History of Cornell School
In 1886 in St. Albans Township, Licking County, Ohio local farmer Jason Lee volunteered to donate some of his property for a schoolhouse to be built for area children. Using the local resources of clay for bricks, hardwoods for construction, and sandstone for the foundation, the neighborhood farmers constructed their very own one-room schoolhouse.
In the year of 1886, Grover Cleveland was President of the United States and there were only 38 states in the Union. Miss Welch was the schoolmarm and her wages amounted to less than $20.00 a month. She rooms with the neighboring families. Bread at this time is a nickel a loaf, sugar is 9 cents a pound and milk is 12 cents a gallon.
According to former students of Cornell School they fondly remember the large pot-bellied stove in the center of the building. This old stove was used, of course, to heat the room. Supposedly, the students whose parents were most prompt in paying their share for the teacher would get to sit closest to this wonderful source of warmth. In addition, students recalled using the stove as a perfect place to bake potatoes for their noon meal. At night, inkwells were positioned close to the stove to keep their contents from freezing.
Cornell School remained open until 1923 when school districts began to consolidate and children were bussed to larger schools. The last teacher was Mr. Robert Price of Alexandria who later went on to become a professor at Otterbein College.
For the next 65 years Cornell School sat somewhat neglected and vacant on the Miller family property. In 1988 the Millers donated the one-room school to the Friends of Cornell School. This non-profit organization raised enough money to move the school to a site on the property of Johnstown-Monroe Schools. The school was moved in May of 1991.
After 5 years of restoration and refurbishing of the schoolhouse, Cornell School was dedicated and opened as a living history museum and program in August 1996.