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The Little Red Schoolhouse of Mohawk, New York
There is a story here and a life time of memories in this little one room schoolhouse.
As a young child, Lady Lilly and some of the other children in her family (11) attended classes at this school in Mohawk, New York. Just recently I presented the photo of the schoolhouse. Lady Lilly hesitated a moment and then said " that is my school!" "The boy's would have to go to the school an hour or so early when it became cold so that they could start the wood stove before the teacher and students arrived." At times books would have to be shared as there were not enough to go around.
Seeing that there were many kids in her family, I said with a smile "I guess that most of the children were her brothers and sisters." Lady Lilly glanced at me and giggled. Lady Lilly recalled her teacher lived about a mile away from the school. The teacher taught her how to do tatting, crochet, knitting and needlework. Crochet is my favorite past time.
The twinkle in her eyes was enough to tell me that she had very fond memories of her teacher and the little red schoolhouse./jc
The old Plank Road School District No. 7 of the Town of Mohawk. It was closed in 1949. The exact age of the school is not known but it was built before 1870. At the turn of the century it was renovated and paneled throughout. A new floor was laid. It was moved here in June, 1973 from the southwest corner of Route 30A and Old Trail Road. It was a sad sight without its roof, which was removed to get under wires along Old Trail Road. It was placed upon a new foundation of cement blocks.
After standing without a roof the first winter the BOCES building trades classes replaced the roof as part of their training in 1974. School children helped with scraping and painting the exterior in 1975. A flea market was held to secure additional funds. New siding was put on the back and many boards replaced in other areas. This was done in 1977. Unfortunately in 1978 the main beam supporting the roof broke and had to be braced. This required a contractor. Application was made to the America the Beautiful Fund and a grant of $2,000 was received. Before the beam could be repaired the entire ceiling had to be ripped out. The work was done by the Youth Employment Training program of BOCES.
Power was brought into the school in 1978. Things were pretty much at a standstill for a few years. Mr. Crane, Chairman of the project, died May 30, 1981 never to see the fulfillment of his dream. His wife, Arda Crane, was determined to see the project completed and enlisted the aid of area residents. Many memorial gifts were received and a contractor was hired to repair the beam and replace the ceiling in 1982. Shutters were made by the Green Thumb groups in St. Johnsville and painted and hung by our FFCS shop class.
The contractor reported that the stringers and west sill needed to be replaced as the building was not safe to hold groups of visitors. He would do the work.
Another auction was held to secure more funds in 1982 and by 1983 we were finally able to start work on scraping and painting the interior. Many volunteers helped evenings. The committee decided to paint the school red with white trim and by 1984 it lived up to its name.
Old desks were installed and stored furnishings moved in. Blackboards to replace those that had been stolen were installed and a "potbellied" stove was located. Boxes of old books and memorabilia have been unpacked and organized.
The cloak rooms have been set up to display memorabilia from the early high schools before centralization. The school has been freshly painted and many carpentry jobs completed by a special volunteer this summer.
The final project, the bell tower, is under construction and will be an added attraction. It will contain the bell which was removed from the Winnie District School, Town of Glen, and given to the school by John H. Starin in 1983.
In 1985 we dedicate this Little Red Schoolhouse Museum to Millard Crane, who had a dream. Excerpted from the Dedication of The Little Red School House � 1997 Fonda-Fultonville Central School (Fonda, N.Y.)
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