Kragero one room school was open for class for a few days this past week in Sherburne County.
Teachers and many students came dressed in period clothing. Children were taught daily lessons including the three “R”’s (reading, writing and arithmetic) by former Kragero students Judy (Erickson) Larsén and Gloria (Erickson) Palmer, who attended the one room school until it consolidated with Becker schools in 1967.
The students also sang old time and patriotic songs, made daily crafts, played games of a bygone era such as The Old Brass Wagon and Red Rover, pumped water near the schoolhouse, washed clothes on a board, made butter, enjoyed a nature hike and a picnic by the creek on the school property.
The annual summer program is hosted by the Erickson family, whose relatives emigrated from Kragero, Norway to Santiago Township (north of Becker) in 1897. There was a need for a school in the area and the schoolhouse was built near the Jens Ellefson farm. The school building was also used as a church for several years. The loan for the school building was $450, at four percent interest for 10 years. The first teacher who taught at Kragero school (District 47) earned $100 for the entire school year. That first year, school was only in session for five months.
Local resident Tom Barthel purchased Kragero School from Becker School district in 1995. The school closed in 1967 and at that time, there were 16 students enrolled at Kragero.
Barthel and his wife Gail Wilkinson have worked hard to keep the school in its original condition and have graciously allowed the historic school to be used for the past 27 summers, with the first authentic one-room school class offered in 1994.