A Walk Into The Past…

Megan Gustafson, Administrator/Reporter/Photographer

Behind every house, building, or in this case, our school, is a story. A story that is hidden from our view. Every issue of this online newspaper will be a look into the past, stories about South Shore, and the people who walked its halls. For the debuting article, you will learn about the school building itself, how many different sites there were, where they were located, and how our school has grown.

In 1893, the first ever South Shore “schoolhouse” was built by Irving Herrick near Larson Creek and Twin Falls. There were around seven students attending. The second school was built a year later in 1894 by the Town of Bayfield, this building was a one-room schoolhouse with a belfry.

After a while, the enrollment of students at South Shore increased, as did the population of Port Wing. Because of this, a second schoolhouse with a woodshed was created. This was later made into the Port Wing Creamery, and then expanded into a co-op. When even more students came, the Presbyterian Church was used for classes.

These two schools were the main sites in Port Wing until 1903. But, yet again, the enrollment was growing, so Port Wing built a larger three-story building, otherwise known as the “Big White School,” costing around $25,000. On its first floor was the elementary, and the second floor was devoted to the high school. This building was located at the current park in Port Wing.

An interesting fact about the school in 1903 is that it operated the first school buses in Wisconsin, which were wagons called “kid hacks.”

In 1978, a new school was built, which is now the current building of South Shore. The “Big White School” was destroyed except the belfry, which is standing today in the park as a reminder of the school. Finally, in 1990, the elementary was added to the south side of the school. Today South Shore is located on School Road and Washington Avenue towards the north east corner of Port Wing. The name South Shore was suggested by an elementary school teacher from Herbster, Wisconsin in 1942.

Our school history is a huge part of who we are, and we should all take the time to read this part of the newspaper every issue. The article you are reading now is a tribute to the many people who worked hours and hours on our school buildings. Without them, South Shore would not be in existence today.