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The Van Cortlandtville Schoolhouse is historically and architecturally significant as a surviving example of a nineteenth-century one-room schoolhouse. The schoolhouse is an example of the Gothic Revival architecture applied to small scale local schoolhouses. At some point, the schoolhouse began to be called the “Little Red Schoolhouse” as well as “Common School District No. 10”.

Van Cortlandtville Schoolhouse, 1978

Nature, Wood, Brown, Green

Schoolhouse, 1986

Property, Architecture, Real estate, Roof

Building, Sky, Plant, Window

Building, Plant, House, Sky

During the 19th and into the 20th century, the norm for public elementary education in New York was the “common” school that went up to eighth grade. While many students went no further, public high schools became more common in the 1850s. The Van Cortlandtville Schoolhouse is a surviving example of the modest and utilitarian common schools that were prevalent in rural Westchester. Built about 1850, it first was just for boys and then later included girls, ranging from kindergarten to eighth grade.[1] The schoolhouse had relied on oil lamps, window lighting, and a wood-burning stove for heat in the building. [1] The schoolhouse embodies the distinctive characteristics of this building type, including frame construction, small size, large windows, separate boys’ and girls’ entrances, and one room with vestibule plan. A second classroom was added.[2]


The “Cortlandtville District 10 School,” as the sign over the entrance reads, remained in operation until 1935, when the Van Cortlandtville Elementary School was opened. It was used for occasional overcrowding through the 40s, until 1953 when it was used full time as a kindergarten.[3] The school officially closed in 1972, and now belongs to the Van Cortlandtville Historical Society. The society along with the Lakeland School District have collaborated to restore the building to its 19th century appearance.

[1] Van Cortlandtville Historical Society, “About Us”,

[2] National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination Form, United States Department of Interior-National Parks Service,

[3] Williams, Gray, Picturing Our Past: National Register sites in Westchester County. New York. 2003.

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