Nestled down a cozy city street in downtown historic St. Augustine is a significant structure representative of colonial American history. The Oldest Wooden School House stands at 14 St. George Street amongst other key locations in the city and is available for tours!
History of the Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse
A great mystery behind this historic structure is in fact the year that it was initially built. No other wooden school house in the United States is is as old as this one. The earliest mention of the St. Augustine School House was in 1716 when the building was noted in tax records. Historians have stated that in 1702, during the Queen Anne’s War, the British burned the city so no wooden structures would still be standing from years prior.
The oldest wooden school house is made from red cedar and accompanying bald cypress. Both native trees to the northeast Florida area. Holding the structure are large iron spikes and nails. This school has withstood the years of rain, wind and even hurricanes. Due to the severity of weather seen along the Atlantic coast, in 1937 it was decided to place a large chain around the school to hold it in place in the event of a major storm.
Another fun fact about the historic school is that it was one of the first schools to open classes for boys and girls in a co-ed environment. Classes of this form of instruction were said to begin around 1788 at the school. A kitchen was built separate from the building so that the students and live-in teacher would be safe in case of a fire and also to reduce the temperature inside the building during the Florida summer. The teacher of the school would live upstairs on the second floor. The family of the schoolmaster would also make their residence here.
Visiting the Oldest Wooden School House
The building is a cute place to take photos as it is located amongst a lot of other historic places. The detail in wood construction and the significant history behind the building make the overall visit to this schoolhouse interesting. Explore the interior and surrounding structures as well as vintage textbooks on your visit. The school is available for tours and includes a self-guided package. For more information please visit https://www.visitstaugustine.com/thing-to-do/oldest-wooden-school-house.
Thanks for reading and as always, keep on truckin’!