Tucked away on a scenic hillside in Washington Township in northeastern Guernsey County, sits a one-room school from the early 1900s that looks like class just finished. Located near Sligo Road, the quaint white clapboard sided building is in remarkable shape given that it is more than 100 years old.
Waymond and Carol Rubel, who currently own the building, want to see it remain that way for years to come. Inside, desks, a woodburning stove, cloth maps and chalkboards remain. There are even old books that have seen better days when they were held by the hands of the students who attended classes there.
The Rubels obtained ownership of the school in December of 2012 from the Washington Township trustees. The school had its roof blown off during the 2012 derecho and they were not sure if it would be repaired. So they approached the trustees and were able to reach an agreement. The school sits on land that belongs to the Rubels. Since then, they have put on a new roof, new ceiling, added Amish-made windows and given the building a thorough cleaning.
The building was last used as a voter precinct location in which the Rubels and area residents had voted in since the late 1990s. Prior to that, Amish used the building as a school for the many Amish families that reside in that area of the county.
Carol said, "I think its wonderful. It's a piece of history and you have to wonder who went to the school and what the children were like."
While replacing the roof, Waymond found a date of 1900 under the slate shingles. He is not sure if that was the exact date it was built but he said, "I just want to preserve it and that's what I've been doing and will continue doing."
The wide-spread prevalence of one-room schools began to decline in the early 1900s when motorized buses expanded the distance that students could travel to school. Teachers often taught students in a range of elementary grades. These structures also served in many cases as community meeting houses and sometimes, as Sunday chapels.
There are still several of these dotted throughout the Guernsey County area but few, if any, would be a complete step back in time as this one is in the now high-tech, fast-paced world.