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An Archaeology of Community Investment: The Old Edgebrook Schoolhouse in Chicago, Illinois

Author(s): Jane Baxter

Year: 2014

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Many contemporary communities use refurbished schools to house historical societies and museums, and they are valued as part of local history. One-room schoolhouses also may be used to explore community investment and identity in the past; as such schools were built using locally donated land, labor, funds, and materials. Community members made deliberate choices in how to design and furnish their school. Such choices were investigated at the Old Edgebrook Schoolhouse in northwest Chicago, and the material remains of the school were compared with guides distributed by the State of Illinois setting standards for ‘ideal’ one-room schools. This comparison illuminated the types of decisions a community faced when investing in a school, and revealed how a community came together in the past to invest cooperatively in education and to display collective values and identity. This analytical strategy offers a different way to understand and interpret these structures and connect communities past and present.

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An Archaeology of Community Investment: The Old Edgebrook Schoolhouse in Chicago, Illinois. Jane Baxter. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 437343)

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-78,02

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America