Copenhagen Schoolhouse - 1890s

Children in rural Naperville learned their lessons in one-room schoolhouses.

In the 1840s, farmers in a community called Copenhagen (Now part of south Naperville) built a clapboard schoolhouse. From first grade on, children of local families attended this school. They shared one classroom, one teacher, and two outhouses. Like other rural schools in Naperville, the academic calendar revolved around planting and harvesting times, when children were needed at home to help with farm work.

Copenhagen School’s enrollment varied from four to twenty-two pupils. Boys and girls sat on opposite sides of the single classroom. Their coursework stressed memorization of facts and focused on the basics: reading, writing, and arithmetic (known as the “Three Rs”). Students were also given instruction in art, spelling, grammar, geography, history, civil government, science, penmanship, music, hygiene, embroidery, knitting and sewing. The students’ conduct was valued as much as their academic achievement, and classroom rules emphasized respect and obedience.

This reconstruction of the schoolhouse built in the 1840s includes some materials salvaged from the original building located in Copenhagen (now Route 59 and 83rd Street).