1151 N 200th St
Arcadia, KS 66711
The site of a still standing one-room country school built in 1869 of vernacular stone has been turned into an open air museum. Includes log cabin and marker.
The first schoolhouse in Crawford County was a log cabin built at the same location in 1867. Classes began in 1867 and continued through 1955. The Cato Historical Preservation Association maintains the schoolhouse as a historical attraction, with free admission, as a symbol of education.
The still standing one-room, vernacular stone, school building was constructed in 1869 with classes being held there until 1955. The Cato School is in the Historic Public Schools of Kansas multiple property submission as an example of the one-room country school property type dating from the early statehood period (1861-1880).
Founded in 1854, Cato is believed to be the first community built in the Southeast Kansas area, and it has the distinction of having the first grist mill in Crawford County, the first coal mining operation, the first school in the county, and the first County Fair. Cato was never a large town, reaching its peak population in 1910 with 112 residents.
An old, one-room, stone school house built in 1869 is on the National Register of Historic Places. The stone school house, the Cato Christian Church built in 1915, and a stone bridge that was once on the stage coach route, are all that remain of the community.
Each year the Cato Historical Preservation Association spends one weekend reminding residents and tourists of the pioneer days. The festival includes tours of the pioneer era community, live music, food, and re-enactments, occasionally “including a shoot-out between Missouri border roughians and Kansas lawmen”.