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Kentucky Schools In The Early 1900s May Shock You. They’re So Different.

Kentucky might be the state where education pays, but back in the 1900s, our rural Kentucky schools were a lot different. There were an abundance of one and two-room school houses across the state, but big learning institutes were scarce.  The educational funding was done primarily via the communities using bake sales and such.  Students didn’t have conveniences like a school bus or a computer. In most cases they had to walk to school, lunch pail in hand, to get an education.

The reality was the school houses were overcrowded, underfunded and quite often, underutilized.  An education was not a mandatory part of growing up in a rural community during that era, unlike today. When we look back at the rural Kentucky schools of the early 1900s, they are so different it is shocking:

In many of these photos of rural Kentucky schools, the lack of shoes and mended clothing is a real eye-opener. It shows just what poverty really looks like, especially compared to today’s fast paced society of digital devices, designer sneakers and clothes. One pair of today’s Nikes paid one month’s rent and all the utilities during the early 1900s.

Seeing the challenges that previous generations overcame is pretty amazing, and makes me appreciate what we have more. What do these photos of rural Kentucky schools during the 1900s remind you of?

Jenn Shockley
I am somewhat a cliche'. I grew up running around barefoot on a farm in Kentucky. I love writing, art, sunshine, all animals and my incredibly patient husband, who tolerates my "crazy animal lady" side.