Our first stop was open early – the oldest wooden schoolhouse in the United States. This was a rather ramshackle construction, its cedar wood clapboards grey with age, and an enormous iron chain decorating to place where the cedar shingled roof met the leaning walls. The chain and anchor we learned, were to keep the structure from being blown away, and from the looks of things, it must have worked.
We paid the fee to go in, and examine the one-room house; the back lean-to had some of the living arrangements for the teacher, and an anamatronic professor and pupil gave a brief overview of the school; other artifacts in cases and pictures on the wall illustrated the other aspects of the school. By most one-room schoolhouse standards, it was suitable – the floor a compressed coral stone, crushed flat by ages of walking; a fireplace at one end; and little else, the wood inside as plain and uninteresting as the exterior, the walls all sagging as though they were standing up out of habit, rather than on purpose.
The back area held a garden, a cook house, an outhouse, and a few statues of noted educators from the Americas; more a gathering place for tour groups we imagine, but quaint, restful and even with the odd garden statuary, somehow authentic as it was surrounded by similar structures.