Oak Glen is situated at the foothills of San Bernardino National Forest. It barey survived a horrible fire in 2020 (no thanks to an idiotic gender reveal); evidence of the fire is found on nearby hillsides just outside the property. I was happy to see that this old schoolhouse, nestled in a very old oak grove, survived the fire; sharing for Dan’s Thursday Doors.
Oak Glen is a quaint little town, but it apparently was booming in the 1920s and needed a larger school. The first photo captures the front door and the side the “newer” two-story schoolhouse built of stone in 1927. I love the school bell that dons the top of the building too. The Oak Glen school was built on skids and moved from one side of the oak grove to the other.
I don’t know if the doors were originally blue, but the color stands out nicely against the stonework. The door is not that fancy, which makes sense, given that it was built for school during the Great Depression era. I like the window on top of the door and the ones to the sides of it. While the door is plain, the overall architecture just seems to fit into its surroundings.
Students attended this school from 1928 to 1965, but when public school standards regarding earthquakes changed, this stone structure was deemed unsafe. When I look at the stones, I think it looks remarkably solid. Perhaps the foundation was more of a concern during earthquakes than the stones.
The Oak Glen school was built on a rancher’s land. The sign on the side of the building says that it once belonged to C.J. “Blackie” Wilshire, and from what I could find about him, he was one of the first apple orchard growers in Oak Glen. His orchard was not as big as Parrish’s ranch, which is nearby (and did not quite fair as well from the recent fire). The county maintains the schoolhouses as part of a museum now.
What did the first schoolhouse look like? Well, it’s wooden, one-room structure was small enough that the town needed something larger and sturdier. The first school was built in 1889 and used for thirty-nine years. A replica of it sits a little further back in the oak grove, behind the newer school.
Unfortunately, the wood schoolhouse is a favorite for the acorn woodpeckers. They’ve made the entire structure their acorn storage unit.
On my walk around the schools, I discovered dozens of acorn woodpeckers–some were not happy with my presence and alerted other woodpeckers. The woodpeckers have pretty much taken over the wooden window sills of the stone schoolhouse, too.
The schoolhouses are open for visitors briefly during arbitrary days (“when available”), which tells me that not many people wander around here–and the acorn woodpeckers think they own the place. Based on the thousands of acorns embedded in the schools, I tend to think the woodpeckers are correct. I am just glad this historical area and the beautiful oaks and apple trees survived the last fire.