Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Saturday, February 6, 2016

School. House.

Millie Morton's talk at our Friends of Glanmore meeting this week has me thinking about one-room schools. I have always appreciated  how often one-room schools have been repurposed as homes, with varying degrees of success.

 I may have talked about this before. It's surprising how often I photograph them. Likely because there is some 'resonance', some memory of my lovely 7 years (I skipped a grade, as they used to say) in my one-room school house. Here are a few favourites.

This is the old 'Union School' (1855 - 1966) in Mountainview, PEC, across from the pioneer cemetery. The maple leaf wire fence borders a truly lovely spot, sloping to the woods, comfortably filled with early grave markers. I spent a precious hour with my lost friend Judy and her daughter Vicky, and remember them whenever I climb the escarpment (once called Young's Mountain) along the recently improved (not half so exciting) road. 

I couldn't get close enough to have a really good look at their renovation, but love the windows. The scale of the place, wide and solid, and the lawn cosied into the bank would have made a comfortable school and schoolyard- and look to have made a great home. A photo in the exceptional 7th Town/Ameliasburgh Past and Present (7th Town Historical Society, 1984) confirms there were windows in the facade. They and the porch have been faithfully restored.

This glimpse through a woods darkly captures what may be the best feature of the school-house at Bowerman's Corners. I can't find out much about the school in this 'ghost' community, but a visit to QEMA (Quinte Educational Museum and Archives) planned for this summer should change all that.
Victoria Schoolhouse

This schoolhouse is not a home, but I want to include it. This is the old Victoria Schoolhouse at the Ameliasburgh Historical Museum and Pioneer Village. QEMA is nearby in the lovingly restored Ameliasburgh Town Hall  nearby.
Its giftshop offers this lovely book, a carefully researched history of a rural community and its school from the early 1800s to 1966 (can you say 'consolidation'?)

Rather a lot of links, but all reliable, and a good way to share the work of dedicated local historians. A lot of history was made, and recorded in the 7th Town.

Finally, this lovely  school to home conversion, one of the reasons for the current spate of one-room school-house posts. This  is No. 8 Wellman's School.

We paused there for a visit on the 2014 Hastings County Historical Society ghost town bus tour.

 I intend to write more about the community of Wellman's Corners, but for now, I'll let you know that this was one of the schools where Millie Morton's mother Grace taught in the 1930s.

Her comments on first seeing the school: "Grace was pleased to see how modern it was - separate entrance doors for boys and girls and divided cloakrooms. Six large windows on the south side of the classroom provided excellent lighting and there were more slate blackboards than she had ever seen in a classroom...A wooden cabinet held several dozen books. There were even first aid supplies.

She looked out at the very large playground, lots of room for children to run around. There were two outdoor privies behind the school...Water for drinking or washing was carried from the well at the Johnson's home - the boarding place very close by." (from Grace by Millie Morton, self-published, 2013. Page 89)


  1. I've always loved that Mountainview area. I remember older people telling us stories about how the air base was used in the war. I also recall the wreckage of a plane that had crashed. It sat alongside Highway 62 (near County Road 4) for the longest time. At one time, Bell Telephone had some of their equipment in one of the houses just south of the church at Mountainview (until the early 1950s), back when people had to call the operator for calls. You've mentioned the improved road. What have they done? Repair the potholes? The last time I was down it (and I love that winding stretch), it was quite bumpy.

  2. Haven't been up since it was fixed. When I was there taking these photos, we all had a great chat with the road crew. Road was closed then, so don't know. I expect it's smoother and wider. Telephone - you may be thinking of the Sprague Telephone Company? There until 1954.