One-room schoolhouse to be rescued

Realtor to perk up old School 17, retaining the feel of the time

Meaghan M. McDermott
Staff writer

Originally posted on February 21, 2007, on the Democrat and Chronicle and listed with the town of GREECE next to the date

John Geisler is proud of his one-room schoolhouse.

“I’m a member of the historical society and very much interested in preserving old structures,” said Geisler, who has run his real estate agency, Geisler Realty, from the former Greece School 17 at 3100 Long Pond Road since 1977. “I like history and wanted to preserve this building by not letting it go anywhere.”

The building, with its wooden clapboards and original 12-foot by 5-foot windows on the west side, served as a school from the early 1800s with the Greece District 17 until the mid-1950s. After that, it was known as the Grog Shop liquor store, and its bright brick red facade was a familiar sight to those driving near Latta and Long Pond roads.

“When we got it, it was all one room and paneled,” said Geisler. “We converted it into an office,” he said. “The old School 17 is one of only about three of Greece’s old one-room schoolhouses that are still standing,” said Alan Mueller, town historian. “By 1900, most of the school districts were already on their second buildings,” he said, noting that many of the original one-room schools weren’t built for longevity. In the late 1800s, there were at least 17 school districts for the children of Greece and surrounding areas in Parma, Gates, Ogden, and Rochester. A report from 1881 held by the historian’s office shows those districts received about $3,000 in total aid from the county commissioner that year. “Taxes, though, they were pretty much, ‘I’ll pay $10 for books, and you fix the roof, and you shovel when it gets bad outside,'” said Mueller. He said Greece started consolidating its school districts after 1925, when the state Legislature passed the Central Rural School act, and gave state aid for libraries and special aid for building, enlarging, and remodeling school buildings as well as for transporting students to and from school.

“That’s when people really started saying we can’t have all these little rinky-dink things out in the hinterlands,” he said. He said the only one-room schoolhouses he’s aware are still standing are Geisler’s building, one on Frisbee Hill Road that has been converted into a residence, and the old School 9 on Long Pond Road, which was actually a two-room schoolhouse before being converted into a home in 1949.

Geisler said he plans for his building to keep standing: and even has some changes in the works for the old 14,000-square-foot school. He’s planned a 5,400-square-foot addition that he said will adhere to the original old-school architecture of the schoolhouse.

“You don’t see buildings like this with such high peaks,” he said, pointing to the steeply pitched roof. “There’s a lot of ambiance to this old structure.”

The addition that Geisler has proposed would have clapboard cladding similar to the original building and would replicate the old school’s high-pitched roof and large windows.

“We don’t want to detract in any way from the building we have,” said Geisler. “We want to build something that will be memorable.” The project is in the midst of Planning Board hearings, and if it is approved, construction wouldn’t begin until summer.

“I will be really happy when it’s finished,” said Geisler. “The schoolhouse is a close piece of my heart, it’s a great property.”

But after this article was written by Meaghan M. McDermott the project by John was abandoned and now it sits vacant and possibly ready for demolition and or up for sale again if you feel that it could be saved then take up the action to buy the property and try to save the school if you want to protect history then it’s your call to preserve it if not then the school building will fade into history.