J. Dawg Journeys

District No. 4 School – The Little One Room School

I didn’t have to use my RV for this journey or drive hundreds of miles.  For this one, I just hopped in my car and drove a few minutes down the road to an old little white building.  But it was a journey back in time.  This post is about some local history.  And since it was a very familiar place, I decided to write about it to preserve the memory.

District No. 4 School

District No. 4 School House now placed on the National Register of Historic Places

When I was into long distance bike riding, my daily 15 mile training ride took me past this little white building.  I knew it was an old one room school-house, but I never gave it a second thought as I pedaled by.  I never knew anything about the building.  For the past 30 years, it had no sign, no occupants, and was never open. Just an aging small white building, with peeling paint, on a lonely country road about 3 miles from my house.

But then I read in the local paper that this little white school-house was recently restored and just got placed on the US National Register of Historic Places.  The local town was celebrating this accomplishment with an open house and ceremony.  Well now.  Being somewhat of a neighbor and a history nut, that sparked my interest to go and learn more about this little old building.

One Room School Houses

In rural New England, old one room school houses still dot some of the back roads.  They were used throughout rural parts of the US in the 1800’s.  Back then, kids didn’t get bused to big central or regional schools.  When the only means of transportation was walking or maybe a horse, in the rural areas the schools came to the people.

These little one room buildings were built near where the people lived.  All the kids regardless of age and grade were taught together in a single room of a small building by one teacher. Student populations ranged from 5 to 20 students.  Usually, just the elementary grades were taught.

In the little rural town of Petersham, MA, where the population never has been much more than 1,000 people, there where 13 of these little one room school houses.  In the town next door, where I live, there were 17 of these schools during the 1800’s.

School No. 5

District No. 5 School House, Petersham, MA. This school was in use from 1849 to 1888.

District No. 4 School House

School No. 4, Barre, MA.  This school was in use from 1883 to 1930.  This school is also on the National Register of Historical Places

Little Red School House

District No. 5 School House, Barre, Mass.  Know as the “Little Red School House”, this is now a private residence.

District No. 4 School

The little white building that I so often biked by was the school in District No. 4 of Petersham, Mass.  It was called the Ledgeville School because of the large granite outcroppings on the property. There were a total of 13 Districts beginning in the 1840’s.  The original District No. 4 School House was first built in 1803, just about 50 years after the town was incorporated.  The original building was replaced in 1846 with the one that is currently on site.  Back then, it cost the town $437 to build the school.

This little building was used as a school from 1846 until 1943.  That’s an incredible time frame. But if you look at the area within a few miles around the school, it’s not much different now than it was back in the 1800’s.  It’s still mostly farm land and open fields.  There are still some residents of Petersham who went to the Ledgeville School as a child.

After the school closed, it was used as a community center and was later purchased by some former students.  It is currently owned and managed by the non-profit Ledgeville Association. Inside, there are a collection of school desks, old pictures, and artifacts.

Ledgeville School

District No. 4 School – “The Ledgeville School”

Ledgeville School Steps

Ledgeville School

Inside the Ledgeville School

School Desk

An interesting caption on an old school desk. I bet little Sarah never knew that carving her name into her desk would get her noticed 150 years later.  This desk came from the District No. 12 School in Petersham.

Slate Tablets

Some original slate tablets used in the one room schools

A picture of one of the early graduating classes from the Ledgeville School. Note how most of the boys are bare foot.

A picture of one of the early graduating classes from the Ledgeville School.  Note how all the girls are wearing dresses with leggings and have bows in the hair.  Most of the boys are bare foot.

Preserving the Past

I live in a very rural area of central Massachusetts.  There are 4 of these one room school houses still standing within a 5 mile radius of my home.  Petersham has two of the original one room school-house still standing.  With a grant of $75,000 from the State of Massachusetts, restorations projects were recently completed on both buildings.  In my town, the No. 4 School House was restored last year at a cost of $80,000.

I never attended a one room school.  I went to large central schools in medium-sized towns in Maine.  But in prior generations, lots of folks in rural American got their initial schooling in these one room schools.

These buildings are now a part of our history.  I’m glad that the efforts were made to preserve them.

I’m glad that I was able to visit the District No. 4 School.  It was a nice short trip back in time where I got to learn something about the little white building that I rode by so often.

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2 thoughts on “District No. 4 School – The Little One Room School

  1. Tim Klassen

    Hi J.Dawg and thankyou for the fun posts and info on your travels.
    We also have a 2015 Winnebago View and just got back from Branson Missouri and had a blast. (we live in Winnipeg Canada)
    If you have time, I hope you can share some answers?:
    1. A heat sensor stopped working near Omaha so I went to the nearest Mercedes dealer. No sensor in stock but were talked into a $500 (canadian) DPF (Diesel Particle Filter) cleaning because we were told it was clogged. (likely not possible as we had 5000 miles on the unit and it almost never idles. Said it could void warrantee if we didn’t comply.
    I can’t get an answer as to which “Autoscanner” to purchase for the unit so I can read and clears codes myself and I’m quite mechanically inclined so repairs don’t scare me.
    2. I read your info on only using diesel fuel which is 5% or less of Bio-diesel. Only a few States legally need to post the % on the pumps and I’ve asked at all stations and I’m always told it’s between 5%-20% but never can I get the correct answer. Each state is different and I’m told by the managers that they are not told by the company the exact amount. Very frustrating and several locations (and trucking company’s) are telling me to use “Howes Diesel Treatment” for each tank-fill because the bio-diesel causes the dry condition in the engine which damages injectors and also keeps the DPF clean. Safeguard due to the high Bio-content.
    We love our View but the diesel issues have me concerned so I’m asking for advice as you seem to be quite pleased with your’s and you’ve likely gained a great deal of knowledge by now.
    Thanks again for your great web-site!!!!

    1. J. Dawg Post author

      Thanks for reading my blog. Let me try with some responses to your questions. I’m not sure what heat sensor you are referencing. I think there are exhaust heat sensors and air intake heat sensors, but I have not experience with any of them. But I have been told by a MB tech that biodiesel does burn hotter. If it was an exhaust temp sensor and a dirty DPF that sounds like you got a bad batch of biodiesel. Usually a MB tech can test your fuel to see if it is biodiesel (I’ve had mine tested a couple time when I had CEL issues). In my travels in the US, I see about 50-75% of the pumps labeled. I know that all the big truck stops use biodiesel so I avoid them. If a pump says 5-20% or is labeled B15 or B20 then I go elsewhere. Also, if the diesel pump nozzle is caked with grease I go elsewhere for fuel. Biodiesel is essentially regular diesel fuel mixed with used vegetable oil. I’ve had good luck using big name brand fuel places near highways. I do not use any fuel treatments and have been told to stay away from them by a MB tech. If you use a treatment and it causes a problem with temperature or clogs an injector then it voids the warranty. On a scanner, the Sprinter will put out standard OBD II codes but they are not always accurate. The MB engines puts out their own more detailed codes and only the MB tech can read them. I carry an inexpensive OBD II reader but it will just give you a general idea and not the real codes that the MB tech will use.
      Overall, I’ve been pleased with the Sprinter. But, you do have to be vigilant with the fuel. I learned that lesson during my first 12,000 miles with several CEL issues.
      J. Dawg