No. 12 Schoolhouse from the Town of LeRay was donated to the St. Lawrence Power & Equipment Museum by the Indian River Central School District in 2010. At that time it stood midway between the villages of Philadelphia, and Evans Mills, NY, not far from its original location. It had been donated to the District and moved there in 1990 by Champion International Corporation to make way for road widening.
The Schoolhouse, circa 1850, was probably built to meet the needs of the community in the mid 19th century when the “free school” act had been passed. The Schoolhouse appeared on maps in 1855. It continued in use until closing in 1915. Perhaps this was due to the US Army expanding its facilities in 1913 and incorporating much of the land that is now Ft. Drum. Many farm families and their children had to move away from the area. The building continued in use until the 1940s when it was closed. The names of a few former students are known through contacts with their children and grandchildren. Apparently, no school records exist.
Though contemporary with the schoolhouse designs seen in Victorian-era pattern books which featured building plans and details of ornamentation, Schoolhouse No. 12 was a simple, vernacular structure with a little refinement. The open, rectangular plan allowed flexibility and helped ensure access to education for a large segment of the rural population.
The structure has a 9.25/12 gable roof, measured 22’6” X 28’8”, and stood 22 feet high. It has six-paneled wooden doors. A lunette decorates the front gable peak. A vestibule at the entrance gives way to the main room through two doors, presumably to separate boys and girls. Closets next to the vestibule are accessible from the classroom.
By 1990, the sills of the abandoned building had failed to cause the side walls to sag well below the height of the cornerstone pillars. The building was moved in one piece and set on a new foundation which supported all the walls on an even footing. The failed roofing had caused much interior water damage. It was re-covered with new wood shingles. The front sill was replaced. Exterior walls were sprayed with white paint to complete the job.
In the 20 years that followed, other priorities drew attention away from Schoolhouse No. 12. When acquired in 2010, the roof had failed again. 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. The first action taken by the Museum was to place a steel roof on top of the shingles. It took three months to dry out the interior. In 2011 the roof was removed, and the walls were separated from the rotted sills. The sides were stacked on a truck and carried to the Museum. New pillars and 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 was replaced in 2013. The two front windows had their sash replaced. 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 and a front porch were installed. An added lunette-styled rear vent joined an open false chimney to provide attic ventilation. New shingles and chimney completed the roof. In the future, an electric lift will be placed at the rear door.
The interior walls are large as found. However, 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. Work remains, so donations are still welcome.
Moving A 150 Year Old School House
August 12th, 2011 — Leray, NY — Two local organizations, The St. Lawrence Power & Equipment Museum and the Northern Empire State Chapter of The Antique Truck Club of America worked together to move the 150-year-old Schoolhouse #12 to the museum site on County Rt. 345 in Madrid, NY. It was acquired by The St. Lawrence Power & Equipment Museum from the Indian River Central School District and was located on State Rt. 11 just south of the Indian River Central School. Assisting in the move were St. Lawrence Power & Equipment members Roger Austin, Wayne Hill, Henry, and Mike Caskinette along with local Amish carpenters. The crane was provided by Mr. Grant Construction and tractor-trailer by Mike Caskinette.
Madrid Delivery — A team of Amish workers and hardy Museum volunteers has been hard at work and delivered the majority of the Schoolhouse to the Museum site August 12th. Many, Many thanks to Mr. Grant Construction.
Acknowledgment of Contributors and Volunteers
This Building was donated by the Indian River Central School District, James Kettrick Superintendent; Frank J. Laverghetta, President of the Board of Education. Its relocation and restoration were made possible by the generosity of members and friends of the St. Lawrence Power & Equipment Museum
Contributors of Goods and Services:
A-1 Porta John, Antwerp – loan of portable toilet Alford Sash & Door, Madrid, Stan and Barbara Alford – window sash fabrication Charles and Helen Alton, Antwerp – fine lumber and copper chimney cover John Burks, Griffin, GA – historical information Mike Caskinette, Norfolk – providing flatbed truck service Reginald and Mary Jean Chester, Lisbon – school bell Maple View Farms, Madrid, Dave Fisher – loan of tractor with forks John and Susan Fregoe, Norfolk – antique bricks LeBerge & Curtis, Canton, Jim Curtis – large fork lift to raise walls Haggett Construction, Norwood, Brian Haggett, Jr. – providing excavating services River House Wares & Restoration, Rensselaer Falls, Kyle Hartman – antique doors Northern Sharpening, Madrid, Gary and Pati Hartson – shaping knives and shaped lumber Mr. Grant Construction, Harrisville, Grant and Kathy Thesier – loan of crane Dale Pitts, Antwerp – providing storage trailer Kenneth Tupper, Canton – providing tractor services Lee Williams, Morley – loan of truck and trailer.
Construction Volunteers :
Charles and Helen Alton, Roger and Carol Austin, Linda Batt, Tom Brothers, Maurice Campbell, Wayne Day, Shirley Dickinson, Harry Gleason, Lee Goolden, Wayne Hill, Gary Hargrave, Eugene and Mary Jones, Myron Langford, Adam Lewis, Judy Liscum, Matt Liscum, Jim McGraw, Bill Pharoah, Mary Rutley, Judi Sanford, Bob Smith, Jim Smith, Ken Tupper, Lee Turner, Carol Venton, Lee and Elizabeth Williams.
Andrea Castle, Mary Jean Chester, Carolyn Sheppard, Sue Dean, Burns Cabinets, Ricky Burns, Bucks Bridge Coots Masonry, Gerald Cootware, Winthrop Countryman Roofing, Eddie Countryman, Antwerp D.D. Construction, Darren Deragon, Massena Enos Hershberger Family, Canton Menno, Jacob and Pete Schwartz, Norfolk.