(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved. Contact us for information about using this image.
For over 130 years, one-room schoolhouses like this one in the Wapping section of Deerfield, Massachusetts, were where most Americans received their education. The Wapping school was one of fourteen schoolhouses in Deerfield at the time. School houses were at nearly every dirt road's intersection. In the 1830s this simple design with its many windows (for light and ventilation) was widely replicated around the country as the result of an early 19th century organized education reform movement centered in New England. Generally schoolhouses were painted either red or white, as these paint colors were the least expensive. Schoolhouse repairs, teachers' pay and "boarding-round" were the responsibilities of the families living in each one room school's "district". The three adults in this photograph from the mid-1890s are probably the female school teacher and two members of the school committee. By this time, although women could not vote, they could serve on school committees. Only unmarried women were allowed to teach.