New Schoolhouse in 1924

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San Tan Shadows

New Schoolhouse

In 1924, construction of a new schoolhouse began on Ellsworth Rd, one half mile north of Rittenhouse.  The new school, to be named after Charles Rittenhouse, would be a three room U-shaped building, constructed of Arizona red brick with white trimmed transomed windows.

Divider close-upTwo roll-down room dividers separated the three rooms, and a small stage was equipped with an abbreviated fly loft.  Over time, however, changes were made to accommodate the needs of the growing community.  The stage was removed to make room for Home Economics classes, and the roll-down dividers were hidden behind solid walls.

But thanks to the dedication of the San Tan Historical Society volunteers, visitors to the museum can imagine the facility as it once was.  The old school was placed on the Arizona Historical Registry in 1990, and accepted by the National Register of Historical Places in 1998.

Room dividerIt is the uniqueness of the roll-down room dividers that ensured its place on the Historic Registers.  Supported by steel shafts, the wood panels roll tightly into a box above each opening.  Three steel springs on each side of the shaft provide the tension for ease of rolling and un-rolling.  There are no counter-weights, like you may find in the window frames of old homes.  Over the years the springs have weakened, but thanks to a little cleaning and tender-loving care, they are again in working order.