This week's story is about the Cold Springs School, 16th in a series regarding the rural schools of the town of Lysander. This school sits in the oldest district in the town. When you cross the Cold Springs Bridge over the Seneca River heading west on Route 370, the sign says "Cold Springs." Technically, that's not true. This area was actually deemed "Drake's Landing." Otis Drake built a log cabin near here in the early 1800s for his family of 15.
According to Pearl Palmer, former Lysander Town Historian, the name "at an early date came to be applied to a spot in the wide bend (of the river) northeast of the Cold Spring bridge . . . Many of the settlers in central Lysander coming from the east are believed to have disembarked at Drake's Landing, and begun their travel by blazed trail from this point." So, if this area is really Drake's Landing, then where is Cold Springs?
About a mile west of here, three roads intersect Cold Springs Road at about the same point including Hayes Road from the south, Hicks Road from the north and Doyle Road from the northeast. The area around here was traditionally known as Cold Springs. You'll find White's Chapel wedged into the angle made by the latter road as it hits Cold Springs Road. Home to a variety of church congregations over the years, it was first the site of at least two early schools.
Pearl Palmer points out that "the first school meeting for the Cold Spring school, District No. 1 of Lysander was held at the home of George White in 1816 . . . He was also active in establishing religious services in the community, and gave the site for the erection of the present church, built in 1860 . . . and dedicated as 'White's Chapel' a few months after the death of George White. Two school houses had stood on the same site previous to the erection of the chapel." While there were other private schools operating earlier, Cold Springs School District No.1 was the first to open under the official auspices of the town of Lysander.