One Room School (Ridge School) – Amboy, Minnesota

One RoomSchool (RidgeSchool) – Amboy, Minnesota          

There is history in this small town in southern Minnesota and the surrounding area that will bring back memories for those that take the time to visit.  For instance, there is the one room school that taught kids west of Amboy for many year, in fact, up until the 50’s it was still going strong.

The school was the site of a whole social and educational experience for the kids that attended there, under many teachers but the most notable was Dorothy Fraze.  She not only taught but directed plays and got involved encouraging the kids to be the best they could be.

The school was built in 1881 for $337.86.  The builder of the school (who is no longer known) made sure the quality was good, since the building was moved into Amboy in 2006 to be added to the charming downtown area as a museum for residents and visitors to enjoy. The school was painted before it was moved to a location 1 block off Main Street.  The old school had to be purchased from the owners of the land it was located on in the country but Mitch and Margo (Johnson) Oatmen sold it to the city for $1.  

During the early years the school was used every other Sunday as a place for the First Presbyterian Church to hold its services.

The Treasurer’s ledger for 1879 has been located to show the cost of doing business as a one room school in this time. The cost of operating the school for the year 1880 was $193. 84 The teacher’s wages for 1880 was $154.00 and the bills for wood and school supplies were $17.70. A pail was purchased for $ .25 and crayons where purchased for $ .20,  The school was repaired for another $13. 00.  

The names of some of the early teachers were Frank White; Annie Dobie; George Conrad; Jennie White; Julia Malmin; Mary Reynolds; J W Heritage; Melvina Wilde; Nriss Louis and of course, Dorothy Fraze.

The original cost for building constructed in 1881 and finished in 1882 was $337.86

Inside the school are some of the original desks and it has the same bell in the tower that rang for years to summon the kids to class. There are pictures of the students from the school’s “glory days” hung beside the pictures of the restoration for those that want to see if they can find themselves. Some of the kids that attended the school were Dennis Starkweather, Dough Startweather, Jim Johnson, Donna Smothers, Dwayne and Ray Smothers, Norman Glaubitz, Jim, Bob and Nita Irvine,Charlotte Curry, Dorthy and Helen Howieson, Laura Louks, Kathy Hall, Joan & Helen Stenberg, Harland Haroldson, Lyle Johnson, Lyle Curry, Durwood Irvine, Woodrow Irvine, Pete Dirkx, Cecil Dickey, Leo Pederson, Gordon Johnson and Russ Johnson.

If you attended the school or have memories of going to the school for one of the Christmas plays or other activities, please post it on our site so we can share them with the readers.

Location: 1 Block south of Main Street, Amboy, Minnesota

If you are interested in attending the Ridge School Program please contact Joan Morrison at 507-674-3358 or drop her an email at

5 Responses

  1. What a wonderful website! Including a one room schoolhouse among the attractions is so significant and meaningful. We received an excellent education in a lovely rural setting. The Stenberg girls walked a mile to get there and had countless adventures doing that. I’d like to add also that our younger sister, Virginia, attended Ridge School. Her teacher was Katie Sharp who was for sure the most beautiful teacher ever to lead Ridge. I have to think Katie and Virginia were joyous friendsand knowing her is a highlight in Virginia’s life. Joan and I had Nettie Johnson for five years. I’ll never forget her standing by the window on a cloudy day reading The Jungle Book. Best yet was the day the green curtain was put up and we could start practicing for the Christmas program. Those were the days…I thought they’d never end.

    The dedication was superb, Harriet Grover Bonnett played the piano all afternoon featuring the really oldie goodie songs from the Golden Song book.
    Blessed thanks to Les Curry for putting it all together in 2006and 2007.

  2. This school house is so cute and fun for the kids to see “how it use to be”. The volunteers that moved and restored it did a wonderful job. Check out the history for yourself!

  3. Nice to see this good article about out home town and the work that has been done on the school. My husband and I are on the board and appreciate all the work that has been done to restore this piece of history. Some of the students that came to town when the school closed were in my grade.

  4. Amboy is my home town too so it was a pleasure to be able to write about the school to let the thousands of people that come to our site know about Amboy and some of the history.
    Wouldn’t it be neat to let everyone know about the cafe too? The cafe that was a gas station…that too is a neat story!

  5. Isabella Robson (nee Howieson)

    Just reading about your one room school – very interesting. I used to write to a lovely girl called helen jean howieson many years ago and wondered if the helen howieson mentioned in your tutorial is the same person. i often think about her and regret that we lost touch. if it is the same person i would appreciate if you could pass on my regards.

    many thank
    Isabella Robson (Howieson)