the Stone Academy sits on the side of the road north of Iowa City on the way to Dubuque – easy to miss but by far the most interesting roadside historic mark on that stretch of road. (all the others are just signs – a physical structure always beats just signs.) that route, highway 1, was the stagecoach route between burgeoning Iowa City and Dubuque, as well as part of the longer Montreal-Mexico trail. plenty of westward-moving settlers enjoyed putting down roots near a well-traveled road. at the time, Native Americans had not yet been shunted out of eastern Iowa and still lived in camps along the stagecoach route and within site of the school building. built in 1842, before Iowa became a state, the school remained in operation until 1953. the stones for the building were quarried on the east bank of the Cedar River, ferried, and hauled two miles to construct the schoolhouse. students attending the school came from nearby farms and homesteads and varied widely in age; some young men, otherwise considered “too old” for school, would attend during the winter as it provided a diversion between harvest and planting. today, it’s shuttered but maintained, well off main routes of travel – unless you’re going from Dubuque to Iowa City.