Bethel School at Cisco, IL, near Decatur, IL.
The first Bethel School was built in Section 7 of Friends Creek Township, Macon County, IL, and was an 1850’s log structure. By 1890 with a donation of land from John Brown in Section 8 the current Bethel School was built. For nearly 56 years the school served the neighborhood students until 1946 when it was closed as part of a statewide trend in the 1940’s and 1950’s when students were transferred to larger schools. Purchased by Sam Kohler, the Bethel School was moved to his property about a mile south to be used as an implement and tool shed. With the purchase of his property in 1969 by the Macon County Conservation District, the school was moved yet again in 1982 a short distance to its present location as part of Friends Creek Conservation Area. From 1982 to 1985 with help from several donors including the Winings Trust along with dedicated volunteers and staff it was restored to its current appearance. The clapboard building still has much to teach about the way America used to learn how to read, write, and do `rithmetic in the era before yellow buses, teacher in-service days, and homework assignments posted on the Internet. Visitors can walk among the small cluster of desks and see how they were easily watched and patrolled by the lone teacher. Friends Creek Conservation Area, located at 13734 Friends Creek Park Road, Cisco , IL 61830, is 4.5 miles from Argenta.