Here are brief histories of some of Racine County's old schools that are still standing but no longer being used for educational purposes. Some were closed due to declining enrollment, and others were left vacant when the Unified school system came into being and consolidation took place. Information was compiled from files at the Racine Heritage Museum and the University Archives and Area Research Center at UW-Parkside, as well as newspaper clippings.
BARTLETT SCHOOL, 7802 Old Spring St. (Now UNCO Industries Inc.)
The first Bartlett School was a log building erected in 1840, approximately one mile west of its present location. Ten students attended the first year, and by 1847, enrollment had grown large enough that a second structure, The Red School, was built to accommodate it.
This frame school cost between $400 and $500 to build and was located “30 Rods south on the Milman Rd." The present brick building was put up in 1880, at a cost of about $1,200, including all the school equipment (the land was purchased for $30). It served the children of Racine until 1980 when the school board voted to close Bartlett and two other district schools. Owner Tom Carpenter lives with his family in the section of the school built in 1880 and runs his business, UNCO Industries, out of the newer addition.
FRANKSVILLE SCHOOL, 10127 Highway K, Franksville (Now houses private businesses)
The original structure was built in 1910. Additional classrooms and an auditorium were added in 1955 and another addition was put on in the early 1960s. It was closed in 1980 as part of the Unified consolidation. Since then, it has been home to several private firms, and at one time, served as the Jaycees Haunted House.
LINCOLN SCHOOL, 1840 State St. (Now Lincoln School Historic Apartments, 1800 State St.)
Built in the spring of 1891, the current structure was actually the second Lincoln School in that neighborhood. The first was a one-room school constructed in 1840 on a site across the street, at 1821 State St. The earlier school was converted to apartments in 1892 and also housed the Haase Drug Co. for a time.
The current building was used as a school until 1981, when it was closed in a round of redistricting. It later became a warehouse for Unified's supplies and at different times was considered as a site for the District Assessment Center and a community center for senior citizens, neither of which were realized.
The Toldt-Hennessy Group, a Brookfield firm, purchased the building in the late 1980s and reopened it as an apartment complex for senior citizens in 1991. The Lincoln School Historic Apartments, which consist of 64 units, are runby the Affiliated Capital Corp. When the Toldt-Hennessy Group remodeled the building, it maintained the historical integrity of the exterior so the Lincoln School could retain its listing on the historical register of buildings.
STURTEVANT SCHOOL, 9500 Durand Ave., Sturtevant (Now School Days Mall)
Early Sturtevant schools seemed to be plagued by fire, with several structures having burned down between the years of 1893 and 1926. The present building was constructed soon after the 1926 fire, and a $75,000 classroom addition was built in 1954. The school served students until 1981 when it was closed due to declining enrollment. Unified put it up for sale in 1984, and in 1985, Eric Sewell bought the 25,000 square-foot building and converted it into retail space.
TRAUTWEIN SCHOOL, 1318 N. Green Bay Road (Now Spring Green Centre Mall, Spring Street and Highway 31)
Originally built in 1912, the Trautwein School was enlarged with an addition in 1954. Students at the time petitioned to keep the school's original tower, which housed the old Trautwein bell. The school, known at the time as one of the four Western Complex Schools (along with Bartlett, Hood Creek and Franksville), closed in 1981.
Three years later it was sold to William Olson, of Olson Auto Supply, for $110,000. Olson opened at auto parts store there. The Spring Green Centre Mall houses a variety of businesses including Remax Realtors, Longo Design Co., Tan-Fastic tanning salon and Southeast Wisconsin Mortgage Corp. If you look closely, you can still see the bell tower among the new facade.
TUCKER SCHOOL, 12133 Highway C, southeast corner of Highway C and Highway V (Now a private residence)
Tucker School was originally known as Greene School, in honor of Edwin B. Green, who donated the land for the school site. The first 14-by-24-foot frame building was erected in the early 1850s, and a second building was put up in 1885. New construction was added in 1956. The Unified district acquired Tucker School in 1961, and it was used as an elementary school. In 1975, Unified sold the school to a private owner for $18,500.
WILSON SCHOOL, 4949 Highway 38, Franksville (Now Bell, Book & Candle)
The old Wilson School has been home to several ventures since it stopped operating as a school in 1961. Built in 1855, the one-room brick building served as St. Anne's Old Catholic Church beginning in 1979, and before that, it was occupied by Studio 1 Graphics, an advertising and commercial art studio. Owner Rita Novak has restored the building and filled it with antiques, craft items and collectibles for sale. She also runs flea markets there on Saturdays during the summer and would like to begin offering a farmer's market on the grounds.