Odebolt Native Wins National Award

Sandra Kessler Host, who was raised in Odebolt and is currently the curator of the Iowa Rural Schools Museum of Odebolt, recently returned from a trip to Saratoga Springs, New York.  She was there to make a presentation and to accept the 2015 Country School Association of America Scholarship and Artistry Award.

Sandra was awarded first place for her book, Iowa’s Historic Schools Highlighting Victorian Influences which came with a certificate and $300. Host says it meant the most to her that others recognize the extensive research that goes into all her books.  Sandra is pictured speaking at the opening of the Iowa Rural Schools Museum.

The book was the culmination of a three-year photo study Host did of all standing historic one-room rural schools in Iowa that had not been re purposed for another use.  She traveled all 99 counties to locate, photograph and catalog these schools before any more of them disappeared. Less than 300 remain out of the 12,623 one-room schools built by the peak in 1901.  Her study also showed that to the surprise of many, between 30-40% of the remaining schools originally had Victorian style features.

Sandra loved her one-room school experience and is proud of having grown up in rural Iowa near Odebolt.  She wants to share her experiences and what she has discovered through her research.

She has written 3 other books about Iowa’s rural settlement and the importance of Iowa’s rural school system.  All are available at the museum in Odebolt or on line at iowahistoricschools.com. Proceeds all go to support the Iowa Rural Schools Museum located at Heritage Square on Second Street in Odebolt.

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