Thursday, June 16, 2011

Solid as a Rock

     In the rural hamlet of Rifton, in the Town of Esopus, Ulster County, NY sits the Rock School, a one room schoolhouse.

     Stepping back in time to 1811, the Town of Esopus is formed.  Nine years later, in 1820, the first school in that town is built at a cost of $100.00.  In 1866, the Old Rock School is built, replacing the old stone building with a red frame structure at a cost of $848.92.  This school housed grades 1-8.  Improvements were added such as a porch, shutters and a separate outhouse for boys and girls.
     In March of 1888, Anna Devine, my great-great-grandmother's cousin was born in Rifton, NY.  She grew up in this small town and attended the nearby New Paltz Teachers College located in New Paltz, NY.  She graduated in 1911 and began teaching in the quaint little one room schoolhouse.  In 1946, Anna Devine was inducted into the Alpha Chapter, pi State, Delta Kappa Gamma, international Society honoring outstanding teachers.  This outstanding teacher, Miss devine, along with her students in 1953, wrote and published a book about the history and development of their community.  the students divided into groups and interviewed the residents in their town.  This book which I am lucky to own is entitled 'Rifton, Our Past and Present'.
     Backtracking just a few years to 1948, the overcrowding of the one room schoolhouse made it necessary to use the Rifton Fire House for grades 1-3.  Miss Joan Lynch was hired at this time.  A few years later, due to increased enrollment, in 1954, a brick building, now the library and art room, was built as two classrooms.  continued overcrowding re-opened the Old Rock School for grades three and four.  In 1959, Rifton became part of Kingston City Schools Consolidated.
     Ten years later, in 1968, construction began on a new 14 room school building which was completed in 1971.  The new school which had been named in the great teacher's honor was dedicated to Miss Anna Devine on April 30,1972.  She died 15 days later.
     During her 48 years of teaching, Miss Devine started a drum corp and was active in the 4-H Club for at least 40 years.  She also directed operettas and even made the costumes for those operettas.  even after her retirement, she continued to work, substituting as needed.  She truly was a dedicated teacher.

                                            Anna Devine  11 March 1888 - 15 May 1972


" The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go"  -Dr Seuss

1 comment:

  1. Hi there Annmarie,
    I have spent some time trying to find any information on the history of Anna Devine..and then I came across your blog which led me to this lovely story about her. I have one of her paintings of the Perrine's covered bridge in Rifton and I was wondering if she spent much of her time painting? I would love to send you a photo of the painting and maybe you'll have a story behind it as well.
    I look forward to hearing back from you!
    Thank you!!
    Angela Garnier