D is for the Doraville Schoolhouse

There was a one-room schoolhouse in a tiny hamlet called Doraville, NY. It was so small that, growing up in Binghamton, perhaps 26 miles (42 km) away, I had never heard of it until considerably later. But it holds a special place in the hearts of my in-laws.

Two of my mother-in-law’s older siblings actually attended the school before it closed down during a school consolidation c. 1940. But then a kitchen was added on, and the building was used for years as community center for meetings, suppers and the like. As it was a very short walk from the former school to my mother-in-law’s parents’ house, it became the location for the Olin Thanksgiving for many years, into the 1970s.

At some point, the powers that be decided to tear it down so that some utility lines could be built, or some such. However, members of the community objected. They raised the requisite money to move the building from its original location to a spot in Harpursville, some 3.5 miles (5.6 km) away.

It wasn’t just money that was needed; it was manual labor to cut the building in half, horizontally near the roof line, schlep it to the new location then put it back together. It’s likely that the plans wouldn’t have succeeded at all had the state not coincidentally built a new bridge; the old bridge might not have borne the weight. (The photos pictured tell the story of the move.)

Once moved, there was an effort to try to replicate the school as it once was. Under the leadership of my wife’s uncle Don Olin, this was accomplished.

The doorway in this picture led to the kitchen that had been added in the 1940s.

So when the Olins had their family reunion in July 2009, they held it at the Harpursville Veterans of Foreign Wars hall, maybe 1 km (1100 yards or so) away, the family made sure the school was open for their perusal. The pictures here were taken by this blogger at that occasion with a disposable camera.

Unfortunately, Don Olin died last November. The restoration of the Doraville Schoolhouse is a lasting memorial to him. Here’s more about Don.

And more on the Doraville Schoolhouse.

No, the outhouse, just behind the school, is no longer in use.


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