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Plainview Elementary / Joint District #4 / Lisbon District #4

    Compiled and Edited by Mike Reilly, January 27, 2004

Last updated 02/19/2015

    Lisbon District #4 was organized February 1, 1844. It later became Joint District #4. Until about 1920 the school was unnamed. It included sections 17, 18, 19, 20 and the south half of 7, 8, and 9.

    The first school was to be south of the Bark River, then near a cemetery, then to the east, and FINALLY a log building was built after action in March, 1847. It cost $300 which included a fence around it. The district also paid $2.20 for splitting and piling four cords of wood that year. (Editor's questions - Where was this first school building built?)

    Excerpt from minutes resulting from Waukesha County School Superintendent school visits: District No. 4 School house quite comfortable, but unpainted. Miss S. M. Johnson is using it for a select school. The fact that she has taught in this district four terms is proof of her success in the school room. Source: Waukesha Freeman, Tuesday, July 21, 1862.

    Miss Kittie Rynn manages No. 4. Source: Waukesha Freeman, October 11, 1888

    Miss Lizzie Will, a graduate of Carroll College, began her term (as teacher) of school in District No. 4, Aug. 31. Source: Waukesha Freeman, September 10, 1891

    School District No. 4 is putting in some improvements this year. A new chimney will accommodate a new heating system which is to be installed this vacation. A cupboard will be changed and the rehanging of the doors after which there is to be a new coat of paint. Source: Waukesha Freeman, July 22, 1911

    District No. 4 has engaged Miss Elsie Oehmcke as teacher for the coming year. Source: Waukesha Freeman, August 20, 1911. 

    The school in District No. 4 gave an evening entertainment in the great praise for Miss Oehmcke as teacher and trainer. Source: Waukesha Freeman, December 26, 1912.

    The school year closes at district No. 4 on Friday, June 6, with a picnic at Marshall's on Lake Keesus. Miss Elsie Oehmcke and pupils have prepared a fine program to add to the day's pleasures.

    Pupils and teachers of Merton State Graded School and District No. 4 Lisbon school held brief memorial exercises at the Evangelical cemetery in the village (Merton) and at Merton-Lisbon cemetery. Flags and flowers were placed on each soldier's grave in each cemetery. Through the kindness of Peter Muehl and H. E. Beckman the pupils were taken to the cemeteries. The profusion of flags and flowers carried by the children added greatly to the beauty of the procession and the singing of "My Country Tis of Thee" as they drove along the route added to the spirit of the occasion.  Source: Waukesha Freeman, Thursday, June 2, 1920.

    A Valentine program was given by the pupils of Plainview school, Dist. No. 4, Lisbon followed by the sale of baskets on Feb 14. Miss Esther Meissner and Samuel Dobbertin sang a duet, and Mrs. Ernest Tempero, a solo. Miss Ruby Meissner accompanied her sister and Mr. Dobbertin on the piano and Mrs. Tempero accompanied her husband, and also the school children at the piano. The proceeds will be used to purchase phonograph records. Source: Waukesha Freeman,  February, 26, 1925.

    The Christmas program of Dist. No. 4 school will be held on Tuesday night Dec. 22.

    On Wednesday evening, May 23m the Commencement exercises of the Sixteen, North Lisbon and Plainview Schools were held at the Sixteen United Presbyterian church. ...the 5th, 6th, 7th, and grades of Plainview and Sixteen schools provided three songs directed by Mrs. Harold Meissner, supervisor of music in these schools...Plainview 8th grade graduates were Eriah Siewert and Darwin Meissner. Eriah also received a Citizenship award. Perfect attendance awards given to David and Richard Dobbertin. Source: Waukesha Freeman, June 5, 1935.

    There will be a meeting of the Lake Five-Plainview 4-H club at the Plainview school on Friday evening. Source: Waukesha Freeman, April 7, 1937.

    Mrs. Sherwin Mielke is doing substitute teaching for Miss Helen Welch in the Lisbon No. 4 school. Miss Welch is confined to her home at Waukesha by illness. Source: Waukesha Freeman, May 18, 1938

    A large number of Lisbon people attended the Plainview school picnic in Schlicher's woods near Merton on Friday. A large crowd was present to enjoy the games and dinner.

    The Ladies' Aid and Mother's club of the Plainview School gave two one-act plays and other entertainment at the Village Hall at Merton Friday evening, Dec. 8. The following ladies took part in the first play, "Wisdom for Wives"; Mmes Anna Schultz, Mildred Schumacher, Rene Adams, Mabel Bussewitz,  Clara Rieve,  Olga Plautz, Leona Ebert, Ethel Meissner, and Helen Hext. The characters of the other play "The Darky Wood Dealer" were as follows; Deacon Decker, Anna Schultz; his wife, Helen Hext;  Clevendall, wood dealer, Theresa Brandt. Source: Waukesha Freeman, December 13, 1939

    Mmes. Walter Rankin and Margaret Fagan had charge of the program for the Mother's club at the Plainview school Friday afternoon. Mrs. Winston Brown of this village (Sussex) gave an interesting talk on her travels to Europe a few years ago and also showed a collection of dolls from different countries. The school children also furnished a number in the program. Source: Waukesha Freeman, February 5, 1941.

    On Monday evening commencement exercises of the Sixteen, Plainview and Lake Five schools were held in the Sixteen school with a good attendance of children and adults. The program was a follows: Processional, Mrs. Harold Meissner, teacher of music in the schools; ... Shirley and Maureen Fagan both 8th grade graduates of Plainview school. Source: Waukesha Freeman,  May 21, 1941.

    Miss Janice Lees (of Pewaukee) has signed a contract to teach the Plainview school in District No. 4, the coming year (Sept. 1941). Miss Lees is attending the Teacher's Training school at Union Grove at present.

The Mother's club of the Plainview School gave a miscellaneous shower for Miss Janice Lees, teacher in their school at the home of Mrs. Armin Meissner on Friday evening. Source: Waukesha Freeman, June 2, 1943.

    Graduation exercises for the Sixteen, North Lisbon, Lisbon Plank, Willow Springs and Plainview schools were held at the Sussex Community hall on Tuesday evening May 23.

    Miss Catherine Schenning signs contract to teach at Plainview school in the Fall. Source: Waukesha Freeman, Wednesday, July 5, 1944.

    In 1952, Walter Schlicher found a set of rules:

    1. No profane or obscene language allowed on the ground or in the schoolhouse.

    2. No playing allowed in the schoolhouse.

    3. In case any scholar nicknames another, the teacher may punish the offender, and if the parents interfere, such scholar or scholars may be expelled by the school board.

    At a regular annual meeting held in 1869, a new school building was voted to be built by a 12-2 vote. It was to be completed by the month of November, 1870. This brick building cost between $1,300 and $1,400 which included a new site on the corner. In 1890 the valuation of the district was $87,203. (Editor's note: School located on southeast corner of Plainview and Lake Five Road. Note: The Lisbon 2000 Millennium Book has it situated on the southwest corner.).

    "Mrs. Shirley Glenzer of Sheboygan Falls will teach in the Plainview School, She and her husband, who will serve as principal in the Merton school, will live in the Chester Boltz home in Merton.

    Ground has been broken and the foundation laid for a new two room school to replace the present Plainview School which is inadequate for the present enrollment. It is being built on a lot purchased from Reuben Meissner. It is hoped that it will be ready for use after the Christmas holidays." Source: Waukesha Daily Freeman, Thursday Evening, August 23, 1952

    A new school was dedicated on December 12, 1952. It was a new two-room building and opened January 5, 1953. The cost was about $30,000 and that year it had an operating budget of about $15,000. (Editor's note: Built on Plainview Road, about one block west of Lake Five Road.)

    Joint District #4 was not called "Plainview School" until about 1920 when Miss Ruth Truex, who was the teacher at the time, thought the name "Plainview" was an appropriate name for it. (Editor question - Was the school named after the road or the other way around? September 17, 1916 - Ruth Truex to work as teacher at Lisbon No. 2 School for $45. Miss Truex graduated from the teacher's training program last June from the Waukesha High School.  February 27, 1919 - Ruth Truex is reported to be visiting friends in Waukesha. Source: Waukesha Freeman)

    Janice Lees, wife of Edgar Rankin, was once a teacher at the Plain View school. Source: Waukesha Freeman, Thursday, December 29, 1955

    Joan Pfister Holden was the teacher/principal of Plainview for two school years,  1957-58 and 1958-59. Her co-teacher was Marilyn Mayhew Jensen

    In 1965, Merton's Plainview School children entered the brand new $200,000 addition which consolidated the two districts. The  Plainview School closed that year as students transferred to the new facility.

Source: The First 150 Years, Lisbon-Sussex, Waukesha County, Wisconsin, produced and published by the Citizens of Lisbon- Sussex in 1986 to celebrate The Lisbon/Sussex Sesquicentennial, page 52; and the Lisbon 2000 Millennium Book, by Fred H. Keller, 2000, page 80.

Plainview School went through three incarnations

Lisbon No. 4 School, known since 1920 as Plainview School, held an all-classes reunion Aug. 10 at the old Robert Bartlett farm, now the spacious Lisbon Community Park.

The school opened in 1844 and closed in 1965. During that time, three buildings hosted the school. The longest-serving was the one-room schoolhouse built in 1869-70 at Plainview Road east of Lake Five Road.

School commissioners R. Blount and Harrison Phillips got the ball rolling for the first schoolhouse, which served the west-central section of Lisbon along Lake Five Road and east to present-day Highway 164. In time it would also take in a bit of Merton around Lake Keesus.

The first plan called for a schoolhouse just south of the Bark River where it crosses Lake Five Road. The directors decided that the nearby Bark River could lead the boys to skip school and fish and swim, so they switched to a spot near Lisbon Union Cemetery. That site had its problems, too, so they moved the proposed school to its ultimate location on Plainview Road.

After three years of wrangling over the site, a log cabin with a zigzag fence surrounding was built there in 1847 for $300. Construction was completed Oct. 28 with the building of a $5 privy.

That elementary school, covering first through eighth grades, was really ungraded, and the few who did graduate had to pass a difficult test to go on to high school. Until the 1930s, most students did not go on to high school.

The entire class averaged about 25 students, most of them farm children, for years. In the 1940s, however, the school drew more “city slickers,” as their farm-raised peers called them. In its final years in the 1960s, enrollment of 50 or more was the norm.

During its log-cabin years, the school paid teachers $30 a month, and the school year ran just seven months.

The log cabin served for 22 years, until 1869, when the School Board voted 12-2 to build a new one-room schoolhouse immediately west of the log cabin and closer to Lake Five Road. The new schoolhouse was completed in November 1870 for between $1,300 and $1,400.

The school’s six square miles was assessed at $87,203. The prominent Lisbon taxpayers then were Robert Brown, Henry Phillips, Dan Roberts, William Dunn, Charles McKarty, Charles Tempero, William Steele, John Tempero, Mary Rankin, Henry Higgins, William Jaquest, Hugh O’Neil, Peter Thompson, John Butler Joseph Roberts, John Haass, George Kayser, John Schlicker, John Schneider, Maria Weeks and Martin Bey from the Town of Lisbon, while the Town of Merton taxpayers were John Rice, Robert Marshall, William Sedgwick, Richard Sedgwick, Robert Brown and a Mrs. Tannis.The big family names attending the school were the Dobbertin, Schlicher and Rankin. The Martin family contributed either 16 or 17 children, making up a significant percentage of the school population until they moved away to the adjacent Richmond School District.

Prominent schoolteachers with Sussex ties were Marjorie Stier, Maude Brown (Mrs. Alvin Kraetsch, aka Mrs. Scratch) and Ida Edwards (sister of Will Edwards).

Teacher Rita Truex bestowed the name Plainview School on Lisbon No. 4 School in 1920, and it stuck for the next 45 years.

A teacher shortage forced Plainview to shut down in 1945, but it reopened in September 1947 with one teacher. Two years later, that teacher had 38 students, and a campaign began to build a two-room school, which opened in January 1952 a long block west of the old school.

The old schoolhouse was sold to the Lembke family to defray the $26,627 cost of the new school, which included a central hall and an indoor toilet, as well as the two teaching rooms.

That last Plainview School closed forever in 1965, with the students going to the new Merton School. In 1966, the Hamilton School District sold the building to the Harman family, who later sold it to John Meissner (himself a former student, 1949-52).

Meissner’s son, Jay, and his wife took it over and remodeled it as their home, with a present-day address of N78 W27495 Plainview Road.

In August of this year, the Waukesha County Historical Society installed a historical marker at the Lisbon No. 4 School, which will put the former school on a county map of historical markers.

Plainview holds reunion

John and Beverly Meissner hosted an all-school reunion Sunday for the old Lisbon No. 4 School, popularly known as Plainview School, at nearby Lisbon Community Park, next to the Bark River.

John and Beverly Meissner hosted an all-school reunion Sunday for the old Lisbon No. 4 School, popularly known as Plainview School, at nearby Lisbon Community Park, next to the Bark River.

John was a student there from 1949 to 1952, and a couple of years ago acquired the historic Cream City-brick schoolhouse, now the home of John and Beverly’s son, Jay; daughter-in-law, Kelly; and their new grandchild.

Plainview School was organized in 1844. Its first permanent structure was a log cabin built in 1847. It moved to the new schoolhouse at Plainview and Lake Five roads in 1869-70. The one-room school lasted 83 years, until December 1952, when it moved again, that time to a multi-room facility.

It closed for good in 1965, and its students transferred to Merton Grade School.

The reunion drew 65 former students and teachers, led by 92-year-old Beatrice Fluke Webb.

Miss Fluke taught there from 1937 to 1939, starting at $75 per month, later raised to $85.

“I was expected to do the janitor’s work, too,” Webb said. “It was in my contract.”

She also warned this reporter in a stern teacher voice not to write anything in bad taste about “this wonderful school.”

Many old class photos were on display, along with a couple of report cards, financial reports, graduation pictures and other school items.

Most of the children who attended the school were farm children, except for David Kranik, now a dentist.

“I was one of the few ‘city slickers,’   ” he said.

Many of the alumni were Meissners, Dobbertins, Rankins and Schleichers.

The Martin family, which had 16 or 17 children, depending on whom one asks, was also well represented by, among others, Dick Martin and his sister, Rita Martin Jungbluth. Rita followed her parents’ lead and had 13 children of her own.

The weather in Community Park was perfect, and reunion-goers heard many tales of the boys skipping out of school to go fishing and swimming. They also recalled the school’s strict discipline and the outstanding teachers who taught all eight grades.

Plainview graduates, if they continued their education at all, went on to Hartland High School, a forerunner of Arrowhead High School, which took the school’s graduates during its final few years.

Above: This 1952 photo shows the one-room Plainview School that still stands today

Plainview School Classes 1946-1950 1947-1948 1948 1949-1950


Plainview School, at the intersection of Plainview and Lake Five Roads, was a Lisbon one-room school from 1844 to 1952. It served the west central Town of Lisbon. The original school was built of wood, started in 1844. In 1870, a cream brick one-room school was built on the southeast corner of the intersection for between $1,300 and $1,400. The school served the community until 1952.

Recently, the extended Rankin family of Lisbon , including Cherlyn Opsahl Maas, David Rankin and his brother John Rankin, have given the Sussex Lisbon Area Historical Society a pile of family history, as the Rankin family was a huge family, both in numbers, acreage owned and influence. Among the items given this time by David Rankin (Highway 164) were three grade school class pictures, which are included with this column, classed from 1946 to 1950.

The school, which in 1952 was built into a new multi-room school, shut down in 1965. The students were shipped to Merton Grade School.

The old cream brick school house is today part of the holdings of the extended John Meissner family and used as a private home.

John Meissner ramrodded an all-school reunion a few years ago using the Lisbon Community Park as a picnic site, while also giving tours of the renovated old one-room school as a piece of Lisbon history that has been saved.

The old one-room school averaged about 20 to 25 students per year from 1946 through 1950 for the one teacher who taught all grades. Talking today with some of them, they all seem to have good careers and very good education under trying circumstances. The vat majority went on to high school and many went on to college.

The majority of the students were from farm families, and in all class photos, there are some bib overalls worn by the boys and all the girls wore dresses. It was a different time back then.




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