Cazenovians of all ages flocked to the Lorenzo State Historic Site for the ninth annual Rippleton Schoolhouse Community Day Sept. 26 to step back in time and experience what it would have been like to attend school when it was taught in the single room structure.
The event was truly a local affair; food and drink were donated by local farms, and live music was played by a local folk band. Put on by The Friends of Lorenzo, the event featured 19th century games and activities as well as lessons inside the historic schoolhouse conducted by Schoolmarm Mattie Buckland.
Constructed in 1814, the Rippleton Schoolhouse serviced students spanning from first to eighth grade, until 1933. The school’s original placement was three miles away in an area known as “Pig City.” The vicinity in which it resided was also home to a number of swine, and gave the single room schoolhouse its original name, until it received its proper moniker,”Rippleton” in 1884. The building was moved to its present location on Lorenzo’s grounds in 1996, when it underwent extensive restorations. Everything from the coal stove, to the oil lamps, even the wallpaper, was recreated to what it would have resembled in 1887.
Community Day was put on by Lorenzo Event Coordinator Beth Carroll, and co-chair Mary Beth Kuhn. Both women were relaxed yet sprightly, happy the weather was holding up for the event.
“Last year, it poured. It was still fun, and about 200 people showed up, but today looks even better!” Kuhn said.
The women were prepared for any weather, and had erected numerous tents to house the attractions and the attendees. More than 100 visitors had arrived within the first hour, with over 300 people expected for the rest of the afternoon.
Carroll was thankful for everyone that helped make the day possible, and was sure to pay respect to the all of the local groups.
“Dunn’s Pastry shop donated the doughnuts; he makes us special Glazed Apple doughnuts every year. The bushels of apples were generously donated by Johnny Appleseed, and The Golub family farm donated all of the pumpkins we have here today,” she said. Horse-drawn wagon rides were made available by Lamplett Farms, and continuously ran during the event, while The Salt Potatoes, a local string quartet with vocalist Sarah VanNosterand, had attendees dancing to bouncy period pieces such as “Ragtime Annie.”
Donning a traditional Schoolmarm garb, “Mattie Buckland” repeatedly rang the school bell and welcomed curious students into the schoolhouse and conducted lessons throughout the day. Casey Frazee, former education coordinator for Lorenzo, played the role of Buckland. She was a wealth of information, informing each group of the restorations the schoolhouse had undergone, and what a typical school day in the 1800s would consist of. Seated in original Sears & Roebuck Company desks, attendees inundated Buckland with questions about the history of school, and the room itself. While she had no problems answering inquires, none knew more about the classroom than one of its former students, Don Way.
Way was a fourth grader during Rippleton’s last year of operation. He was one of the 13 students in the schoolhouse’s last class, and his picture is enclosed in a glass case at the entrance. Way was excited to make it to another Community Day at the Lorenzo, and was happy to reminisce about his school days there. Most everything looked the same to him; however he remembered the desks faced a different direction.
One architectural difference in particular caught his attention.
“The restroom wasn’t here when I was a student, we didn’t have running water!” Way laughed.
Upon his completion of the fourth grade, Way and his classmates made the commute to newly opened Cazenovia Central for the rest of their schooling.
There were a number of activities for the school aged attendees to partake in while at the event, many were spinning yarn dolls, rolling beeswax candles, decorating pumpkins with flowers grown in nearby gardens, and making decorative pierced tin pans with a hammer and nails. Games like jump rope, hoop and stick, as well as stilt walking, kept everyone entertained at Community Day, sans electricity or technology. It was all smiles at Lorenzo as generations spanning the past century came together for a little old-fashioned fun.
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