February 25, 2020

Grand opening set for St. George Schoolhouse

Observer courtesy photos St. George’s Little Red Schoolhouse is nearly restored. A grand opening is set for Sunday.

Observer courtesy photos
St. George’s Little Red Schoolhouse is nearly restored. A grand opening is set for Sunday.

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By Stephanie Choate

Observer staff

After three years of work, the restoration of St. George’s Little Red Schoolhouse is nearly complete.

A grand opening is set for Sunday, June 28 from 2 to 4 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.

 “Senator Jean Ankeney of St. George would be pleased if she were alive as it was her dream that the Little Red Schoolhouse be saved,” said Ginger Isham, a member of the St. George Historic and Conservation Trust’s Board of Directors. “It is on its way to nearly being finished, but we still need funds to complete the work, especially outside.”

Restoring the schoolhouse has been an ongoing community effort.

In 2012, it was moved from Vermont Route 2A to a spot near the St. George town offices. Donations from residents and community members, the town of St. George, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, Simon’s Convenience Stores, the Patrick Foundation, Lois McClure and Mortimer Kaufman, who owns the St. George Villa, have totaled $116,000.

Isham said the group still needs to raise $30,000 to finish insulating, install storm windows, purchase signs and finish landscaping, as well as set money aside for monthly maintenance and electricity costs.

Last weekend, volunteers met to paint, clean floors, move old-fashioned school desks and a teacher’s desk in, hang hooks and arrange books on a bookshelf built by Eagle Scout Jacob Parker—preparing the one-room schoolhouse to take visitors back to the 19th century.

The blackboard features a list of school rules from 1872, including one instructing children to wash their hands, face and feet if they are bare at the end of class. The rules for teachers were stricter. Men were given “one evening each week for courting purposes, or two evenings a week if they go to church regularly.” Those who frequent pool or public halls or were shaved in a barber shop gave “good reason to suspect his worth, intention, integrity and honesty.” Female teachers who married or engaged in “unseemly conduct” were dismissed.

The one-room schoolhouse was built in 1852 and was attended by St. George children until 1965.

Organizers hope to hold library programs in the summer, along with a farmers’ market, organization meetings and other events, including St. George’s Town Meeting.

“St. George has held town meetings at CVU and now (residents) can meet in their own town,” Isham said.

For more information, contact Ginger Isham at 878-4875 or visit www.stgeorgevtschoolhouse.org.

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