An open house will be held at the restored Scandia one-room school and Family Farm Heritage Museum on Saturday, Aug. 10, from 1 to 4 p.m. Guides from Elk Township Historical Society will be on hand to explain exhibits and answer questions.
The wooden school was built in the 1870s at the foot of the Coal Bed Road and dragged on skids by horses to its present location at Scandia corners. As more young farm families settled in the area, the little one-room school became inadequate to meet the demand and a second, slightly larger, room was added. A large wooden outhouse, one area for girls and one for boys, stood nearby. As there was no running water in the school, a basin and cloth towel sufficed for hand washing, and each child had his own tin cup for drinking water from a pail with a dipper. Several of these cups were found under the building during restoration and are on display.
When the restoration process began just after the turn of the 21st century, the original one-room school room was a modern computer lab with a myriad of wires and conduits. When one of the 4 x 8 foot wall panels was removed, the original "blackboard" was revealed with a chalk lesson still in place, as seen in the accompanying photograph. A "blackboard" is literally wallboards painted with black paint on which to write with chalk. Needless to say, the astonished volunteer workers quickly covered this treasure from the past with clear acrylic panels to preserve its message.
More than a century of enrollment records are on display for visitors to examine. These list the pupil's name and age, the teacher's name and salary and the curriculum, including textbooks, for that year.
At one time there were at least a dozen one-room schools in Elk Township serving their neighborhoods. At that time, attending school was not required; instead it was a privilege.