“Child, you don’t know how easy you have it nowadays! Why, I had to walk five miles to school every day, in the snow, uphill both ways!” So goes the comical statement made by many parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents to their “modern-day” offspring. While it may be a bit of a stretch, the old saying is really not that far off when it comes to what our ancestors had to do just to get to go to school, which was viewed by many parents and schoolchildren alike back in the old days as a privilege rather than the dreaded requirement that many kids see it as now.
An undated map posted online by the Wayne County Historical Society shows the location of 69 – that’s right, 69! – different schools in the county at one time, presumably in the late 1800s or early 1900s. The map identifies the location of a few schools whose names are recognizable, such as the ones in Waynesboro (which was called the Wayne County College, by the way, but only went through the twelfth grade); Frank Hughes School in Clifton (also originally called Frank Hughes College); and the Collinwood School. The majority of the remaining schools on the map were simply small country schools, many with only one room and one teacher for all the students. There are even a few of the country school buildings still standing to this day, including the old Fairview School, Shawnettee School, and Pinhook School. The school at Pinhook, in the Lutts community, was the last “country school” in the county to close its doors, educating students all the way into the mid-1980s.
Below are photos of a few of the old schools in Wayne County. These grainy old photos actually bring to mind a time when life was much harder for the old and young alike, but history shows us that every effort has been made for at least 100 years by Wayne County parents and educators to see that our children get the education they all deserve.