This week's story is about the old Hortontown School, District no. 3, ninth in a series regarding our early schools. To get to Hortontown, drive west out of Baldwinsville on Route 370 until you hit Dunham Road, and then head north. Or for a more interesting ride, follow 370 to Emerick Road and turn right. It winds its way past homes old and new until it eventually dead-ends at Dunham.
Either way, head north from there and you'll hit the hamlet of Hortontown, where Dunham Road intersects with Babcock Road. There you'll find a few barns, three houses, and an old cemetery. There are no Hortons left today, although you'll find their names in the cemetery. The first was buried there in 1833, and was followed by folks with names like Babcock, Crane, Emerick and Ouderkirk. The three homes are all inhabited by members of the extended Hahn family. One belongs to Jim and Denise Ingeson Hahn. It was once the old Hortontown School.
Known in the mid-1800's as the Horton Settlement, there was a school here as early as 1855. The building was certainly much older, according to an article from Baldwinsville's original newspaper, the Onondaga Gazette. On Oct. 26, 1855, the paper praised the people of Horton Settlement for the "comfortable, convenient and beautiful mansions," which had replaced the "unpretending log houses in which most of the inhabitants dwelt."
"But," the article continued, "there is one thing which detracts considerably from the merits of this sterling neighborhood -- and that is its schoolhouse. Its location, being bounded on one side and one end by the highway, together with its dilapidated appearance and inconvenient arrangements within, render the erection of a new structure absolutely necessary ." The article concluded its criticism with a bit of editorial comment consistent with the times. "We trust this objection will be speedily removed by the manifestation of an enlightened and liberal spirit on the part of all interested, and that a neat, convenient and beautiful school house, will soon take the place of the present tumble down affair."