RESTORATION OF THE IRONDALE SCHOOLHOUSE
The restoration of the Irondale Schoolhouse began in 2008 when a group of local history “buffs” first identified the historic one room schoolhouse in Irondale, the small hamlet north of the village.
In 2009, the group formed The Friends of the Irondale Schoolhouse which was incorporated as a not-for-profit entity. It began efforts to save the building from demolition and to relocate and re-purpose it for public use.
In 2010, Millerton’s charming Main Street was added to the National Register of Historic Places and listed as the Main Street Historic District. In 2013, “Friends” signed a lease with New York State and Dutchess County to relocate the building to the heart of the Historic District . The building was successfully moved to Millerton on December 19, 2013 . Historic restoration is now nearing completion; the building will be dedicated on October 18, 2014.
This new village centerpiece will not only serve to reinforce our rich history and the pride we have in our community, it will also help the local economy by attracting visitors at the HVRT and encouraging local tourism. “Friends “will develop interesting historical displays and information to share with the public using the rich archives of the North East Historical Society.
Earliest written records date back to 1858. The Irondale Schoolhouse is listed as District #7 Irondale, (one of 14 one room schoolhouses in the Town of North East). It served the families of Ogdensville (Irondale) from 1858 to 1930. Student population (ages from 5 -20) ranged from 25 to 36 students during the period.
Using historical information from the NEHS archives, “Friends ” found two living students ( Mary Mechare Leitch and Lillian Lown Caruso).
They gave us the following information:
The teacher’s desk was near the front wall, between the two cloakroom doorways. Younger students were closest to the teacher’s desk; older students were closest to the rear blackboards. (Older students often helped the teacher with younger students). A potbelly stove was located in the middle of the room, surrounded by student desks. The schoolhouse bell was rung each morning at 9AM by one of the boys; bell ringing was a shared honor. To date, two bell ringers have been identified: Billy Mechare, and Bill Lown.
*`A complete set of original shutters was found in the attic.
* The original cupola, which was removed from the roof prior to the relocation to Millerton, was found to be in bad condition. An exact replica, of sapele mahogany, was made by David Shapiro, a member of the Construction Committee.
* Paint scrapings taken in 2013 uncovered the original historic color-Amherst Gray.
* The original stone stoop was moved to Millerton and will serve as the front stoop.
* Seven new sets of window sashes were remade using sapele mahogany. Original, old rippled glass was carefully removed from the old sashes and glazed into the new.
* A new side door, copied from the original front door, has been installed and a handicap accessible ramp has been constructed.
* A quarry stone facing around the foundation will be completed by October.
* Interior renovation is now nearing completion.