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Iowa Country School Preservation Conference set for Oct. 8-9 in Odebolt

July 17, 2021


Odebolt was the host site for the 21st Iowa Country School Preservation Conference on Oct. 8-9, 2021. The theme of the 2021 conference was "One Room Schools - the Start of Big Dreams."

On Friday, Oct. 8, attendees enjoyed a welcome by Bill Sherman and his line-up of presentations on current happenings and efforts in preservation, histories, and programs for schools. Tours were available at several sites, including Iowa’s amazing Rural Schools Museum (Willow Tree School) in Heritage Square in Odebolt, the Popcorn Center of the World by 1915, supplying Cracker Jack and Jolly Time.


A tour of the Sac City Historical Village, also home of Jackson School #7, was presented. The evening concluded with  an entertaining 8th grade graduation reenactment at Chautauqua Pavilion in Sac City, followed by a celebration dinner at the Sac Community Center (formerly the city's high school).

On Saturday, Oct. 9, the conference resumed with breakfast at the Odebolt Community Center and an informative tour of nearby sites of historical significance. Stops included the historic Adams Bank with private quarters, Adams Ranch, “Castles” and Grant School #5 at Moorehead Park, in Ida Grove. Stop for an educational tour of an unbelievable, “21st Century” family farm that few get a chance to experience. This family broke sod, built a rural school, and now uses the latest farming technology. We visited the Cook School #8 and beautiful prairie gardens at the Prairie Pedlar.


The conference concluded with lunch in a pre-fab Sears barn. Sites are on the grounds of the former Cook Ranch, which has a rich history connected with Jolly Time Popcorn.

The 21st Iowa Country School Preservation Conference was sponsored by:

  • Preservation Iowa 

  • Rural Legacy Project 

  • Iowa Rural Schools Museum-City of Odebolt 

  • First State Bank 

  • Sac City Chautauqua Pavilion 

  • Tlobedo Questers #485 

  • Odebolt Historical Museum 

  • Sac City Historical Museum and Village 

  • Odebolt Betterment Committee 

  • Prairie Pedlar 

  • Western Iowa Tourism 

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