Churches nurtured the spirits of our ancestors and kept them going in the face of adversity. The rural church, with its steeple or belfry, was more than a picturesque feature of the countryside; it was a vital part of American life. Churches established the moral tone of the community and brought communities together. Teachers in one-room schools, with limited tools and resources, educated the bulk of American students for over 150 years. With limited resources, these teachers provided young people with what they needed to earn a living and cope with life. Water powered mills ushered in the industrial revolution and once supplied a nation of isolated rural communities with the necessities of life. Covered bridges provided practical solutions to getting people, livestock, and products across streams and rivers and reflected the peoples' penchant for building things that last. Water powered mills and covered bridges made often forgotten, but significant, contributions to the economic and social development of our country. Reflecting on the contributions of those responsible for these institutions to the development of the nation helps develop a perspective of who Americans are, what they have accomplished, and what they can accomplish.