- Grant Recipient
- 40 Sacks Rd, Harris, NY 12742, USA
- 41.715508, -74.726891
Town of Thompson
Before education was mandatory in New York State, many counties and churches built school houses for primary education. The passage of the “Act to secure to children the benefits of elementary education” on May 11, 1874, required parents to enroll any children under the age of 14 in primary education under penalty of fines and possible loss of custody if they consistently refused to comply with the law. The act also prohibited the employment of children between the ages of 8 and 14 years old during any school hours. (Laws of the State of New York, 1874) This further spurred the construction of many schools. But due to the lack of infrastructure and the more basic curriculums of the time, schools did not start off as the centralized K-12 school districts we know today. Instead, one room schools with a single teacher instructing a mixed-age group of students were the norm. Sullivan County constructed a number of one room school houses beginning in the mid-19th century into the early 20th century, and in 1900 the county was one of the few in New York State that received more money from the state government for education, $24,430, than it paid towards the state. (Sullivan County Record, 1900) Most of these schools closed in the 1940s or ‘50s as modern school districts were consolidated.
The site for this schoolhouse was originally sold for $100 by local owners in 1917 to Common School District #8 of Thompson, NY, erroneously referred to as the “Board of Education of Thompson” in the Sullivan County deed. After the school had closed, the trustees of the former school district sold the building to the Italian American Club of Sullivan County for a nominal one dollar in 1961. This later indenture clarified the error from the original deed.