Forest Grove
School Preservation

Bringing History to Life

Forest Grove School Preservation is dedicated to preserving and telling the history of rural education through the historic rehabilitation of Forest Grove Schoolhouse No. 5 in Bettendorf, Iowa.



Forest Grove served children for nearly 85 years.

The Forest Grove one-room schoolhouse was erected after Pleasant Valley subdistrict No. 5 formed in 1873. According to the 1882 History of Scott County, the construction and furnishings cost $1,500. Forest Grove enrolled upwards of 30 students each year ranging in age from 5 to 14. The children came from within a 2-mile radius to attend school. Bringing along their books, which they had purchased in nearby Princeton, their subjects included math, reading and writing, spelling, geography, history and English.

The school remained in use until 1957 when it was closed and purchased by Delbert Blunk who attended the school when he was a young boy. According to Blunk, teachers liked to play outside games with students or go sledding during recess in the wintertime. A favorite of many students was the giant stride. Kids would grab the chains that hung from the pole and race around the pole and launch themselves into the air for a “giant stride” forward.


In 2012, the effort began to restore the school.

Forest Grove School Before Photo

Forest Grove School Preservation was founded in 2012 and began restoring the one-room school soon after. Cedar Rapids architect Doug Steinmetz served as a consultant for the project.

In 2012, a new concrete block foundation was constructed. In 2014, a new furnace and a cedar shake roof were installed. Wood siding was either replaced or maintained and painted.

Eight replica replacement windows were put in place, and a new front door created by Carver Custom Millworks of Milan, Illinois, was installed. A new chimney, while not functional, was built on the north side with salvaged bricks to enhance the building’s 1920s appearance.

On September 6, 2016, a replica bell tower, made by LeClaire, Iowa, carpenter Ben Taylor, was put in place. The tower contains the school’s original bell.


Forest Grove School Memories

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We Need Your Help!

None of this would be possible without the support of our generous donors. To date, we’ve raised over $200,000. Donate today and join our mission to preserve and tell the history of Forest Grove School.