The One-Room Schoolhouse, a Fairmont State University campus landmark, remains a visible symbol of the University’s continued focus on teaching and learning. Located near the Bryant Street Entrance to main campus, the museum is a significant artifact of regional and educational history.
As part of the Homecoming 2015 Sesquicentennial Celebration, Fairmont State and the greater community will celebrate the One-Room Schoolhouse Re-Dedication Ceremony at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20. A reception will follow at the Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center. Admission is free and open to the public. Guests are invited to park in the parking garage and to ride the Fairmont-Marion County Transit Authority trolley to the reception and back to the garage. At the Folklife Center, visitors can tour the Sesquicentennial exhibit titled “On a Hill by a Dream.”
“Fairmont State University’s roots reach back to the formation of public education in the state of West Virginia. We are proud to celebrate the University’s Sesquicentennial and to take this opportunity to salute our long history of providing high quality teacher education,” said FSU President Maria Rose.
The Oct. 20 ceremony celebrates a renovation project to restore the structural integrity and to refresh the historical building.
“Moving forward, the One-Room Schoolhouse will continue to preserve our history as a museum and will provide multi-disciplinary learning opportunities for Fairmont State students,” Rose said.
Omni Associates served as architect for the project with Allegheny Design Services as the structural engineer and Huffman Corporation as the contractor.
“All materials used in the project reflect the building’s original time period,” said Stephanie Slaubaugh, FSU Construction Manager. “The campus Physical Plant also put a great deal of labor into the project, purchasing, priming and painting the siding and constructing a wooden ramp that leads to the door of the building. Thanks also to the Road and Grounds crew who gave extra effort to make the landscaping look wonderful.”
In 1840 William Snodgrass erected a log building about 300 yards from his house for specific use as a schoolhouse and a church. Three separate school buildings occupied the same level, one-acre site over the next 100 years. The log school was succeeded by a frame building with board-and-batten siding of yellow poplar, painted a dark red. In 1871 the 23-foot by 26-foot white frame schoolhouse was built about two miles above Rymer on Warrior Fork Road.
With the establishment of the West Virginia Free Schools, the Snodgrass School ceased to operate as a subscription school and became part of the district school system, as Mannington District School Number 13. The school ceased operation entirely sometime in the 1950s, and in 1962 was moved to the campus of Fairmont State as a West Virginia Centennial project.
A bell tower was added to the original building, which was not meant to be an exact replica of the Snodgrass School but a museum showcasing the one-room schoolhouse tradition. Eleven county school systems in North Central West Virginia donated artifacts to the museum. Other gifts include a Franklin stove, McGuffey’s readers and spellers, Mitchell’s geographies, Ray’s arithmetics and other early textbooks.
The dedication ceremony for the schoolhouse, which was originally located on campus between Colebank Hall and the Science Building (now Jaynes Hall), took place on Oct. 20, 1962, as part of Homecoming and was attended by a number of former pupils and teachers at the Snodgrass School. The schoolhouse was relocated to its current location in 1992, and another dedication ceremony was held on Oct. 30, 1992. At that time, the statue of the teacher riding a horse by sculptor and Fairmont State faculty member Barry Snyder was added. The sculpture, intended as a tribute to the dedication of our early teachers, represents the spirit (but not the exact likeness) of Ethel Ferrell, who graduated from Fairmont Normal School in 1919. She rode “Bird,” a reddish brown, small riding horse, to the Smithtown school, where she taught the 1919-1920 term and fall term of 1920.