When you lived in a rural area say before 1950, in most parts of the US, you didn't hop on the school bus and ride miles to your local town school. At first, in the early years your family had horses and a wagon to get around. Then later you had a tractor and maybe a car. But your father drove the car to work. When your brothers and sisters and you went anywhere on your own, you "WALKED': That is why we had THE COUNTRY SCHOOL!
The country school was generally a one room wood framed building about 24' by 36' with entrance on the front, big front door with many windows for light. With a wood or coal stove right in the middle of the floor. You had one teacher teaching kindergarten through the 6th grade. And maybe 15 to 30 children in each building.
The teacher was also the custodian. The boys would stock the woodstove and the girls would help the cleaning. The restrooms were called OUTHOUSES. They were outback behind the school. Each little building was about 5' by 5'. There was one for boys and one for girls. There was a bench with a hole in it to sit on. There was no water in the outhouse.
Each school had a hand water pump on the outside of the building. You pumped the water into a bucket and carried it into the back door of the school. There you set it on a table to wash your hands in a wash basin and
used a dipper to drink from.
On the roof of every school was a little mini-building called a cupola. Hanging in the cupola was the "SCHOOL BELL': A rope was attached to the bell and ran down through the roof to the entrance at floor level where the lucky pupil of the day got to RING it signaling the start of the school day.
This particular bell in front of you, came from "Henderson School". It was located on the corner of Henderson and Crawford Rds. It was donated to the Otisville Museum by area resident ROD GOOCH. Thank You Mr. Gooch.
Otisville area country schools were located mainly on Irish Rd. and Henderson Rds. about every 3 miles throughout the countryside from Lake Rd. south to Stanley Rd. (Forest Twp. to Richfield Twp.) with the exception of Miller School at M-15 and Mt. Morris Rd., Whitesburg School on Vassar near Dodge Rd. and Delmar School on Willard Rd. Some buildings remain today rebuilt as houses. A nearly complete collage of all the country schools can be viewed in the entrance of the museum. Can you name your teacher from your school?
There were at least two more schools in earlier days. A small school, built by lumberman in the 1850's, on the south end of town was moved in the 1860's 1 mile north of town to a new lumber camp called Huntons Mill. Around 1912, a Weeks District school building was moved
into town and placed along Beecher St. to ease overcrowding.