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Shoemaker School, Columbia, IL


The city of Columbia, IL, has preserved the community’s heritage of one-room schools with three renovation projects restoring old schools for new uses, including the historic Shoemaker School which has been renovated into a multi-faceted facility that links Monroe County’s heritage with its vision for the future.  Hammond Shoemaker, the first doctor along the Cahokia-Kaskaskia Trace, built a one-room building for his children in 1867.  It was used as a public school until 1951, then as a private home for almost four decades.  In 1992, the structure was moved to its present location in order to avoid demolition due to the widening of Illinois 3.  Today, adaptive reuse of the building allows for three functions.  In addition to racked brochures and maps, the Monroe County Welcome Center features displays, exhibits, photographs and other memorabilia from the history of Monroe County and the Cahokia-Kaskaskia Trace, and volunteer staff provide visitor services five days per week from May through October.   The Shoemaker School Museum partially recreates the building’s use as a mid-19th century one-room school, including such services as interpretive functions for local school groups.  The One Room School Commemorative Plaza before the entrance into the building designates all 60+ one room schools that dotted Monroe County in 1900 and provides opportunities to remember parents, grandparents, and teachers with imprinted brick pavers.   The building was renovated using only local resources, including donations from local community members, brick paver proceeds, and revenue from the City’s hotel motel tax.  Five local governments, including the City of Columbia, have executed an Intergovernmental Agreement and cooperatively fund, maintain, and manage the Center through a multi-jurisdictional Steering Committee.



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