The Ames Schoolhouse is a classic example of the early 20th century one-room school. Now a part of the Heritage Village, the school building was originally located approximately 400 yards north of the current site. Today it provides area children a glimpse into the world of education as experienced by their grandparents or great-grandparents.
The best information available suggests that the school was opened between 1915 and 1920. It is thought that the school was built by Hobart Ames, and that in the early years of its operation it was a private school for the children of Ames employees. While this fact has not been substantiated, it is deeply engrained in local lore. According to Ms. Lucille German Tipler who taught in the school between 1928 and 1931, by 1928 the school had been incorporated into the Fayette County school system. Ms. Tipler stated that Mr. Ames furnished the building and the firewood and that she was paid $60.00 per month by Fayette County for teaching.
Other teachers between the years of 1932 and 1940 were Ms. Versa Davis, Ms. Elizabeth Merrill, Ms. Evelyn Goode, Ms. Gladys Crawford and Ms. Hazel Givens. The photo on the right was provided by Mr. Joseph Harris, and pictures Ms. Crawford's class of 1938. Pictured are: Bobby Jones, Margaret Sanders, Ruth Evelen Ursery and her brother, Betty Lou Sutton and her sister, Louise Finger, Buddy Sanders, and Joseph Harris.
Ms. Givens who taught in the school during the 1934-1935 school year provided a description of the school and the daily activities of the children during an interview several years ago. The following is paraphrased from an interview with Ms. Givens.
The stove was in the middle of the room and at the back under the window to the left of the door as you entered was a shelf for the water bucket and dipper. Each child had a labeled drinking glass on the shelf as well. On the right side of the door and the wall space around the windows were planks with pegs for hanging wraps and other items such as ropes, ball gloves, etc. The desks were built ones, from the shop. Each seated three or four children like sitting at a booth in a restaurant today. In front of each bench would be a high table that the children could write on and underneath was shelf for their books. There was an aisle and then three more children. The benches had solid backs and there were about four or five of them in the room. Two of them were built shorter for smaller children. Folding chairs were brought when we had cake walks or box suppers.
Hundreds of students attended the Ames School during the early 20th century. Many of the students still reside in the area, while the lives of others have taken them to distant locations. If you, or anyone you know, have a connection to the Ames School please let us know. The school's restoration goes beyond the structure itself. The teachers and students who taught and learned here are an important part of the school's history. We would like to include your experience in the story.