Schoolhouse dedication


To view the dedication ceremony brochure CLICK HERE

By Roger Austin. From theSept - Oct 2014 Newsletter

No. 12 Schoolhouse from the Town of LeRay was rededicated during Old Fashioned Harvest Days, celebrating its restoration after four years of hard work. The building was donated to the Museum by the Indian River Central School District in 2010. It was originally located about five miles south of the village of Philadelphia. It had been donated to the District and moved there in 1990 by Champion International Corporation.

Over a hundred members and friends attended the dedication. Secretary Roger Austin welcomed all. Chair of Friends of the Schoolhouse, Judy Liscum, introduced distinguished guests and recognized the large number of people present who had taught at or attended small country schools. Austin then reviewed the course of the restoration. He then introduced Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell who had informed the Museum of the building’s availability in 2009. Jim Reagan spoke on behalf of New York State Senator Patty Ritchie. He was followed by Frank J. Laverghetta, President of the Board of Education of the Indian River Central School District and Tony Cooper, Supervisor, Town of Madrid, each making comments.

Use of the Schoolhouse will be promoted by Friends of the Schoolhouse. A range of curricula will be prepared to encourage use by local schools. Programs could be from 30 minutes to a full day. Subjects could be limited to a country school experience or be expanded to interpretive tours of the entire facility. Discussions are underway with the Madrid-Waddington Central School District. More districts will be contacted as programs are developed. More Friends are needed as hosts and guides, for maintenance and cleaning, and assisting with final construction details. If interested, please contact Judy Liscum at

The Schoolhouse, circa 1850, was probably built after the “free school” act had been passed. The Schoolhouse appeared on maps in 1855. It continued in use until closing in 1915, due to the US Army expanding its facilities in 1913 and incorporating much of the land that is now Ft. Drum. The names of a few former students are known through contacts with their children and grandchildren and graffiti on the wall. Apparently no school records exist.

When acquired in 2010, the roof had failed. The ceiling had begun to collapse, the floor was failing and growing fungus, and birds nested between the windows and the boards that covered them. To move it to the Museum, the walls were separated from the rotted sills. The sides were stacked on a truck and carried to the Museum. New pillars and a floor were constructed, and the walls were stiffened and erected. A new roof completed the work. Work on windows began in 2012.The clapboard siding and windows were repaired or replaced in 2013. In 2014, old trim was joined with duplicated pieces to decorate the soffit, fascia and crown. Original floor and ceiling boards were installed in the vestibule. New boards were used to complete the main room. To accommodate those with walking disabilities a rear door has been built. An electric lift will be placed at the rear door when funds permit.

The interior walls are largely as found. They were washed to remove dirt and grime and coated with a clear sealer. Every effort was made to preserve the carved and drawn graffiti, and the dents and dings seen are original.

The relocation and restoration of Schoolhouse No. 12 has been made possible by the efforts of paid contractors, the loan of heavy equipment, and the hard work of Museum members and friends.