September 6, 2018
By Emily M. Rotzenberg UWGB History Major
Editor’s note: The Askeaton Public School, located just north of St. Patrick Catholic Church will be used by area fire departments for live fire training this fall, and will disappear from the rural landscape of the Irish-American settlement. Although the exterior walls of the building remain strong, the roof and interior walls are failing and the building is no longer safe. The school has a unique place in the history of education, as historian Emily Rotzenberg discovered.
ASKEATON – In the mid-19th century a band of Irish Catholic immigrants, in search of religious freedom and a better life, founded a new home in Northeastern Wisconsin. These immigrants named their new town Askeaton, after their hometown in County Limerick, Ireland.
In order to educate their children and provide for the future of their hometown, the settlers built their first log school house in 1858.
Eventually, this school house was replaced by a one-room brick building in 1890, which still stands across the road from St. Patrick’s Church today.
The Askeaton School district would eventually combine with District #5 (the Clark School) and form Joint District #2, Askeaton in 1915.
Community members served as teachers for the school until 1906, when the Sisters from the Holy Family Convent, Manitowoc took over.
This was a very unique case since the sisters were teaching at a public school and, according to former student Gene Brick, there was only one other public school in the state taught by nuns.
Eventually, the one-room brick school house became too crowded for the ever-increasing number of children in the community.
A new school was built across the road from the old school in 1916. This new building had two classrooms, one of which housed third, fourth and fifth grades, while the other held sixth, seventh and eighth grade.
The larger school was built just north of the church and also survives – but its days are now numbered.
Emily Rotzenberg is an Askeaton native and is a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, majoring in history. She hopes to teach history in high school, hopefully in the area, after she graduates from UWGB next spring.
Please see the complete story in the September 6, 2018 edition of The Brillion News.