LEEDS — Last year, the Leeds Historical Society took a look back at Leeds in the mid 1800s. This year, the focus of its program will move to the mid-1900s and the town’s one-room schoolhouses, based on interviews with former students.
Through the interviews, the group has seen the children of Leeds going from riding a horse or walking to school, to riding a yellow school bus; from 16-year-old teachers, barely out of high school themselves, to mature, married teachers with college education; from schools with wood stoves for heat and the sun for lighting, to schools with oil burners and electric lights.
The society has heard funny stories and poignant stories. What remains constant is the stories these former students tell of a sense of community and neighborhoods, a general fondness and respect for their teachers and an abiding love for recess.
When the last of the one-room schoolhouses closed, and the Leeds Central School opened in 1954, the Superintendent of Schools, Isaiah Hodges, said “school history has been made in the Town of Leeds. History had been made, but was the centralization of education a gain or a loss?” This is one of the questions the historical society will consider when it presents its program in mid-April.
Interviews are ongoing, and the historical society asks people who attended one-room schoolhouses in Leeds to share their memories. Those who are willing to be interviewed may call Pam Bell at 933-4121 or Laura Juraska at 524-2324.