- Grant Recipient
- 398 Fraser Road, Thompson, NY
- 41.68347, -74.663273
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.
In 1858, this site was originally sold for $20 by Hannah Bailey to School District #11, represented by trustee David Bailey, with a stipulation in the deed that the property be used for a school. In 1900, local Kiamesha Lake taxpayers met to discuss a proposal for a new building, however it was instead decided to repair the existing one. (Sullivan County Record, 1900) A former student who attended in the 1920’s, stated that the last teacher of the school was Mabel Woods. Woods was born in 1899 and died in 1986. (Headstone, Evergreen Cemetery, Bethel, NY)
After the Kiamesha School had closed, the property had reverted to the heirs of its original owner, Hannah Bailey. In 1952 Kenneth Bailey, trustee of School District #11, purchased the rights to the property for $200. This indenture also nullified the reversion clause from its original deed which stipulated the use of the property for a school, changing it to a fee simple title.
The property changed hands again in 1966 when the Kiamesha Lake Property Owners Association purchased the site of the former Kiamesha schoolhouse from Central School District #1 of Thompson, NY for $4,100.