Artesia Schoolhouse
Artesia Schoolhouse

Shower

Interior

When Artesia Schoolhouse was built in the 1870s, it was the gem of the thriving community of Calumetville, which at the time had two general stores, two hotels, several taverns, a pair of blacksmith shops, a doctor’s office, flour and lumber mills, a lumber yard, and a dance hall.

High hopes for the little town were demonstrated when Schoolhouse #4 was built. By rural Wisconsin standards of the era, it was grand, with its bell tower, 13-foot high ceilings, plaster walls, chalkboards lining its rooms, maple floors and magnificent wooden trim surrounding banks of tall windows that flooded the building with light.

But instead of continued growth, Calumetville’s population dwindled steadily during the coming decades, and the school closed in the 1950s. During the following years, the stately building was used for storage and fell into disrepair.

What was never lost, though, was the school’s abundant charm. Its solid structure on a cobblestone foundation, set on a small hill, largely protected it from the elements.

In August, 2019, current owners Christine Martell and Jim Jerving finished a renovation and reopened it as an events venue. A well was drilled, and having running water for the first time replaces school boys who once hauled in buckets of water. The cloak room, and the room where wood was stashed for the potbelly stove, became lovely restrooms with wheelchair access. The boys’ three-seat outhouse is now a potting shed. A new kitchen eliminates the need to bring in tin lunch buckets. The old classroom and recess rooms, separated by a towering sliding door, can seat up to 100 diners, and more can be served in an outdoor tent near the old swing set, wood shed and woods.

The welcoming atmosphere that greeted generations of students is back. In addition to wedding ceremonies and receptions, Artesia Schoolhouse hosts engagement parties, vow renewals, bridal and baby showers, gender reveals, business and community events. Other special events include art shows, yoga and painting classes, wine or cheese tastings, and occasionally throws its doors open for dogs and their people.

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