There’s a new national heritage site in Bettendorf.

The restored Forest Grove School No. 5 (24040 Forest Grove Drive) has received official designation as a Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area (SSNHA) Site.

The restored Forest Grove School No. 5 in northeast Bettendorf, built in 1873.

Ranging from dairy farms and museums to vineyards and tractor assembly plants, there are 110 sites and attractions in the heritage area formally designated with preserving and sharing their own unique part of America’s agricultural story, according to a Monday news release.

In celebration of the partnership between SSNHA and Forest Grove School No. 5, a ribbon cutting will take place at the school on June 16 at 11 a.m.

“We are excited with the addition of Forest Grove School No. 5 as one of the heritage area’s newest sites,” Candy Welch-Streed, SSNHA director of partnerships, said in the release.

Forest Grove School No. 5 is a restored one-room school in rural Bettendorf. The schoolhouse was built in 1873 and served as a place of learning from 1873 to 1957. The schoolhouse sits on its original site and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Desks in the historic schoolhouse, preserved to its 1920s appearance.

Forest Grove School No. 5 is currently open free of charge to visitors on Saturday mornings from 9:30 a.m. until noon from Memorial Day through Labor Day or by appointment.

“The school shares the important role country schools played in educating rural students and bringing together farm families,” said Welch-Streed. “This school is preserved and interpreted to the 1920’s era, and it is an outstanding example of historic preservation.”

Through a network of sites, programs and events, Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area tells the story of farm life and agribusiness — past and present.

Visitors can learn about and experience agriculture at a variety of museums, historic sites, and farms. One of 63 federally designated heritage areas in the nation, Silos & Smokestacks is a member of the National Park Service National Heritage Area System. The heritage area covers 37 counties in the northeast quadrant of Iowa. To plan your visit or to learn more, visit the Silos & Smokestacks website HERE.

Moline-based filmmakers Tammy and Kelly Rundle have spent years documenting the painstaking restoration of the schoolhouse.

Emmy award-winning filmmakers Tammy and Kelly Rundle’s new feature-length documentary “Resurrecting Forest Grove” will premiere for the 150th anniversary celebration of Forest Grove School No. 5 on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023 on the Putnam Giant Screen in Davenport.

The film will tell the dramatic true story behind the seemingly impossible task of restoring the Forest Grove one-room school to its 1920s appearance.

Footage and interviews gathered over a seven-year period depict the problems they faced and the solutions they employed as they attempted to bring this rural icon back to life. The surprises and successes of this challenging restoration project are intercut with a vivid historical portrait of the “Roaring ‘20s” in rural America.

The feature-length documentary, “Resurrecting Forest Grove,” will premiere at the Putnam Giant Screen Theater in September 2023, for the one-room school’s 150th anniversary.

The Rundles (who own and operate Moline-based Fourth Wall Films) also produced the 10-minute “Remembering Forest Grove,” which can be seen in the schoolhouse.

It highlights the history of education in the nation, one-room schools in Iowa, on-camera interviews with former teachers and students of Forest Grove, and concludes with a visual summary of the successful seven-year restoration spearheaded by our local dedicated volunteers.

More details about the documentary screening tickets, special events, and more will be posted on the film website HERE. For more information about the school site, visit the Forest Grove website HERE