Education in Porter
Porter School No. 83 organized in 1898
Taken From: Porter Progress; Porter, Minnesota; August, 1981; Volume 81, No. 81
The first school in the area of Porter was in Wergeland township, District 34 northwest of the settlement; and until 1898 the Porter children attended school here. District 83, the first Porter School, was organized February 15, 1898, and the schoolhouse was completed in June of that year. It was a two-room structure costing $2,500.
In 1908, the Porter school became a three-room school when the lower room was divided to make two rooms. Mark Anthony Paulson became its first principal at the age of seventeen.
Districts 6 and 34 of Lincoln County consolidated with Port in 1910. In 1921 District 34 of Yellow Medicine County moved it’s schoolhouse to Porter and attached it to the existing structure in order to secure more space for the additional students and the expanded curriculum which included two years of high school. However, within a few years District 34 left the Porter District and the District 34 building was sold. The high school curriculum was also discontinued.
District 34 of Lincoln County transported pupils to Porter beginning in 1939. District 6 of Lincoln County and District 47 of Yellow Medicine County followed the same pattern. During the early 1950’s a rural schoolhouse from near Clarkfield was purchased for $2,000 and moved at an expense of $2,000 to the Porter school grounds. It was attached as an addition to the existing structure and used as a classroom for the intermediate grades and indoor bathrooms, the lunchroom, and the woodworking shop.
After 1939, the school continued to teach pupils in grades 1 through 8, with 9th through 12th graders attending Canby High School. In the 1968-69 school year it was decided to close the school and join the Canby School District for all grades, allowing Porter students to attend Kindergarten for the first time.
The school building that most remember was a white frame structure with large windows complete with a bell tower on the roof. Each of the three classrooms had its own library, flag, wooden clock and maps. Also, a part of the structure was a kitchen and lunchroom where students could eat home-cooked meals or from their own lunch buckets prepared at home.
To the rear of the kitchen, was a woodworking shop in which boys were instructed in woodworking techniques by a local carpenter and the janitor. Attached to the rear of the shop was the bus garage which housed the bus driven most often by the janitor to transport the Porter students in grades nine through twelve to the Canby High School.
The curriculum included the usual subjects of reading, penmanship, arithmetic, history, geography, spelling and language. Art and music were taught on alternate days. The music classes prepared many students for Christmas programs and Memorial programs and recitals which were attended by the whole community. These programs were held in the Porter Community Hall. Many awards were given to winners of spelling bees, and students with perfect attendance and fine penmanship.
Plays, school-picnics, PTA meetings, recitals and class trips to as far away as the State Capital were boosters of moral and pleasant learning experienced. Students and parents alike looked forward to participating in these events. The interaction with the community helped to keep the school and its students concerned about each other.
After the school was closed and later dismantled during the mid-1970’s the school grounds were given to the city by the school district and made into a city park. Despite the absence of a schoolhouse, the location continues to be a focal point in the community for children and adults alike for recreation and social events.