One-room Schoolhouses

In the 19th century, when kids had to walk to get to school, it wasn’t practical to have a single central school for an entire town–some kids would have had to walk four miles or more to get there and four miles or more to get home. Instead, most townships had several one-room schoolhouses, so that few students would have to walk more than a mile or two to get to school. These schoolhouses became obsolete with the 20th century and the invention of the school bus; most of them were closed and eventually rotted or burned or were torn down, but a few survive.

Growstown Schoolhouse, Brunswick, ME Built 1849, at the corner of Church Road and Woodside Road.

Durgintown Schoolhouse, Hiram, ME  A fairly decrepit 19th-century schoolhouse, privately owned, near the top of Durgintown Road in South Hiram.

Snowville Schoolhouse, Eaton, NH At the corner of Drew Hill Road and the Brownfield Road in Snowville. Converted to a private residence.

Eaton Schoolhouse, Eaton, NH Just uphill from the center of Eaton on Glines Hill Road. A cute schoolhouse in decent shape, dating from c. 1819.

Mason Schoolhouse, Eaton, NH c. 1850  Near the top of Glines Hill Road. Converted (and expanded) into a private residence.

Maple Grove schoolhouse, Madison, NH c. 1820  At the corner of East Madison Road and Maple Grove Road. Now a private residence.

Madison Schoolhouse, Madison, NH  A red schoolhouse, preserved as a historical curiosity directly in front of the modern elementary school in Madison village.

West Ossipee Schoolhouse, Ossipee, NH    A pretty-much-intact schoolhouse by the junction of Rte. 16/25 and Newman Drew Rd., right next to a used-car dealer.

Lafayette Road Schoolhouse, Hampton, NH late 1850s   This schoolhouse is now located on Meeting House Green, some distance from its original location on Lafayette Road. But as the Hampton Historical Society’s website points out, “schools were many times moved from one section of the town to another by 3 to 5 oxen as the school population shifted.”

District #2 Schoolhouse, Charlton, MA On Northside Rd., just south of the junction with Stafford St. The only one of Charlton’s one-room schoolhouses still standing and still owned by the town.

Old Sterling Schoolhouse, Sudbury, MA Originally located in Sterling, MA, this schoolhouse now stands in close proximity to the Old Wayside Inn in Sudbury, thanks to Henry Ford’s abortive effort to establish a living-history museum here. He eventually changed his mind and created a museum of Americana in Dearborn, Michigan instead. It’s purportedly the schoolhouse to which Mary’s little lamb followed her in the incident which (purportedly) inspired the popular poem by Sarah Josepha Hale.

Adams Schoolhouse, Easton CT Originally located elsewhere, now on Westport Rd. Built c. 1850.


About Peter Chipman

I'm a lexicographer, an editor, and a lover of language and literature. Also a proud father of two, an occasional bell-ringer, a thirteenth-generation New England Yankee, a former owner of a one-room schoolhouse, and the current owner of a 220-year-old farmhouse.
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