OLD SCHOOL OF THE DAY
Landaff Blue School
813 Mill Brook Road
Landaff, NH 03585
Landaff Blue School is an elementary school located in Landaff, New Hampshire and is one of 7 elementary schools in the Sau #35 Office. There are 18 students from kindergarten to 3rd grade and a student/teacher ratio of 9:1. Despite the early presence of the Dartmouth group and the construction of a school, Landaff voters in 1784 refused to spend any money on education and continued that thinking for several years. By 1798, however, the town voted to setup school districts and voted $150.00 for school use. By 1840, Landaff had 440 school children in 9 schools. After the split with Easton, the town had 7 school districts: 1-Scotland; 2-Ireland; 3-Blue School; 4-South Landaff; 5-Foster Hill; 6-Center; and 9-Whitcherville. In the early part of 20th Century school districts began to consolidate as student numbers decreased and transportation improved. By 1942, there were only 3 schools and now only one – the Blue School. So there should be no surprise that New Hampshire’s once dominant one-room or tiny schools have dwindled to just two: one being Landaff’s Blue School (the other is the Croydon Village School, near Newport).
The Blue School sits on a small knoll of land bordered by a stream, a simple baseball field and the intersection of two country roads. There is not a house in view, and little room to park. Parking wasn’t a concern when the school was built in 1858, the year of Teddy Roosevelt’s birth; the Blue School was one of six schools that served Landaff. Over time, the schools were consolidated to one. Former one-room schools, which dotted the rural landscape, were routinely sold off as transportation became easier and were folded into the existing housing stock. A closer view reveals the building’s antiquity – like the hard wood floors, the large double hung wood stash windows, the thimble that once served the wood stove, old coat hooks in a small ante room that lead to the two small sink-less lavatories (there is shared sink in the ante room) with old tin signs above each. A second structure, a modern, modular building sits behind the old school house. The two buildings are carefully joined by a roofed breezeway that ensures an actual and visual transition between the two. The newer rectangular building was added a few years back when there was a jump in enrollment. The numbers didn’t hold and the space now serves as the library and lunch room. Instruction occurs in the large main room of the school house thus protecting the school’s rare status.