First Schools: Uphill, Barefoot, Both Ways

  • Before the district formed, children in Rush and Henrietta attended many small schoolhouses. Seventeen of these buildings dotted the landscape, providing a dedicated place for learning the basics close to home. There were no school buses, so children typically walked to school - regardless of the distance, weather, or terrain. Schools often were run by one teacher who sometimes taught a number of grades.

    Each school was considered a district, serving a geographic area surrounding it, and was governed by three elected trustees. Children attended until the age of 15. 

    It was not unusual for a school to have a male teacher during the winter and a female teacher during the summer. As was common at the time, men were paid more than women, and families were often expected to provide boarding for teachers. One school reportedly had 48 students, and trustees were concerned that was too many for one teacher to effectively teach. Today, of course, Rush-Henrietta is known for its small-class-size initiative.

    Some of these educational buildings still exist. A number have been modified to be private residences - a few even have historical markers to signify their noble beginnings. Others now serve different purposes.

    The post office on Rush Lima Road was once Rush District No. 10 school. An annex behind the building was used to teach younger students. High school students learned in the main building.

    The two-room school originally known as Henrietta District No. 8 was built on the corner of Erie Station and West Henrietta roads in 1866. Located at 774 Erie Station Road, it was replaced in 1926 by a larger building down the road. The original building is owned by the West Henrietta Volunteer Fire Department and houses a U.S. post office.

    The new District No. 8 school was an impressive two-story brick structure at 649 Erie Station Road serving students for 20 years until centralization. Ethel Fyle, for whom Fyle Elementary School is named, was a beloved teacher there. Upon construction of Rush-Henrietta Central School (now Roth Junior High), the building was sold to the town of Henrietta and served as the town hall until 1964 when town offices on Calkins Road opened. The district reacquired the building, which has served as a laundry and maintenance facility, bus garage, and offices. Today, it is known as the John R. “Jack” Gaffney West Henrietta Education Building, housing the district’s special education and information systems departments. 

    [Post 2] #75posts75years

    Click the "i" in the upper left corner of the photos below for more information.

    © Copyright 2021. All rights reserved.

View this Post on Facebook