1876 Coralville Schoolhouse
310 5th St., Coralville, IA 52241
Open hours every Saturday from 3:00pm – 5:00pm.
Also available by appointment. Please call (319) 351-5738 or contact us at least two business days in advance to schedule a tour.
Click to download a coloring page of the 1876 Coralville Schoolhouse!
There is very little information available concerning schools in Coralville before the 1876 school. Mention is made in records at the State Historical Library of Iowa of a frame building in 1875. Little detail was provided except for the teacher’s salary of $35 a month.
In 1876, the Ezekiel Clark family donated 1/3 of an acre for the school. The brick building boasted native limestone foundations and cast iron star anchors.
Originally, classes were held on the first floor, with the second floor being used as the gymnasium and auditorium. As the population increased, both floors were pressed into service as classrooms. Through the 1930s enrollment averaged about forty pupils. A bond issue was passed to build a new school in the spring of 1948 with the first classes held in 1949. The 1876 school was closed but by 1950 a burgeoning school population necessitated its reopening for seventh and eighth grades. In 1951, yet another school was built and the 1876 school became a warehouse.
In 1959, the need for recreational facilities in Coralville led to the Recreation Commission developing the first floor of the 1876 school as a teen center. It continued to be used for this purpose until 1966 when a new city recreation center was built and the old school returned to its role as a warehouse.
In 1974 the title to the property was acquired by the City of Coralville and a 50-year lease was signed by the city and the Johnson County Historical Society for the restoration and use of the building as a local historical museum. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in January of 1976.
Are you a teacher interested in an educational field trip for your class? Award-winning Be a Guest of the Past is a fun, engaging way to let modern students experience first-hand the lives of school children in the 1870s.