HISTORY OF THE TEACHING MUSEUM
The purpose of the Talking Rock Schoolhouse Teaching Museum is to preserve a historic schoolhouse so that future generations can appreciate early life and education in the Appalachian foothills.
This building was originally Ludville High School and was located in Ludville, in the west end of Pickens County. The building was constructed in 1877 and was the first high school in the county. Despite being in Ludville, the school was patronized by people from all parts of the county and other counties. Families in the area operated boarding houses to help accommodate the students.
Due to financial difficulties, the school was sold by Newborn W. Black to Chesley Vincent, who was an educator. Professor Vincent operated the school at Ludville for a time. When the railroad came to Talking Rock, Professor Vincent moved the school to Talking Rock. He felt the school would be more available to students being closer to the railroad.
From 1883 to sometime in the 1930’s this building served as a schoolhouse for the children in the Talking Rock area. It was known then as Talking Rock Academy.
The original building was a two-story structure. The Odd Fellows Society occupied the second floor of the building for some time after it was moved to Talking Rock. The Odd Fellows Society was a fraternal organization that helped to protect and care for the poor and less fortunate in their community. There was no welfare system then.
In the early 1930’s, the second floor of the building had to be removed because of heavy winds and storm damage. The men in the community thought it was best to remove the second story, and they used a strong cable to try to straighten the building. However, today there is still a small amount of lean to the building.
From the late 1930’s until the mid 1970’s the building served as a community building. Sunday School was held here. Christmas plays, Vacation Bible Schools, Halloween carnivals, meeting of the Talking Rock Homemakers’ Club, miscellaneous showers, and even precinct voting took place in this building.
The Old School Days in Talking Rock
The school year did not start until the first part of September and would last for 8 months. The school day started around 8:00a.m. and ended at 3:30p.m. The school day opened with a prayer. In this schoolhouse, there was a curtain that divided the “little room” for Primer to 4th Grade from the “big room” for 5th through 7th grades. The teacher’s desk was up on a platform, stage-like area so the teacher could see the class. Each desk sat two students, and you could choose your partner as long as you behaved.
Heat was provided by a two-eyed burner wood stove. The older students would usually come a little early in the morning to start the fire in the stove so the building could begin warming up. The restrooms were located outside. There was an out-house for the boys and one in a different location for the girls.
There was an hour allowed for lunch. Lunches were brought from home in sacks, lard buckets, or wrapped in newspaper. The lunches were put in the corner out of the way until it was time to eat. There was a table with a water bucket. In the early days, all the students drank out of the same bucket and shared a cup or ladle. Obviously, they did not worry too much about germs.
There is a story that in 1889 the teacher, William T. Townsend, walked nine miles to the Talking Rock School. One day it was nine degrees below zero when he walked to the school. None of the students came that day.
Mr. Townsend built a fire, warmed up, and walked back home. During his first term, Mr. Townsend had enrolled 14 boys and 21 girls. He was paid about 5 cents a day, and he made about $30 for his work that term.
Built in Ludville - Originally a high school
Moved to Talking Rock to use
as a school for children
Removed the second floor
Closed the schoolhouse
1933 to mid-1970’s
Used as a community center
Dedicated as a teaching museum
Heritage Days Festival is held on the third full weekend in October and is the highlight of the year in Talking Rock. Vendors from around the state join with shop owners for a 2-day festival, that includes food, fun and music. Admission and parking are free!