Tuesday, December 27, 2011

An old school

When I drive the roads along the Ohio River, I sometimes look for buildings that might have been old country stores or old schools. Sometimes, they're the same building.

Today as I drove Ohio Route 7 in southern Gallia County, I looked at a couple of old buildings that were schools until early 1961 -- about 51 years ago. This first one was the old Swan Creek Rural School.

As you can see, it's a barn now. A similar school, on Bladen Road about a mile off Route 7, remains closer to its original condition. It was the old Bethel Rural School.

I'm kind of fond of these buildings because I attended the first half of first grade in one of these schools. They were three-room schools with grades 1 through 8. At Bethel, 1 and 2 were in the room in the back. One of the front rooms had 3-4-5, with the other holding 6-7-8. There was one teacher per room.

The Bethel school has all three chimneys standing, although you can't tell from this angle.

The principal marked recess beginning and ending by ringing a hand bell. Water came from a well that you pumped manually. The restroom ... well, at Bethel it was the outhouse up on the hill.

I don't know much about the architecture of these buildings, although I am told there were several of this design in Ohio. And I don't know when they were built, but I assume they've been empty longer than they were occupied.

Because I had Adam kind of late in life, I'm probably the last person who attended these schools who would have a child in one if they were open today and if we lived in that area.

Nostalgic? Do I wish my kids could have spent some time attending one of these schools? Not a bit. But I am glad I have some memories of them.

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