FORT PIERRE, S.D. – (DRG News) An open house was held earlier this week at the Sansarc Schoolhouse-a former country school now located near the log cabin Visitor Center in Fort Pierre. It’s believed the school building, which served students in northwest Stanley County, was first put to use in the early 1900′s. The last time children attended classes there was in May in 1969. One former student, Deb Stoeser Schiefelbein, says her family has close ties to the building as a number of them were taught there. Her father Gene Stoeser bought the school and a teacher cottage after the school closed. She says the school building was moved into Fort Pierre in the mid-1970′s.
In 1989, a grant was written to start restoring the school house and Schiefelbein says the project was completed in April of this year. Schiefelbein says a call from an author writing a book on country schools was the inspiration to finish up the restoration work.
Some items that were originally in the school, from books to supplies, were returned by Stoeser family members who acquired the pieces when the school closed. Schiefelbein says research shows that there were at least 20 country schools in Stanley County alone-and says it’s important to make sure that the old schools are preserved for future generations.
Former students and teachers were among those who showed up to take a look inside the restored school during Monday’s open house.
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