August 31, 2017

Back to School with a Tour of an 1802 Octagonal Schoolhouse

As a new school year starts back into session, it was an appropriate time
to head to Wrightstown, Pennsylvania to tour an unusual old schoolhouse.
This octagonal, also called "eight square," stone building was built in 1802,
and is the only one still standing in Bucks County.

Why an eight-sided building?
Windows on eight sides were thought to bring in the most natural light
during this time before kerosene lamps or, of course, electricity.
There was a door on one side and a window on each of the other seven.
They were positioned higher in the walls so as not to provide distracting views.

Wooden desks were lined up along the walls,
with smaller desks for the younger students in front.

A wood-burning stove heated the building in the cooler months.
The teacher was responsible for supplying the wood.

Schooling at the time was not public, but private.
A yearly fee was required of $1.50 per child. 
If a family could not afford it, the Quakers would pay their tuition.

This is a copy of an employment agreement for a teacher named Rachel Twining.
Her duties are outlined, along with a list of students with a record of tuition paid.

The document was typed out to be more easily read.

An pretty collection of ink bottles.

How about this cute birdhouse replica?

The school house is located at the corner of Second Street Pike and Swamp Road.
You can learn more at the Wrightstown Township, PA website.

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