Bethlehem Historical Association

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Cedar Hill Schoolhouse 1859-1965

This building was built as a one room schoolhouse in 1859. The front room was the original school. The students sat facing east and the door was located on the River Road side where the center window is now.


There was no electricity or plumbing and heat was provided by a wood stove. One teacher managed the building and taught approximately thirty students who spanned eight grades. The students attended when not needed at home.


In 1909, noted architect, Marcus Reynolds, redesigned the schoolhouse. The second room and the cupola were added. The entrance was moved to the south side of the building and extensive modernization took place. Electricity, plumbing, and a coal furnace were installed. At that time, a second teacher was added and the eight grades were split between the two rooms.


In 1944, the number of grades was reduced to six and by the 1950’s only grades three and four were taught here. In 1962, the students were assigned to new modern buildings in the Ravena –Coeymans School District and the Cedar Hill School closed.


The Town of Bethlehem acquired the building for use as the town museum. The Bethlehem Historical Association was formed in 1965 to run the museum and to use the building as its home base.