Painted School Interior

19-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Saturday, August 29, 1914:  Ruth and I painted the interior of the schoolhouse where she is going to teach this winter. We made sort of a picnic out of it. Ruth had a friend along. We were well-dabbed with paint by the time we got through.

Red Hill School Building

This building once housed Red Hill School. It was converted to a house many years ago.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

What a fun way to get the schoolhouse freshened up for the new school year! Teachers sure had to wear a lot of hats back then. Grandma’s sister Ruth apparently not only needed to prepare lessons and teach—she also needed to organize a work crew to renovate the school building.

The previous day Grandma wrote that she went to town with her sister to help carry some things, and that she tore her dress on a pane of glass. I’m now wondering if the glass was needed to repair a window in the school.

I’m not sure where Ruth taught in prior years, but according to the History of the McEwensville Schools by Thomas Kramm she was the teacher at Red Hill School during the 1914-15 school year. It was a one-room school house at the south end of McEwensville.

26 Responses

  1. Yes, they had to be good all-rounders. Also interesting that it was okay for women to paint back then.

  2. Not only did the get the painting done, they made a picnic out of it. Awesome! :-)

  3. What wonderful history to share…thanks!!!

  4. Yes, they made a fun day of a chore. (A friend is the librarian at a local small private school. She and her husband repainted the library there over the summer. I don’t know if they called it a picnic, but a couple of days, they took sandwiches for lunch!)

    • It’s wonderful how they cared enough about the school, and what it looked like, to spend their summer repainting the library. The days they took their lunch sounds like a picnic to me. :)

  5. Yes, the teachers had so many duties, I bet the chiidren liked the new look when they returned to school :)

  6. How cool! It’s nice that she got to fix up the school the way she wanted to. I wonder what the house looks like now (inside) and if the new owners even know the history of it.

    • I’d guess that the current owners know it once was a school. I think that the locals may still refer to it as the schoolhouse. For example, I think that if someone was giving directions that they might say, “Turn at the schoolhouse”–even though it’s been a home for more than 60 years.

  7. How wonderful to find the names of your relatives in published materials!
    Diana xo

  8. All I can say is, “This is fascinating stuff. I continue to be delighted that you have and share this diary.”

  9. It’s always more fun to paint with friends! I have a feeling Helena truly enjoyed herself.

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