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The Brainerd Schoolhouse Museum - Mount Holly, NJ
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member Math Teacher
N 39° 59.695 W 074° 47.176
18S E 518245 N 4427214
Quick Description: Built in 1759, the Old Schoolhouse is recognized as the oldest surviving one-room schoolhouse in the state of New Jersey on its original foundation. Today it serves as a museum and run by the historical society.
Location: New Jersey, United States
Date Posted: 11/27/2010 8:26:32 AM
Waymark Code: WMA7AY
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member MikeGolfJ3
Views: 7

Long Description:

The building was used as a school until 1848. Today, the Old Schoolhouse is open to the public on selected days and by appointment. Visitors experience life in an 18th century school setting. Costumed Dames guide tours and conduct education workshops to interested members of the public. Some of its furnishings include a schoolmaster's desk, student desks, slates and a 1752 Bible. Some sites still call it the Brainerd School, but it is officially listed as the Old Schoolhouse on the NRHP.

The building is located on a small side street called Brainerd Street. The street is within the boundaries of the historic district. There are several contributing structures here but I believe this is the only independent structure with its own listing on this street. The school is a single room. of simple construction, made of brick and has been restored to how it appeared over 250 years ago.

The building was recently listed on the NRHP site on November 26, 2008. As such, it is not on the usual nationalregisterofhistoricplaces site but instead can be found on the weekly updated lists produced on the site. I went HERE and browsed the 2008 weekly list of new properties. I clicked on the Weekly List for December 5, 2008 link and was brought HERE. Unfortunately the only information they had was this:
Old Schoolhouse,
35 Brainerd St.,
Mount Holly, 08001108,
LISTED, 11/26/08

From the Burlington County homepage: In June of 1759, twenty-one citizens of Mount Holly (nine Quakers, eight Episcopalians, four of unknown religion) subscribed for twenty-five shares to buy land and build a schoolhouse. Under one master or another, school was kept for over fifty years. In 1815, the surviving heirs of the builders deeded the building to the Female Benevolent Society. These women proposed to teach "in a public school all the poor children of Mount Holly and its vicinity gratis." For the next thirty-three years, over a thousand children were taught without charge. The schoolhouse remained in the possession of the Female Benevolent Society for 136 years, until 1951, when it was presented to The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in the State of New Jersey for preservation and restoration.

The original brick work of the front and two ends remains. It is laid in flemish bond, with headers alternating with red stetchers in a familiar South Jersey style. Research established the great size and location of the fireplace. Original shutters provided a pattern for new shutters. The arched ceiling follows the original line of the hand-hewn beams, one of which is still preserved.


From the N.J. Colonel Dames webpage:

In 1815, the school was deeded to the Female Benevolent Society. The group proposed to teach “in a public school, all the poor children of Mount Holly and its vicinity gratis.” In the ensuing years, many, many local children received their education in the school. After the state established free public schools in 1848, the Old Schoolhouse was used as a private school and other educational purposes. In 1951, the Female Benevolent Society turned the building over to the New Jersey Dames for preservation and restoration. SOURCE

I also found some information from my favorite source, the American Guide Series:

3. The BRAINERD SCHOOL (private), 35 Brainerd St., is a small, one-story brick building, brightly painted in yellow with solid shutters of green and white trim. Crowded between adjoining houses, the school is built flush with red brick sidewalk and shaded by a large maple. In this building, erected 1759, the Rev. John Brainerd taught in 1767. From the nearby church the missionary made such fiery denunciations of British rule that the Hessians burned the structure before evacuating the town in 1778. --- New Jersey, a Guide to Its Present and Past, 1939; page 294

Cultural History

Street Address:
35 Brainerd Street Mount Holly, NJ 08060 Telephone: (609) 702-9495

Food Court: no

Gift Shop: no

Hours of Operation:
Call for Appointment

Cost: 0.00 (listed in local currency)

Museum Size: Small

Relevant Web Site: [Web Link]

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