Earlier this year, the Heritage Alliance was the recipient of a Historic Preservation Grant from the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR). The grant provided new paint and wood repair for Oak Hill School. Over the course of the summer, local painter Christopher Basar and his team with J. Ross Historic Restoration repainted the schoolhouse and repaired/replaced rotten wood. “In a normal year, Oak Hill School welcomes thousands of people for educational programs,” said Executive Director Anne Mason. “It’s such a part of the community, and this preservation grant from the NSDAR has made it possible for us to keep the schoolhouse in operation for years to come.”
Executive Director Anne Mason and members/officers of the State of Franklin Chapter of the NSDAR pose outside Oak Hill School.
Built in 1886, Oak Hill School served first through eighth grade students in the Knob Creek Community of Johnson City until 1952. It was a part of Washington County Schools. The building was moved to Jonesborough in the 1990s to save it from demolition. The schoolhouse is the largest artifact in the collection of the Jonesborough & Washington County History Museum. Today, the Heritage Alliance runs the Oak Hill School Heritage Education Program out of the building. This experiential learning program, the only one of its kind in the area, transports students back to a school day in 1892/1893. The program is based off the records of Washington County Schools’ superintendent at that time. The Heritage Alliance has also partnered with Jonesborough Elementary School to create a unique experience in Oak Hill School where students come and do their 21st Century lessons with 19th Century supplies. Instead of computers, they use slate tablets.
Oak Hill School is home to the State of Franklin Chapter’s Constitution Week Bell Ringing which takes place on the schoolhouse lawn every September. The Jonesborough Storyteller’s Guild has used the school as the “Swapping Ground” at the National Storytelling Festival, and there have even been weddings in the building. “We cannot thank the State of Franklin Chapter of the NSDAR enough for sponsoring Oak Hill School for this grant. We look forward to the next one hundred years for the schoolhouse,” Mason shared.
“State of Franklin NSDAR treasures Oak Hill School and its contributions to the community. As a historic schoolhouse structure where our chapter partners with Heritage Alliance to celebrate Constitution Week each year, it aligns with DAR’s missions of historic preservation, education, and patriotism. We’re so grateful to be a part of securing its future,” added State of Franklin Regent Allyson Wilkinson.
Funding for this project was made possible through the sponsorship of the State of Franklin Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution. The State of Franklin Chapter of the NSDAR has been based in Jonesborough since 1929.