- Grant Recipient
- 474 Route 17B, Thompson, NY
- 41.670094, -74.741376
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 Maplewood one room schoolhouse was in use from as early as 1848. That year, trustees of School District #6 of Thompson, NY bought the site for use as school, apparently to replace another previous schoolhouse. The Maplewood School closed in 1947, with its students to attend the Monticello High school the following year. Its last teacher was Alice Kitz. (Republican Watchman, 1947)
Other teachers included Carrie Trowbridge, who took over the school in 1909 after the previous instructor, Nellie Vaughn resigned to pursue another occupation. (Republican Watchman, 1909) One former trustee of the school, Sanford Ostrom, later ran for local District Attorney in 1926. (Republican Watchman, 1926) Sullivan County Judge George L. Cooke, who died in 1959, was another former teacher at the Maplewood and Kiamesha schools. (Proceedings, Village of Monticello Court House, 1959)
The school’s property was sold in 1956 by the trustees of School District #6 to a realty company for a nominal one dollar, and the Sullivan County deed notes that the school had been closed for many years and the property had fallen into disrepair.