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One-room Schoolhouses

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medium_3a.georgeville.1.jpgEVERY SECOND CROSSROAD
The Eastern Townships were once dotted with rural schoolhouses. One has only to look at early maps of the area to see that virtually every neighbourhood had one. The typical one-room schoolhouse could be found every mile or two, or at nearly every second crossroad.

Up until well into the last century, there were literally hundreds, if not thousands, of these functional little buildings spread out all across the Townships -- wherever there was a settlement, in fact. In Missisquoi County alone, there were probably close to 200 over the years.(1)

Usually built by the people of the neighbourhood, whose children would be attending class there, these schools were often very simple structures. They were unadorned, purely functional, and built of local materials at hand - usually wood, but occasionally fieldstone or brick. They served their purpose faithfully well into the 1950s in some areas. However, with the advent of a modern centralized educational system and bus transport for children in the countryside, the rural schoolhouse soon became a thing of the past.

medium_missisquoi.3.jpgSome schools were converted into storage sheds for farm equipment. A few became private dwellings (above). Many were too isolated or too tiny, so their uses were limited. These fell into disuse and neglect (like the school pictured to the right), or were simply torn down. Today, however, a surprising number of these little schools remain. Scattered across the Eastern Townships, they are quaint reminders of a simpler time, a time, when we think about it, that is really not so very distant.

A number of one-room schoolhouses have been restored in recent years and converted
to museums or other public buildings. Good examples are the Tibbets Hill School, (Brome County Historical Society), the Little Hyatt School in Milby (Patrimoine-Ascott-Heritage), and the Mansur School in Stanstead East (Stanstead North Women's Institute). There are others, as well.

1) Map showing the location of existing and former schoolhouses in Missisquoi County, Missisquoi Historical Society.