Milan Twp. School, DeKalb, IL
Milan Township District #83 School was constructed by local farmers in 1900 at a cost of $850. The original one-room schoolhouse was 24 feet by 36 feet. It remained open and served as a center for learning from the turn of the century until 1942 when the low enrollment caused consolidation of school districts and busing of children to larger schools. It was closed and left to deteriorate. After finding the shuttered-down building on his farm at Perry and Tower Roads, about 13 miles southwest of DeKalb, Wayne McIlrath, retired dean of the Graduate School and biological sciences professor, donated the schoolhouse to Northern Illinois University’s Blackwell History of Education Museum in 1995. Area supporters coordinated a fund-raising drive, making possible the schoolhouse’s move to campus, rebuilding, and restoration. Their efforts culminated in the schoolhouse’s Sept. 12, 1999, dedication, coinciding with the 100th anniversary of NIU’s beginning as a Normal School or State Teachers College.