With roots reaching back to the creation of the first private normal school in West Virginia in 1865, Fairmont State University has a long history of providing high quality training for the state’s educators. The One-Room Schoolhouse Museum, a campus landmark, remains a visible symbol of the University’s continued focus on teaching and learning. Efforts are under way to preserve the building for future generations.
The Fairmont State Foundation, Inc. is currently raising funds to support needed restoration work for the schoolhouse in order to accommodate future programs and educational experiences,” said William Armistead, President of the Fairmont State Foundation, Inc.
The University is exploring programming ideas that would allow use of the One-Room Schoolhouse Museum by the community, specifically younger school-age children, who can experience a living history by visiting and participating in activities at the schoolhouse.
Located near the Bryant Street Entrance to main campus, the museum is also a significant artifact of regional and educational history. In 1840, William Snodgrass erected a log building—to serve as both a schoolhouse and a church building—next to his home in Rymer, located approximately 8 miles from Mannington. Later, a frame building replaced the log structure. In 1871 the 23-foot by 26-foot white frame schoolhouse was built, and it is that building that is now on Fairmont State’s campus as the One-Room Schoolhouse Museum. The Snodgrass School began as a subscription school, where local children could attend for a fee. It later became part of the free public education system as Mannington District School Number 13. The Snodgrass School ceased operation sometime before 1950. The school was originally placed on Fairmont State’s campus in 1962 and was moved in 1992 to its current location.
“Nearly every time I drive past the One-room Schoolhouse Museum, I am reminded of the impact Fairmont State had and continues to have on education throughout this state and beyond. Often, that schoolhouse makes me think about how much education has changed over the years. Sometimes, I think about my own experiences teaching in a two-room school in Idamay just after graduating from Fairmont State College. But, most of all, I am inspired by thoughts of teachers who dedicated their lives to making a difference in the lives of their students,” said FSU President Maria Rose.
Since its original dedication in 1962, the Snodgrass School has served Fairmont State and the community as a museum, complete with student desks, a brass handbell, a variety of early textbooks and other period artifacts.
To further preserve the One-Room Schoolhouse Museum and to ensure that it will be accessible for the greater community, a $70,000 construction project is being planned. The project would include securing the building’s structural support; repairing any damage; removing and re-installing the exterior siding, window panes and trim; installing a new handicapped accessible ramp; and installing a new concrete sidewalk.
To support the One-Room Schoolhouse Museum at FSU, gifts can be made to the Fairmont State Foundation, Inc., 1300 Locust Ave., P.O. Box 461, Fairmont, WV 26555. For more information, call (304) 534-8786.