Pittsfield Township Historical Society :: Valentine School, 1857-195?, Michigan Avenue
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Side view of Valentine School in January, 2003

Location: North side of U.S. 12 between State Street and Saline, Michigan (next to Crispen Chevrolet), in its original location.

Note: This account was written by the students attending Valentine School during 1942-1943 (and deposited in the Bentley Historical Library).

Front view of Valentine School in January, 2003

The Valentine School is located in Fractional School District No. 7 and York No. 3 on the North side of U.S. 112 (now U.S. 12) between State Street and Saline, Michigan.

The School received its name from Luke Valentine who was the moderator of the school district in 1841. His farm was located across from the school land. This property now belongs to Dan Hertler.

The first school was located on the land belonging to G.W. Forten. The first schoolhouse cost $250.

For several years they discussed moving the site of the school to C. Pope estate and it was finally moved in 1857 to the present location.

Old Photo of Valentine School, year unknown

Valentine School outbuildings, as they appear today

The present building is a frame building 85 years old (as of 1941) 21 ft. by 27 ft. not less then 11 feet between floor and ceiling. It is a one-room building with a hall. There are 4 windows -- 2 on each side. It cost $300 for the school and $25 for the land for the site.

There is no record as to type of the first building but since the records show that $255 was raised to build the school, one would assume that it was not to be log.

In the early building there was a table for the teacher and benches for the scholars. Later on there was an organ. The stove was then in the middle of the room and the entrance was from the north. There were no lamps and there was no paper on the walls. They were left plain plaster.

Now the stove is jacketed and in the rear of the room. The entrance is from a hall in the Southern end. The school is painted and papered and electric lights have been installed. There is a piano, a victrola, individual desks for the pupils and a teacher's desk and chair. There are many files and cupboards made for material.

In 1837 when the first building was erected, Pittsfield No. 7 was combined with York 3. The building was placed on G.W. Forten's land and, according to reports, it stood on the north side of Bemis Road, across from the present day Fosdick School. This school was only temporary as they only leased the land and evidently planned to move it later into Pittsfield. They discussed moving it in 1838-1841-1844-1845 and finally received a unanimous vote in 1856. It was decided in 1857 to sell the old school house and change its site to the C. Pope estate and buy the land from him.

On 4 October 1846, the records show us that there were 28 children between the ages of 4 to 18 and by April of the next year there were 30 scholars. In 1848 there were 61 scholars.

In October 1838, they voted to hire a qualified teacher for 4 months. In 1843 they decided to have winter school with a male teacher for 3 months and summer school. In 1847 it was decided to have 26 days allowing the teacher one day each alternate week. The teacher was to teach 24 days a month. In 1857 they voted four months winter school and four months summer school. In 1873 they voted that they should have no school for the winter of 1874 and 3 months summer school. In 1879 they started school on October 1 for 6 months. They began spring school in 1884. In 1886 they had 9 months of school, and deviated from 7 to 9 months until 1902, when it remained 9 months.

Valentine School students, 1923

In the earlier times there were no grades. The children studied from books they brought from home. Often they studied Latin and Algebra in the rural school. In 1889 they had a special meeting to arrange for uniform textbooks according to school law. It was decided that each scholar should buy their own textbooks. In 1894 the following books were given as approved.

The organ was bought in 1901 and 1902 for $25.90 and the wood house was built in 1903 costing $38.24 and a dictionary and stand for $11.50 in 1908.

There have been entertainments at the school each Christmas. During the Christmas of 1930 and 1931 there were only a few scholars, and so they combined with the Roberts School in giving their play. In 1940 the children gave a marionette show for Easter and Christmas. There was an Achievement Night held in spring of several different years in which the children showed things they had accomplished during the year and put on a program

In 1939 the school won first prize at the Music Festival for their Toy Rhythm Band. The instruments they made themselves. In 1940 they won on the Marionettes. In 1940 they also won the cup of the Future Farmers for their rhythm band.

As of 1943, there is a Civic Health Club and the girls belong to the 4H club even though there are only 4 scholars. This is the smallest the school has been for a long time. In 1873 there was only one pupil whose name was Estella Tate.

The road U.S. 112 which passes the school was at one time a plank road, which extended from Detroit to Saline. There was a tollgate near Saline, which was later moved to the edge of the district. It cost $.01 a mile per horse to pass through the tollgate.

The social gatherings of earlier days consisted of parties or dances held in the various homes.

These are the names of some of the old teachers that taught at Valentine School and those up to the present time.

The Children in school during the year 1940-1941 were:

This ends the history report as written by the students.

Through research that I did of school records the following are the teachers for Valentine School that I found over and above those listed above. -- Julius W. Haab

Source: Pittsfield Township records, box 1, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan. This entry is from a history of Washtenaw County Schools written by students in the schools and loaned to the Bentley Historical Library by Julius W. Haab, County Superintendent, August 1943. It has been edited slightly for inclusion on the Pittsfield Township Historical Society Website.


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