One-Room Schoolhouse 360 Tour

Outside 360 image

Bald Hill One Room Schoolhouse

The 1850 Bald Hill Schoolhouse, located on Horseblock Road in Farmingville, New York, is the oldest one-room schoolhouse in the area. The one-room Greek Revival building was built in a style that expressed local nationalism, importance of education, and civic virtue. The 1850 Schoolhouse served the community of Farmingville and Holtstville from 1850 to 1929.

Terry House

The Terry House was built in 1823 by Elijah Terry for his bride, Caroline. Elijah Terry, the first Schoolmaster in Farmingville, resided at this house.  In the 1980s, the Terry House was relocated next door to the Bald Hill Schoolhouse to preserve and restore its history.


Gardens were often created near one-room schoolhouses. They were maintained by the teachers, and sometimes students, to supply extra food for the students and teacher.  They also grew extra food and herbs for medicinal purposes for the students and teacher. 


The woodshed held the wood for the potbelly stove lcoated inside the one-room schoolhouse. The stove was the only source of heat to keep the teacher and students warm. As part of their chores, male students would help bring in wood to keep the stove fire burning all day.

Chicken Coop

Agriculture was the primary source of income in Farmingville and the surrounding areas in the 1850s. Raising chickens for eggs and food were an important source of nutrition and income.


There were two outhouses lcoated behind the one-room 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 chemical toilets.

Inside the One-Room Schoolhouse


On the left side of the larger blackboard is the original blackboard withwide wooden boards made from thick porcelain-based paint. This was later replaced by the black slate board.  Chalk was first used in 1801.


In the one-room Schoolhouse, the teacher or ‘schoolmarm’ was the principal, custodian, nurse, disciplinarian, counselor and occasionally the cook. Teachers were as young as 16 in some cases, not much older than the oldest student.

Water Crock

As part of the morning chores, students would go outside to get water from the well. The water was poured in a water crock for the class to use for drinking throughout the day.

Mary Terry Photo

Mary Terry was a descendent of Elijah Terry. She followed in his teaching footsteps and was a teacher in the One-Room Schoolhouse. In this photo from 1900, Mary is wearing a hat typical of the period. Ladies were expected to wear hats.

President Millard Fillmore

Millard Fillmore, a member of the Whig Party, was the 13th President of the United States from 1850-1853. He became President during a critical time when the issue of slavery between the North and South was intensifying. By approving the Compromise of 1850, Fillmore delayed the Civil War for over 10 years.

Dunce Stool

Discipline was strict! When rules were broken, there were several forms of punishment. A dunce cap and stool were used as one form of punishment.

President George Washington

George Washington was the first American President, Commander of the Conttinental Army, President of the Constitutional Convention, and a gentleman planter. Washington was born at his father’s Virginia plantation in 1732 and died in 1799.

Schoolhouse Clock

School house clocks were the standard design for early North American school houses because of their larger, easy to read dials. The term school house clock was not what they were called at the time. It was later named by collectors.


When looking at the globe, the United States looked very different in 1850.  There are 31 states. However, the Oregon Territory, Minnesota Territory, New Mexico Territory and the Unorganized Territory were larger in mass than the 31 states.


Since books were scarce, pages from available books were removed and mounted on wood paddles called hornbooks to help with education. 


Rural buildings were often constructed with available, local materials.  Pine trees were used to build the Bald Hill Schoolhouse, most notable in the flooring.

Teacher’s Desk

The Teacher’s Desk was located at the front of the room. Supplies were kept inside the desk. The bell, pen, and ink well were often located on the desk.

Elijah Terry

Elijah Terry was born in 1787. As the first Farmingville Schoolmaster, he began teaching classes in his father’s home. He died in 1850, the year the Bald Hill Schoolhouse opened.

Potbelly Stove

The potbelly stove is a cast iron, round, wood-burning stove with a bulge in the middle. The name is derived from the resemblance of the stove to a fat man’s potbelly. They were used for heating large rooms and were often found in one-room schoolhouses. The flat top of the fireplace allowed for cooking food or heating water. The buckets to the left are caleld scuttles and are used to remove cold coals from the stove before a new fire could be started.

Teacher’s Dress

Teachers wore a corded petticoat, whic was not so full, but still kept the skirt away from the body, as modestly made it important that the form under a dress was suitably concealed. She would wear sturdy flat shoes or boots, and her long hair would be gathered up into a bun.

Lunch & Milk Pail

In the early 1800s, children brought their lunch in either a tin pail or box, lard pail, recycled biscuit tins, or the lunch was simply wrapped in a cloth. Some students brought soup for lunch and put it on the stove to keep warm. Baked potatoes were often heated on the stove to warm cold hands as well as provide hot lunch on a cold day.


Paper and books were difficult to get. Textbooks were often shared. The demand for books in the 1850s and skyrocketing paper prices during the Civil War brought about the advances of paper-making and availability of books in mid 19th Century.

Slate Boards/Slate Pencils

A slate board is a small, rectangular blackboard made from slate stone. The edges were wrapped in leather or wood to minimize the noise made by the boards on the desks. Slates were the primary tool for students because paper nad ink were expensive. Slate pencils were made of soapstone or softer pieces of slate rock. These were later replaced by chalk. Small pieces of rags left over from old garments or sweing were used to erase chalkboards.

School Desks

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 replaced with double-wide and metal desks nailed to the floor.

Foot Warmer

Foot warmers were metal boxes in a wood frame and were used to warm the teacher who’s seat was located the furthest from the stove. Coals were placed inside the foot warmer to create the heat source.

Dip Pen & Ink Well

Students and teachers did not use pencils. In addition to the slate pencils and chalk, dip pens and nib pens with ink wells were often used. The ink was made from the ink berry which is a wild bush still found in the wooded areas today.

School Bell

The School bell was held by the teacher to call kids into school. It is made of thick and solid heavy brass and has a hardwood handle. The bell sound resonated for a long distance.

1850 American Flag

There are 30 stars on the 1850 American flag. California was added September 9, 1850, making it the 31st state to be added to the Union. Since stars are only added to the American flag once a year on the 4th of July, California’s star was not added until July 4, 1851.

School Subjects

Teachers had to educate students in grades 1-8 in the following subjects: Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, History, Grammar, Rhetoric, Geography & Bible Studies.