If you attended fifth grade in Sunnyside School in its first year of operation, you would probably have been born 100 years ago.
I wasn’t able to go inside, but I was told that the school had one room upstairs with a big black blackboard, not a green chalkboard or a white plastic dry erase marker board. Some of us may remember “black” boards and white chalk, in the days before green chalkboards and yellow, sightsaving chalk.
The full basement was also used as a classroom for a short time. The school accommodated as many grades as there were children of various ages. As you can guess from the surrounding area, the children would most likely have been future farmers, doing a job that most people wouldn’t have a clue about, but one that feeds the nation.
The pole in front of the school most likely flew the stars and stripes every day. I wonder whose job it was to hoist it?
The smaller add-on structure at the back of the school had me wondering as to its purpose, but I think I have it figured out. Outdoor plumbing?
I see that the school has a chimney for a coal-burning stove that would have heated the immediate area and not much beyond it. I don`t imagine the walls of the building had much in the way of insulation.
Before cars or a school bus system became common, many children from the outlying farms got a ride to school in a wagon pulled by a horse. On cold winter days, heated rocks were placed in the wagon for the kids to sit on to keep warm. Some students rode a horse to school. After putting their horses into the barn that once existed next to the school, children would most likely take off their boots and put on a pair of shoes or slippers. They’d hang their coats on hooks on the wall near the stove, or maybe ask permission to keep them on if their desks were near the back of the room where it was cooler.
Several desks in a row; attached to metal tracks were often used in those days. Remember the kind that had the tops that lifted up (and annoyed the teacher to no end when they “accidentally” dropped)?
Remember the hole in the right-hand corner of the desktop for the ink bottle?
Here are some other old schools in the area:
In the school where I taught a long time ago (not this one), the full basement could be used as a play area when it was too cold to go outside at break time. The exception would be if the basement happened to be used as a classroom at the time. Even so, the desks could be pushed to the sides of the room, leaving a lot of floor space available for playing card games or jacks. Remember that game? Mostly it was the girls who played jacks, but some boys were good at it too.
I didn’t teach 100 years ago, but my first teaching job was at a “newer” one-room school that had been built beside an old one-room school that had been closed for years already. Here is a photo of the old Westholme School.
It made me feel rather ancient when I heard that this school was declared a heritage building. On the bright side, I was only 20 when I started teaching at the school next door. I didn’t know much then, but oh, to be 20 again and know what I know now.
I’m heading home from Montana so will respond to comments later. Please do leave your thoughts on my blog though. I love to hear from you.