On the corner of Clarksburg and Oregon in Eden sits a small unassuming building which many people speed past on their way to their destination. This building is the Clarksburg school house, the only one-room schoolhouse left in Eden.
Two years ago the idea to renovate the school house into a display on what late nineteenth, early twentieth century one-room school houses were like came into being. Ever since then it has been a work in progress.
“We want to make the school house like an educational project for the children today, so that they can come and see what a one room school looked like,” said Ferris Randell, the town historian of Eden.
“It is probably difficult for some people to realize the teacher had probably eight grades in there, the first grade to the eighth grade,” said Randell. “She probably taught in sections. Of course there probably weren’t more than 20 students, but she had them all of different ages.”
The Clarksburg hamlet came into being around 1810 when the first settler, Simeon Clark, came to the area. The first settlers set up mills such as sawmills. As time passed, it was felt that the children needed some sort of education.
The Clarksburg school house was built around 1839, and the Eden Historical Society has some of the original records from the school which date back to the 1840s and 1850s. These records list the name of the students and the teacher. In addition, some books, such as geography, were found in the attic of the school house with some original broken desks.
Unlike today’s schools, there was no central heating in the Clarksburg school house. The teacher had to get up early and get there early to start the fire in the wood stove in the center of the room. Another difference was there was no bus system; students and teachers had to walk to school and during the winter there was a lot of snow to go through due to the fact there was no snowplows.
According to Ed Krycia, a member of the Eden Town Board, the Clarksburg school house was closed in 1939. Since then, it has fallen into disuse, and while still in good condition, it will need to be repaired. The Clarksburg School House has received a $15,000 grant from the Eden Foundation, but it will need a lot more monetary donations to fix and renovate the building.
“It’s going to take a lot of time,” said Randell. “We aren’t going to be able to restore it one year. It’s going to be a five-year project.”
If anybody has old time school articles they wish to donate to the Clarksburg school house or they wish to make a monetary donation, call 408-6334.