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One Room Schools

Davlin School    

From 1844 until 1945, students in Cuba Township attended school in one-room country schools. By shortly after the Civil War, there were five total in the township. The White School on Cuba Rd. at Old Barrington Rd. was the first. It started as a log cabin in 1844, and was later rebuilt. There was also the Kelsey School on the north side of Rt. 22 near Kelsey Rd., the Honey Lake School on Honey Lake Rd., the Flint Creek School at Miller and Kelsey Rds, and the Davlin School on Barrington Rd. in what was to become Tower Lakes. 

According to the 1840 census, there was already a "common school" on the property of Hugh Davlin, one of the area's first settlers, with 28 "scholars". They probably met informally on the farm. The Davlin School district was officially organized in 1857. It was named for Hugh's son Charles Davlin, who donated the land for the school near his house at what was called Davlin's Corners. The original wood frame school house was built by David McClane between 1857 & 1870. The first seats and desks were carved from logs. It was also used for "church services, entertainments and political meetings".

Davlin School. Circa 1896.

Courtesy of Wauconda Twp. Historical Society

In 1918, students in the country schools in Lake County participated in a local history writing exercise. Click here for the fascinating 1918 manuscript from the Davlin School. It was written by student Marian Davlin, a granddaughter of Charles, for whom Marian Hills subdivision and Marian Ct. were later named. Note that much of the Cuba Township history in her story is taken from a book "The Past & Present of Lake County, Illinois", originally published in 1877. The undated sketch of the original school (above and in the manuscript) may have been done by her brother Charles E. Davlin. The Indian campground at "Shanty Woods on the old Courtney Farm" refers to the area that is today the Lake County Fox River Forest Preserve on the north bank of the Fox River bend along Roberts Rd.

Teacher & students At Davlin School. Date & names unknown. 

Courtesy of Wauconda Twp Historical Society

The school burned to the ground just before Christmas 1924. Willard Mavis, Vincent Davlin and volunteer firemen were not able to save it. School was temporarily held in Wm. E. Brooks' Tower Lake Park sales building. See the Dec 18, 1924 article. The school was rebuilt out of red brick, on the original foundation, in 1925 and re-named the Tower Lakes School. The Oct. 8, 1925 Barrington Review called the new structure "one of the best appearing schools in the country districts of Lake County".

In the 1940's, there was a state-wide push to consolidate the thousands of one-room country schools in the interest of better education. 80% of them were closed within a couple years. Lake County dropped from 63 in 1931 to 1 in 1960. The Davlin/ Tower Lakes School District 87 was consolidated with Honey Lake (District 88), Flint Creek (89) and White (90) to form the North Barrington School District 89 in 1945. The school graduated its last class in 1947, the year the North Barrington elementary school was opened a mile south. By that time there were 3 teachers and 77 children in grades 1-8 with grades 6-8 being taught next door in the Tower Lakes real estate office. The building was sold by the school district to Tower Lakes developer Nazareth Barsumian (a school board member) in 1948. He remodeled it into a private home in 1950-52. It still stands today at 410 N. IL Rt. 59 in Tower Lakes, next to the present Village Office (see photo below). The red brick is now covered with stucco.

This photo shows an early 1940's aerial view with the school in the lower right corner:


Click here for more information on the one-room schools, excerpted from a paper published in 1990 by the office of the county school superintendent. 

Click here for the April 1963 Barrington Courier Review article on the history of North Barrrington area schools, written by NBS students, with a 1963 photo of the former Tower Lakes School.

Click here for the excellent 11/13/97 Barrington Courier-Review article on Barrington area one room schools by George Van Hagen, entitled Lessons from the Past. The Tower Lakes School is mentioned on the last page.

The archives of the Barrington Area Historical Society contain Tower Lakes School student records 1931-47 and Tower Lakes School Board records 1937-45.


Summer 2000 photo of home at 410 N. Rt. 59, former Davlin/Tower Lakes School. Note the symmetrical window projections flanking the front door. These were the boys & girls rest rooms. The garage & other extensions were added after it was converted into a home. The bell in the front yard is not from the school.

Class of 1902, Courtesy of Neville Carr

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