|The Wheatland District No. 4 School was one of nine “district schools” that were built during the 1800s in the Town of Wheatland. District schools were authorized by the Legislature in 1812, and continued to grow in number as communities developed and the frontier was settled. By 1910, there were more than 10,000 such schools across New York State. District No. 4, also known as the Quaker School or the South Road School, was built in the 1850s. The building was continuously in use as a school until 1947 when it closed and children from that neighborhood were sent to the Scottsville School in the village. The Wheatland-Chili Central School was formed in 1954 from those remaining district schools and the Scottsville School.
The No. 4 schoolhouse originally stood on South Road near the present Stokoe Tree Farm. In 1956, it was purchased by Martin Giles and moved to his farm on River Road. For several decades, the building was used as a storage facility.
In early 2003, Mr. Giles’ son, Gary, offered to donate the building to the Wheatland-Chili School District for historic preservation and educational usage. That May, the Schoolhouse Committee was formed as local citizens joined together to coordinate the relocation and renovation of the school. Representing several organizations including the Wheatland Historical Association, Scottsville Rotary Club, and Wheatland-Chili Central School, the committee constructed a detailed plan that outlined financial, structural, and legal considerations. The committee sprang into action and the community responded enthusiastically! Schoolhouse alumni, local businesses, and area residents contributed generously to the effort. On September 15, 2004, the schoolhouse made its grand journey through the Village of Scottsville and was greeted by hundreds of students as it reached its new location on the campus of T.J. Connor Elementary School.
For the next eight months, the schoolhouse underwent an extensive and painstaking renovation. Taking great care to maintain historical accuracy, all restoration decisions were made with acute attention given to the integrity of the building. Once the restoration was complete, the schoolhouse was furnished with actual artifacts from the early twentieth century, some of which were original to the building when it first served as a school.
Thanks to nearly two hundred donors, volunteers, and talented craftsmen, the Wheatland District No. 4 School was officially dedicated to the community on May 14, 2005. A fitting addition to the village’s Historic District, the schoolhouse continues to educate the public through school programs and community events.
The Wheatland Schoolhouse Board coordinates programming for students, scouts, and the community, and oversees the maintenance and financing of the schoolhouse. Under the auspices of the Board exist several subcommittees that are dedicated to specific operations of the schoolhouse, such as Interpretation, Finances, Gardening, and Structural Maintenance. If you enjoy the riches of our local history, like the excitement of developing fun-filled programming, or are fascinated with historic preservation… the Wheatland Schoolhouse Board is calling your name!
For more information or to schedule a tour of the schoolhouse, please call the Wheatland-Chili District Office at 585-889-6247.
The Wheatland No. 4 Schoolhouse is located on the T.J. Connor Elementary School campus at the corner of Beckwith Avenue and Rochester Street in Scottsville.