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National Register of Historic Places Program

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.


Property Name Sumner School
Reference Number 13000242
State Iowa
County Linn
Town Mount Vernon
Street Address 877 West Mount Vernon Road, Mount Vernon, IA
Multiple Property Submission Name N/A
Status Listed 05/08/2013
Link to full file
The Sumner School, located in Franklin Township northwest of Mount Vernon in Linn County, Iowa, is locally significant under Criteria A and C. Under Criterion A, the school is historically significant for its association with the earliest period in the development of the Iowa and Linn County public school systems. Built circa 1858, the school was built on land owned by Henry Kepler, a pioneer Franklin Township farmer, for public school purposes on part of his original land claim. Throughout its history, the school was known variously as the Sugar Grove School, the Kepler School, the Sumner School (Independent), the Little Brick School, and the Abbe Creek or Abbe School. Paid for and maintained by local and county property taxes, this one-room brick schoolhouse served this rural Linn County district for nearly eight decades, educating Kepler's children and many other Franklin Township children until 1936, when the school closed permanently. The local history of the Sumner School is typical of thousands of other rural district schools across the state, and as such represents the history of early Iowans' commitment to providing free education for all. The Sumner School is also locally significant under Criterion C because it embodies the distinctive characteristics of an antebellum one-room rural district school built in a vernacular expression of the Greek Revival style using locally-made brick. The Sumner School was used for Sunday church services during the period of significance and is considered to meet Criteria Consideration A for religious properties because it is significant for its primary use as a school. The building was also moved on site during the period of significance and is considered to meet Criteria Consideration B because of its architectural significance and the fact that it remained on its original parcel and continued to be used for a time as a school following its move in 1925. The period of significance is from circa 1858 to 1936, which represents the period in which this building was used as a school. The significant date is circa 1858 when the building was constructed.


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Properties are listed in the National Register of Historic Places under four criteria: A, B, C, and D. For information on what these criterion are and how they are applied, please see our Bulletin on How to Apply the National Register Criteria