Thursday, August 7, 2008

Scotch Settlement School



Waiting for the children to arrive...
The Scotch Settlement School, in which Henry Ford began attending as a youth in 1871 (occupying a back corner seat while in attendance), was purchased in 1923, and is thought to be Ford's first acquisition for what would eventually become Greenfield Village. Built in 1861, it was originally located about one-and-a-half miles from his Dearborn Township home.

Even though it was his probable first purchase, the building was not brought to its new location until the summer of 1929, only months away from the Village's October grand opening gala, and well after many other buildings were already in place.
The school is furnished as it was when young Henry attended: the bench seats, the gas lighting, the stove in which young boys would gather and chop firewood to help stave off the cold Michigan winters, the slate blackboard...

The following is a story taken from the Henry Ford official website: Henry Ford and his friend, Edsel Ruddiman, were always playing pranks. To deal with mischievous students, the school hired John Chapman. The stern and heavy-set Chapman was paid an extra $5 a month because he could keep those types of boys in line.
Now in Greenfield Village, docents in period dress recreate life in the schoolhouse during Ford's time. The Village patrons who choose to "attend" class here must adhere to 19th century rules, including having the ladies sit on one side of the room while the gentlemen must sit on the other. Period-correct questions are then asked by the visiting schoolmarm, Mrs. Narden (the regular teacher, Mr. Chapman, had taken ill and could not be there to teach). The "students" (Greenfield Village patrons) attempt to answer the questions correctly.This is one of the few scenarios in the Village where 'first person' is practiced by the presenter and usually takes place during the summer season.
A fine and fun time is had by all who attend.

Guess who carved his initials in his desk way back when...?


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