1850 One Room Schoolhouse

The 1850 Bald Hill One Room Schoolhouse, located on Horseblock Road in Farmingville, was the first one-room schoolhouse in Farmingville, Long Island, New York. It served the Farmingville and Holtsville communities.  The one-room Greek Revival 1850 Schoolhouse served the community of Farmingville from 1850 to 1929.

The Schoolhouse was heated by a pot-bellied stove that was fed with cordwood. Older boys were responsible to feed the stove during the day. Children brought their lunch in either a tin pail or a tin box, a cane basket box, or the lunch was simply wrapped in a cloth. Some students would bring soup for lunch and put it on the stove to keep warm. Baked potatoes were often heated on the stove to serve to warm cold hands as well as provide hot lunch on a cold day.

There were two outhouses behind the Schoolhouse; one for boys and one for girls. After the invention of chemical toilets, the outhouses were replaced with a small addition to the rear of the Schoolhouse containing the chemical toilets.

The Schoolhouse was originally furnished with long wooden benches for seating. Students rotated to the front of the class when it was their turn to take lessons. Older pupils sat facing desks attached to the wall. Toward the end of the century-long benches were replace with double-wide wood and metal desks nailed to the floor.

A water crock held drinking water for the students who brought their own drinking cups from home. Older boys were responsible to fill the water crock each day. Recollections of former students, Elmer Fogerty and George Holms tell the story of frogs being put into the well to scare the girls. They also tell of the harsh punishments they received by their teacher for their pranks.

Education focused on reading, writing, arithmetic, and morals through stories and the Bible. Memorization was important for spelling bees. The rules were to be on time, do your homework, be quiet, do as you were expected to do, not speak unless you were spoken to, and the 3 most important words were to OBEY THE TEACHER. Teachers had to be strict to show the strength of character or the unruly boys would take advantage.

Teachers who did not live locally would room within student homes. 11 teachers lived in Farmingville through the years.

In later years, the children pledged the Allegiance to the Flag and prayed each morning. Bible readings were also held as the Bible was used for many lessons. The students of the one-room schoolhouse were probably better prepared to read the literary works of writers such as Walt Whitman. Operas, hymns, and Greek choruses were a normal part of general education.

Click on the link for a one-page document describing the 1850 Schoolhouse:  1850 Bald Hill School House

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