Thursday Doors: Oak Glen Schoolhouses

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.

Oak Glen’s second schoolhouse is made of stone and sits next to oaks and apple trees; burnt hillside from 2020 in background on left.

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.

Oak Glen’s 1927 schoolhouse with modest door, unique windows, and a classic school bell.

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.

Blossoming apple trees grow in front of Oak Glen’s 1927 schoolhouse.

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.

Oak Glen School sits on an old apple orchard, once owned by C.J. “Blackie” Wilshire, who was still working on the property at age 70 in 1969.

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.

A replica of Oak Glen’s original schoolhouse, 1889 – 1927.

Unfortunately, the wood schoolhouse is a favorite for the acorn woodpeckers. They’ve made the entire structure their acorn storage unit.

Oak Glen’s original schoolhouse is an acorn storage unit, with acorns stuffed everywhere, even under shingles.

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.

Published by Dawn Palmer

I am an avid nature and ecology lover and enjoy sharing my photography in my blog writings. I will often be out early in the morning or late in the evening with my camera, trying to capture the peacefulness and beauty around me.

21 thoughts on “Thursday Doors: Oak Glen Schoolhouses

    1. I agree! Im not sure how long it took to build, but there’s definitely a lot of big river rocks in the area to this day. We actually have many buildings and curbs with similar stones in my town—probably got them from the same area at base of mountain.

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      1. I see,the reason why I pay attention to things like this Dawn is because I’m a X Geologist .
        For instance,If all those rocks came from the mountain they would probably all be of the same rock type. I see many different types of rocks here. Probably moved from their host rock by a glacier? Then tumbled for a few thousand years in a stream.
        Mother Natures lapidary work

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  1. I love the craftsmanship on display in that stone school. It’s too bad the woodpeckers are having their way with the wooden school house and the wooden bits of the stone school. I hope they can keep them preserved. Thanks for the history.

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    1. I’m glad you liked it! 😊 There’s a lot of buildings and curbs around here with similar stones. I was thinking it was just the style back then, but maybe it has to do with the availability of cheap materials in the riverbed nearby.

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      1. I suppose that could be the reason. I think it’s the reason behind stone walls in the fields across much of the northeast. They had to remove them from the fields.

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    1. I glad you enjoyed it!
      Yes, acorn woodpeckers live in communal groups out here. They share a tree (or a building!) and pack acorns into it to let them dry out. All woodpeckers in that community can use the communal storage. I read that they can use the same tree/building for generations. I just hope the wood parts of these schoolhouses make it that long!

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  2. Interesting Oak Glen school history! Your photographs really show the story of the schools. Amazing how artistic but simple architecture can be beautiful.

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  3. Love these brick houses (and the school bell!) since there are not many of these in California. It seems CA saved more for history’s sake than TX does, where we moved to summer 2020. Still miss the nice temps and the forest where we lived (on the way to Lake Tahoe). Great catching up with you this way:) (I am most every Thurs. on Thurs. Doors, but probably later than you linked).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you enjoyed it! 😊 It seems to me that we have seen similar structures up in NorCal too. Maybe has to do with the mountains and rivers there as well. And I agree…CA is a little more known for conservation. I look forward to finding more historical sites and sharing them here.
      Oh, and I try to go back and check out newer posts on the challenges after I’ve posted. 🤓😎

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