Icons of our Heritage


Front Cover


Back Cover


While this is primarily a book of photographs, the text and captions communicate the roles that Country Churches, One-Room Schools, Water Powered Mills and Covered Bridges played in the development of our nation.

The “stories” associated with many of the structures add interest to the history. The spirits of our ancestors were nurtured in country and small village churches. In their churches they found what they needed to deal with staggering adversities. Teachers in small schools, with limited resources, provided young people with what they needed to earn a living and cope with life. Water powered mills supplied pioneers in isolated rural communities with the necessities of life. Covered Bridges provided a means for getting people and products to market and linked communities. All made significant contributions to the social and economic development of our country.

The book includes over 200 color photographs of structures in 20 states. Some have been restored to pristine condition. Some have sadly deteriorated. All have related stories, but most of the stories have been lost. The stories that have survived, and are included with some of the photographs, help us appreciate who we are, what we have accomplished and the riches we have inherited. If we lose sight of our past, we lose our ability to intelligently create our future.

How to Purchase

Table of Contents

  • Introduction 1
  • Country Churches 3
  • One-Room Schools 8
  • Water Powered Mills 18
  • Covered Bridges 25
  • Photographs 30-214
  • Bibliography 215


Icons of Our Heritage is a glimpse into the past, with connection to the here and now.The country churches, one-room schools, water powered mills, and covered bridges featured in the stunning photos and accompanying information are still here for us to appreciate, thanks to those who lovingly restore those priceless pieces of history. Larry Shirer has traveled throughout the United States to capture these glimpses for us to enjoy and be inspired by. This book is rich in history, compiled in an inviting and easily readable volume.”

- Jane Braddock, Librarian