Dan Cole, Charlotte Historical Society
The first permanent settlers came to Charlotte in 1784, and the town, once established, grew quickly. The first residents believed strongly in a good education and soon began to consider how to serve the educational needs of their children. By 1791, the boundary lines for seven school districts had been delineated. Eventually, 15 school districts were numbered on town maps—except for District #13, which was skipped for superstitious reasons.
Throughout this year, we would like to introduce you to the various schools from Charlotte’s early history. It is intended to be more of a photo essay, with a brief description of the school and school life.
The residents of each district set up their own Board of School Directors and contracted with the teacher for two to three sessions per year—spring and autumn, primarily, with the occasional winter session. The teacher boarded with a district family, and parents of each scholar provided a cord of wood for the wood stove and usually built the school. It should be noted that teaching was one of the first disciplines that afforded equal employment opportunities for women. The teacher was expected to adhere to strict moral standards and to teach the entire curriculum to students ranging in age from four to 18. In place of scarce supplies of paper, slate tablets were used. Books were a rare commodity and often shared among the district schools.
School #1 is the oldest in Charlotte. Sometimes referred to as the Emerson School, it is the only stone school; it still stands at the corner of Lake Road and Thompson’s Point Road, where it is now incorporated as part of a private residence.
Check out our town library’s website and click on the Local History & Genealogy section and scroll down to Charlotte Schoolhouse Story Walk.