- Raising the Flag
- Little Red School House
- Chapter Members
- Original Blackboard
- Chapter Members in the School House
- Little Red School House
- Books at the School House
Little Red School House
"This schoolhouse is a town monument, and has stood more than three score years and ten, through the cold winters and hot summers, and through the early wars that raged about it incessantly the first twenty years of its existence, by the barbarous 'Kids' that came down from the mountains to the lowlands to capture and carry away Knowledge."
- R.W. Allen, Class of 1850
The Little Red School House District No. 7 served as one of Newport's first educational institutions for more than 50 years.
The beginning of the one-room school house starts in May of 1811, when Newport's two selectmen deeded a piece of land for the school on the corner of Goshen and Pollards Mill Roads.
The first school district meeting was held in 1835, under the maple tree which still stands near the school house. A seven-article warrant was presented in which the citizens of the area elected a moderator, clerk, and prudential committee, voted money, and adopted measures for the building of the school. They appropriated $140 to build the school.
The Little Red School House was built by local carpenter John Gilmore. An outhouse was added to the back in 1836 for a cost of $1.50. Few New Hampshire district school houses dating before 1850 survive; still fewer survive in essentially unaltered condition. Newport's District No. 7 preserves the appearance of an early nineteenth century school house.
The student benches were constructed of a single plank, varying from 18 to 24 inches in width for the base and back of the seats. They sat three pupils across. The benches were relocated prior to 1885 to accommodate the new woodstove, but marks on the walls indicate their original location. Few books were available, but the records show that at one meeting, permission was granted for the teacher to purchase elementary spelling books. The blackboard, made out of wide pine boards painted black, is original, as are the 26 letters of the alphabet across the top.
The school was open and maintained year-round, mostly because weather and traveling conditions made winter sessions difficult to get to. The budget for the first years of operation was about $50 per year. In 1850, the summer teacher was paid $14, the winter teacher $33, and repairs cost 89 cents.
The first students were from the Allen, Thatcher, White, Haven, Emerson, Brown and Wilcox families. The first teacher was Josiah Stevens, Jr. Subsequent teachers included Charles Emerson (former principal of Towle School), S.H. Edes, Edith Reed Brennan, Carrie P. Tenney, Betsy Arrozina Emerson, May Parker, Frances Emerson Thompson, Susie Marshall, and Elmira Bailey Pike.
In the late 1800s, many New Hampshire towns, including Newport, began a movement to consolidate schools as population in remote areas decreased. This tendency resulted in the abandonment and eventual destruction or conversion of the small district school houses that had formerly existed at ten or fifteen locations throughout most country townships. The Little Red School House closed in 1891 when Newport adopted the school union system, despite being, at one time, the most heavily attended school building in town.
A decade later, the Little Red School House Association was formed to attempt to maintain the building. Comprised of alumni, the association held an annual picnic on the grounds. R.W. Allen, class of 1850, wrote, "In this school, there was but one professor, and that was the Master. He taught us medicine, mathematics, philosophy, literature, English (no Latin) and history. Our class room and lecture room was just the old Red Schoolhouse. We had no organized sports; every kid was out for himself. Our athletic ground was the woodpile...The pupils not only brought their own text books, but paper, pens and ink. The teachers did the same."
The Little Red School House sat vacant for sixty years. In 1951, the Reprisal Chapter NSDAR registered a 99-year lease with the town of Newport and began restorations of the Little Red School House. Original interior features include a coved ceiling, stove chimney, two double-branched hanging kerosene lamp fixtures, desk benches, a planed and painted wooden blackboard, and wide-board dado and flooring. Changes to the interior include a replastered ceiling and a later woodstove, while a flagpole and single folding window shutters have been added to the exterior.
On Memorial Day in 1952, the Little Red School House was opened to the public as an historic landmark. The property was entered on the National Register of Historic Places in December of 1980.
The Little Red School House is open on Saturdays in July and August, and by appointment. Tours are free to the public and are hosted by chapter members.