History Lives in One-room Schoolhouse



BUCKSPORT — Graduates of the Little Yellow Schoolhouse may be in their late 70s and 80s, but they still sit around cracking jokes and telling tales in the former one-room school.

 

Unlike in the old days, Austin O’Donnell was seated at the teacher’s desk when he told the story of how he and classmates pushed the school bully into the blackberry bushes.

Teacher Lizzie Stover poses with her pupils at the Little Yellow Schoolhouse, officially named the Duck Cove Schoolhouse, on Route 46 in Bucksport in 1900. The one-room schoolhouse is much the same today. It now overlooks the Bucksport Golf Course.—DUCK COVE COMMUNITY CLUB
Teacher Lizzie Stover poses with her pupils at the Little Yellow Schoolhouse, officially named the Duck Cove Schoolhouse, on Route 46 in Bucksport in 1900. The one-room schoolhouse is much the same today. It now overlooks the Bucksport Golf Course.—DUCK COVE COMMUNITY CLUB

“He was pretty good after that,” O’Donnell chuckled.

Then there was the time the school nurse made her monthly visit and her starched skirt pressed too close to the wood stove and started smoking.

Or the time students were playing around the brook out back and one girl fell in and got stuck. Her classmates were loath to tell the teacher because the stream was off-limits.

“I think I was 5 back then, and I came back and sat in my seat like nothing happened,” Ruth Wardwell recalled.

O’Donnell and Wardwell are two of four former students who are now members of the Duck Cove Community Club. The group was organized to preserve the school building. Phyllis Wardwell and Ashley Coombs round out the graduates. The club has about 20 members in all.

“We used to have 32 members, but they’ve been dwindling down,” Phyllis Wardwell explained.

The building is on the National Register of Historic Places. Club members want to pass the school on to future generations as it is today — a historic building that is both loved and used.

Little Yellow Schoolhouse—CYNDI WOOD
Little Yellow Schoolhouse—CYNDI WOOD

The neatly hand-lettered sign on the bulletin board out front puts it this way:

“This is living history. This is Duck Cove yellow one-room schoolhouse — home of Community Club — a place to get to know old and new members of the neighborhood.”

The club gathers there on the third Thursday of each month from September through May. A noon potluck lunch and socializing usually precedes meeting business.

The Extension Homemakers also meet at the small yellow building on Route 46 just past the Bucksport Golf Club.

The school was built in 1895 at a cost of $633.52. It was officially named the Duck Cove Schoolhouse, but has long since been known as the Little Yellow Schoolhouse. It was one of several country schools that once spread across Bucksport. Twenty or so students in first through eighth grade were taught there at a time. There was no water or electricity and for many years the bathroom was an outhouse out back.

The school closed in 1943, when children were moved to schools in town. A group of area residents received permission to use the school as a 4-H Club the following year. The group eventually purchased the building from the town for $100.

Over the years, the Little Yellow Schoolhouse has hosted meetings, suppers, the occasional church service, parties and baby showers.

The Duck Cove group holds a Thanksgiving dinner, food drive, Christmas gift exchange, beano games and readings.

A refrigerator, stove and sink have been added for convenience. Otherwise, the building is much the same as it was when it closed.

Portraits of Jesus and Mary and President George Washington still look down from the walls. The original slate blackboard is intact. The wood stove still warms the building — slowly.

But like so many old structures, the schoolhouse needs some work. The sills are rotting and the building is sinking into the ground. It will cost about $33,400 to replace the foundation. An additional $5,000 will eventually be needed to replace the roof.

Duck Cove Community Club Members hope to win a grant through the Maine Community Foundation to cover the foundation work.

They encourage new members to join the club and help with preservation efforts. For more information, call 469-2061.

Donations can be mailed to the Duck Cove Community Club, P.O. Box 158, Bucksport, ME, 04416.

For more community news, pick up a copy of The Ellsworth American.

 

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