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Survey of Michigan
One-Room Schoolhouses

It is estimated that at one time there were over 7,200 one-room schools in Michigan, and approximately 7,000 of those have been found and documented on our website by Michigan One Room Schoolhouse Association (MORSA) founding board member Suzanne Daniel. Our goal is to continue her work and find them all.


Please, feel free to search for the schools you know and to search for schoolhouse museums.




The 2024 Conference will be held on Saturday, October 5th, 2024 at the James E. Bonine House (Pictured below) located at 18970 M-60, Vandalia, MI 49095 and Brownsville #1 School (Cass County).

We are presenting a unique collaboration at the MORSA Fall Conference in Vandalia, MI. MORSA will be joining the members of the UGRRSCC (Underground Railroad Society of Cass County) The county was the nexus of two underground railroad routes used by Freedom Seekers during the pre-Civil War era.

Local members have been instrumental in the effort to preserve the stories and structures of the era. Four sites comprise the centerpiece: the James E. Bonine House, the James E. Bonine Carriage House, the Stephen Bogue House, and the Brownsville School.

The school is believed to be one of the oldest integrated schools in the state; providing education for the children of those seeking freedom from its opening in the 1840's until its closure in the 1950's.


The conference attendees will meet at the James E. Bonine House for the program. Jim Cameron, President of the Michigan Oral History Association will be the keynote speaker. Jim is a board member of the Historical Society of Michigan and a retired Saline High School history teacher. Guests will tour the UGRR sites, culminating with a visit to the Brownsville School. 


James E. Bonine House

M I S S I O N   S T A T E M E N T


Foster a deeper understanding and appreciation for the one-room schoolhouses in Michigan.


Encourage and stimulate the collection, preservation, and interpretation of Michigan's one-room school houses through conferences, newsletters, awards, consulting services, resources, and related historical activities.


Coordinate an inventory of all one-room school houses in Michigan through correspondence, survey forms, photography, and research.


Coordinate and further the programs of other historical societies and historians as they relate to one-room schoolhouses and act as a state-wide communication network.


Cooperate with appropriate individuals, organizations, and institutions on the local, regional, and state level in projects and activities which will promote and sustain interest in the history of one-room schoolhouses.

Larry Schlack, Former President of MORSA

In 1993 the Michigan One-Room Schoolhouse Association (MORSA) was founded at Eastern Michigan University (EMU) in Ypsilanti. The founding was a joint effort of the Historical Society of Michigan and the College of Education at EMU. The organization does not promote a return to one-room schooling, but it rather seeks to foster understanding of and appreciation for Michigan's remaining one-room schools and the important role that they played in the history of education in Michigan. A further purpose of MORSA is to stimulate and encourage the preservation and interpretation of Michigan's one-room schoolhouses through conferences, newsletters, awards, consulting services, and related historical activities. An annual conference is held each year at which sessions on restoring schools, researching history of buildings, and acquiring furniture and artifacts for restored schools are attended by participants from all over the state. At a popular session titled simply "Stories and Reminiscences," those who attended or taught in a country school tell tales of what it really was like. The annual conference is held at a different location each year and always features a restored schoolhouse. A major activity of MORSA is the ongoing statewide survey of one-room schoolhouses. A county-by-county directory is in preparation detailing location, condition, and current use of buildings. The survey is housed at the Grand Rapids Public Library. Twice a year MORSA publishes the Slate, a newsletter devoted to items about restored schools and historical reminiscences about life in country schools. The association maintains a Web site at

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