Schoolhouse Vacation Retreat
We met Roz Fitch at the 2012 CSAA Conference in Ankeny, IA this summer and she had a story to tell of preserving a schoolhouse in upstate New York. In our travels we have witnessed the transformation of our remaining schoolhouses to a myriad of uses from art galleries to pizza parlors. Wistfully we envision these run down little structures being adopted by local historical societies and civic groups for restoration as living history museums, but lack of money and human resources bring us back to reality. This is where a saviour like Roz Fitch steps in!
It started as a dream in 1991 when Roz, then a lobbyist in Washington DC, located the owner of the derelict little school near her old family farm in Delware County and bought it and 1/3 of an acre for $6,000. Twenty years would go by before Roz had the time to undertake the restoration, but she enlisted the help of her architect husband and construction people who were familiar with old building methods. Roz's second home schoolhouse, a vacation retreat near her family, is now ready for its new role in the 21st century. Her commitment and a cool $100,000+ saved another national icon from the ravages of time and Mother Nature. In Roz's words:
"I wanted to tell you a bit about my school house. Over the past dozen years I have been involved in the restoration of a 19th century one room schoolhouse in upstate NY, in the Catskill mountains. This school, named the South Franklin School, District #19, was built in 1853. It had been abandoned when I bought it 22 years ago, and was in danger of falling down. I grew up on a dairy farm just a 2 minute walk away. I saw it all the time but never knew what it was. Another reason I wanted to save it is that my father’s siblings all attended the school, and one of his sisters taught there. My grandfather was the last clerk when it closed in 1929 to make way for the first central school in NYS. This school was one of 350 one room schools in Delaware County, NY. I look forward to living in it as a place to retreat from the city. My parents and siblings live very close by. It's been a joy to save this tiny treasure."
Roz's restoration project was featured in Kiplinger's Peronal Finance Magazine in June 2012. We have added the link below and thank Riz for sharung her story with CSAA.
(Top) Rox Fitch and her little vacation home restored, courtesy Kiplinger's)
(L) District #19 before restoration
(Below) Roz Fitch in her new home
Please enjoy the article featuring Roz Fitch's project in Kiplinger's Magazine of June 2012.