- Grant Recipient
- 854 Anawana Lake Road, Thompson, NY
- 41.719981, -74.678187
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 original lease for School District #18 of Thompson, Columbia Hill, dates from 1838. The property was finally purchased by School District #17 of Thompson on November 24, 1903 from Howard Durland and his wife for a nominal $25. The deed also contained a clause stipulating that the property would revert to its original owners if the school ceased to operate. One former student of the school stated that the last teacher was Everesta Rourke, and the school closed in 1941. The property was later sold on January 7, 1957 to another owner by Harry and Raymond Durland, who inherited it from Howard Durland after it had reverted to him when the school closed, according to a Sullivan County deed.