Bigelow School

4228 W. Bonniwell Rd., Mequon, Wisconsin

Former school house converted to a private residence


South (Front) Elevation

Most of the renovations from school to residence happened in the 1960s.

Photo taken by J.R. Manning in March 2016




The Bigelow School is a former rural school building that sits along a country road in the northeastern quarter of the suburban city of Mequon, Wisconsin. Originally a rural town in Ozaukee County located just north of the city of Milwaukee, Mequon today is an incorporated city that is now about half filled with residential subdivisions of predominantly large homes. The remaining half of the city is still largely rural, consisting of farm land, old farmsteads, and occasional suburban houses, although every year, new subdivisions encroach into the rural portions of the city. The northeastern quarter of the city, where the old Bigelow School is located, is one of the areas that is still largely rural, but suburban development is only a couple of sections away.

The Bigelow School is locally significant for architecture because it is a good example of a Classical Revival style-influenced rural school building. It is also significant for being a fine, largely intact example of an endangered resource type. It is an early twentieth century rural one-room school building; this being the last era when this type of school was constructed in Mequon. Adding to the building's significance is its good level of integrity; it is the best preserved of all of Mequon's existing historic public school buildings. The 1990-completed intensive survey of the city of Mequon noted that eight historic elementary school buildings were then still extant in the city. Of these eight buildings, seven were one-room public schools. The Bigelow School has the fewest alterations and has retained the best architectural and historic integrity of these seven.

From the National Park Service, NRHP Inventory Registration, July 1, 1999

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on July 27, 2000
Reference number
Architectural style
Late 19th and 20th Century Revival: Classical Revival
Areas of significance
Architecture; Education
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic function
Current function
Single dwelling
Period of significance
Significant year
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 1
Non-contributing buildings: 3

Update Log 

  • March 12, 2016: Updated by J.R. Manning: Updated status, added description and added photos