, Joseph J. / A centennial history of the Manitowoc County school districts and its public school system, 1848-1948