ONE ROOM SCHOOL
- Grant Recipient
- 6503 Ramos Road, Lowville, NY
- 43.764523, -75.461232
Martinsburg Historical Society
Along with the establishment of rural communities in Lewis County came the need for an education system to provide children with basic learning necessities. Martinsburg was one such town that formed in 1803. One of their first one room schoolhouses was built circa 1804 (A History of Lewis County, Franklin B. Hough, 1860).
Generally, a one room school house served 12 to 30 families living within a six to seven mile radius. (“America’s One-Room Schools,” International Journal of Historical Archaeology 21, Beisaw and Baxter, 2017). The District 4 one room schoolhouse, or Martinsburg School District Country Schoolhouse, was established in November of 1831 by the Common Schools Commission (“Town Book for Commissioners of Common Schools,” Town of Martinsburg, NY). It was a wooden building located northeast from Martinsburg’s town center. Typically schools were set on their own acre of land and it was not unusual for that land to be donated by a landowner who lived outside of town and did not want his own children to have a lengthy walk (“Fox and Geese in the School Yard,” In Hard at Play: Leisure in America, 1840-1940, Kathryn Grover, ed., 1992).
The District 4 schoolhouse remained operational until 1958 when it was closed (The Journal and Republican, 12 Jun 1958). The remaining students were transferred to neighboring schools such as Lowville Academy and Central School (Letter from Dawn Lehman to Nelson Schwartzentruber, Martinsburg Historical Society, 2016). In a November 1962 deed, the land and premises “formerly occupied by Common School District #4 in the Town of Martinsburg” were sold by the Lowville Central Schools to a private individual (Quit-Claim Deed, Lewis County, NY Clerk’s Office, 23 Nov 1962).
Fifty years later, in January 2013, the Martinsburg Historical Society purchased the schoolhouse and land, “formerly occupied by Existing Common School District #4 of the Town of Martinsburg” (Bargain and Sale Deed, Lewis county, NY Clerk’s Office, 16 Jan 2013). Since then, the Historical Society has been on a mission to restore the one room schoolhouse. In the spring of 2013, volunteers cleaned out the building, repainted the roof, located original playground swings and accepted donations to furnish the schoolhouse (Martinsburg Historical Society website, 2015).