Warren County Historical Society Presents …


July 1, 2014

Luzerne: Gailey Hill Schoolhouse

Warren County Historical Society recently held their annual ‘History Day’ at Lake Luzerne (June 7, 2014).  We spent the morning at the Adirondack Folk School and the afternoon at the Kinnear Museum of Local History.  Besides the Adirondack Folk School, Main Street in the hamlet of Lake Luzerne has some very interesting historical ‘hot spots.’ 

Next to the Folk School stands the tall chimney that marks the location of the Garner Tannery that operated from 1867 until it closed in 1909.  Across the street is the building that houses the Kinnear Museum of Local History and was once part of the Garner Tannery complex.    

Next to the tannery chimney is the Gailey Hill Schoolhouse that the Town of Lake Luzerne restored and moved to the present site.  The building housed the Gailey Hill one-room school that operated from 1865 to 1937.  The building is a very fine example of the typical one-room schoolhouses that served country towns before centralization. 

Across the street is Old Mill Park where Albrecht Pagenstecher operated the first mill to produce pulpwood in the United States.  Pagenstecher began the Hudson River Pulp & Paper Mill in this park.  That company would soon move down river to Corinth and eventually become ‘International Paper,’ an icon of the area and papermaking for more than 100 years.

For this issue of Rewind, we are presenting the brochure for the Gailey Hill Schoolhouse which the Kinnear Museum of Local History makes available to visitors of the schoolhouse museum.  The museum is open most weekends in July and August and well worth the visit.  For more information, contact Kinnear Museum of Local History at 518-696-4520.


Thank you to David Cranston, President of the Kinnear Museum of Local History for sharing the following information.



 1865 – 1937

Gailey Hill School

Gailey Hill School Main Street            Lake Luzerne, New York


This schoolhouse (1865-1937) was built by Warren Hall. Neighbors provided timber and manpower. The district included Gailey Hill, Thomas, Potash and part of Old Stage roads. It was a small school with the largest class about thirty students.

The students sat at desks, which they were responsible for keeping clean. The desks were placed in rows, with the first through eighth graders placed from east to west in the room (south to north in the current location!)

The students bought their books until 1910, but were furnished free to children in the school district after that time. Crayons, ink wells, ink, writing pads, pencils and pens were bought by the students, but during the depression, everyone shared.

A janitor, hired by the school district for five dollars a school year, would stoke the fire on cold mornings before class began. Many times it was 25 or 30 degrees below zero. Some of the students would arrive at school an hour or so early to help the janitor with the fire. Other students would bring a pail of water from the well for drinking purposes. Some had their own cups, but others would drink directly from the dipper. Four fire extinguishers hung from the ceiling in each corner of the room in case of fire. They were never used.

Gailey Hill Broch 2 Pic

 The school district didn’t provide transportation for the students.  School was always in session, regardless of weather conditions.  Class began at 9 a.m. with instruction for the first and second grades first, then to the seventh and eighth grades for each subject.

Arithmetic began the day.  A ten-minute recess came at 10:30 a.m. for everyone.  Reading and spelling came next, and following that, an hour was given for lunch.  Those living nearby could go home for lunch, but students who lived greater distances from school brought their lunch in pails.

Students were eager to ring the bell announcing the afternoon start of classes.

Geography was the first class of the afternoon followed by a ten-minute recess, and then history class.  When the teacher was teaching one grade in a subject, the other pupils would do their homework or read a book.  Sometimes the younger students would listen while the teacher was instructing the older ones.  By doing so, they found it much easier as they progressed.

During recess and noontime periods, the students would play games such as baseball and hide-and-seek.

The school was locked at the close of each day.  It was never vandalized.

At the end of each school year, the teacher and students with their families would have a picnic on the school grounds.  Food to share was brought by everyone.

Helena Madison, a teacher in   this school during the 1930’s, was paid a salary of $300 for a year’s teaching!

–Compiled by Doris Schlitt, Hadley-Lake Luzerne Historical Society


Students at Gailey Hill School, District 2

Top Row:    Elizabeth Griffin, Goldie Putney

Next Row:   Mary Bream (teacher), Hudson Reed, Helena Hall,
Lelia Stanton, Nellie O’Horne.

Next Row:   Meredith Ramsey, William Reed, Richard Hall, Frank Reed,

                        Mabel Stanton, Cassy Anderson, Nelly Howe, Lurinda Hall,

                       Addie Ramsey.

Front Row:  Lucy Ramsey Gage, Mildred Anderson, Martha Stanton,

                         Edna Stanton

 Gailey Hill School Broch 4 Pic 4

The School House was restored and moved to its current site by the Town of Lake Luzerne.  It is open most weekends during July and August courtesy of the Hadley-Luzerne Historical Society.

 For further information please contact

Kinnear Museum of Local History at 518-696-4520

© July 16,  2014, Warren County Historical Society




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