One-Room Schoolhouses!

By: Paola Lozano

What did the inside and outside of the schoolhouses look like?

According to George Washington Carver,"[t]he school building was an old log cabin, poorly ventilated, and afforded but little protection from the wrath of the weather. The benches were so very high until the pupils' feet wouldn't reach the floor when sitting on them, and besides this, they (the benches) didn't have any backs on which the pupils could rest." This clearly wasn't very comfortable for the students that attended the school but to them this is all they had. And,"[a]lthough the Bell Hill schoolhouse (in Otisfeid) was in use until 1940, it never had running water or plumbing. It was heated by a stove near the rear of the building."And even though they didn't have much they tried to stay as organized as possible, they used,"[a] small entrance room served as cloakroom and washroom. A shed attached to one side of the schoolhouse contained the privies and the wood supply." And besides all this it wasn't electrified until about 1927.

Where were the schoolhouses?

These one-room schoolhouses were located almost anywhere, anywhere where students needed education. Even a primary resource said,"[l]ike most Maine towns, Otisfield consisted of a number of villages, each with its own school." Most schools were in rural areas of towns and in open fields or lots. Unfortunatly for the students,"[b]efore the automobile were invented, children walked to school, sometimes as far as three miles." But children like George Washington Carver who lived farther had to walk a,"distance of eight miles of trudging over hills, through swamps and sandy bottoms'", just to get to school.

How many students could these schools hold? & What kind of curriculum did they offer?

These class room like environments offered education to about up to 20 students. The picture to your left is of Bell Hill School in Otisfield from about 1910. This was a picture of all the students from that school. Each school only had one teacher, almost all were all female that were unmarried and lived with one of the students' family that lived near by. Although the teachers were very unprepared they offered educations from grades one through eight. But some schools were not as successful as others, for example George Washington Carver finished all the education his school had to offer in a little over a year.

What's the history of one-room schoolhouses?

History on one-room schoolhouses is for the most part the same all around. They were a few school houses around 1830 but most did not start getting built untill around 1840. The reason schoolhouses started to get more popular was because the population in these areas were increasing therefore they built more to support the growing number of students. As mentioned earlier schools didn't ever having electricity or running water but they learned how to over come this and continue to work hard.

My opinion on one-room schoolhouses!

Personally I like the idea of the one-room schoolhouses, they offered education for all of those in need. Education is a big part of who you become later on in life and although the schools were not necessarily professorial or offered good education, they still helped some. I would definitely go to a one-room school house if I had too because they are pretty much one on one education and any education is better than none. Not only that but these one-room schoolhouses seemed very family oriented. They spent a lot of their time together and everyone who went wanted to be there. I would have loved to get a chance to see what the schoolhouse was actually like in action but I'm thankful for have learning so much about them this past week. Cause without these schoolhouses we may not be as advanced in our education today.


  1. Cleveland Public Schools: The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. n.d. Web. 25 September 2012. <>
  2. From Captivity to Fame or The Life of George Washington Carver: Electronic Edition. n.d. Web. 25 September 2012. <>.
  3. Otisfield's One-Room Schoolhouses. n.d. Web. 25 September 2012. <>.