First East Side School House 1843-1870


    This wood school house was located on the north side of Main Street, east of the Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum. Very little is known about this school, and no photos have been found to date by the History Committee.

    Two recollections follow:

    Mrs. Esther Funnell Barrett remembers –

    “Mr. Earle was a fairly good teacher for those times, only he sat and smoked in school, and wrote his sermons while we “studied our spellin’,” “did our sums” or made pictures on our slates… When the boys were bad, he sent them out in the woods to cut sticks to fit their own backs.”

    From the Cold Spring Harbor Library-A Bicentennial Reissue 1840.

    Helen Rogers (Mrs. Platt Titus) remembers the following about the free school –

    “A free school for four months was to be established and the addition of a few benches was made to meet the wants of the supposed increase. The innumerable fissures in the windows of the school house were stopped with putty and paper, and a new door sill being added. The building was considered air tight.
         The new quarter commenced on Monday (as when was there a quarter that did not?) The school-master-an aspiring youth-made his appearance at a remarkably early hour considering that he had walked fully two miles with his dinner pail on his arm it being unseasonably cold, that functionary, after looking in vain for some kindling, went into the adjoining forest and plucked some dry sticks wherewith to kindle the supply of green wood, inwardly resolved that it should be the last time he would kindle a fire in the old box stove…
         There was a most motley collection. Big boys and girls who had never been to school since they learned their letters were now sent because it would cost nothing…
         A great number of the scholars had no books, their parents having apparently thought that the term free, as applied to schools, included stationery as well as tuition, and those that were brought differed from each other so much that it was impossible to form a class either in geography, grammar, or arithmetic…”

    From an old manuscript written about 1845 located in the Cold Spring Harbor Library.