When I turned around to take a look at the Craig House (designed as it turned out by the same architect as this building) I turned down a street heading towards Fishkill Creek. Part of the way down I came across this abandoned building. I thought at first that it was a church, but then noticed a plaque on one of the walls, which read: “Tioronda School”.

In Historic Beacon Robert J. Murphy and Denise Doring Van Buren write:

Miles apart from all other early schools in our history stands the former Tioronda School. Designed by renowned architect Frederick Clarke Withers the building is unexpectedly churchly in appearance – and, in fact, it was once used as a chapel. Built in 1865, it is our oldest schoolhouse extant. Its long history even includes hospital duty: during the Great Flu Epidemic of 1918 the Red Cross used the school as an emergency hospital to treat the overflow of Beacon’s sick.

They also include a couple of old photographs of the school, one of which is of the building itself and the other a group picture of students with the headmaster, Professor Eugene Haight. Accompanying the latter is the following description:

Professor Eugene Haight’s career profile was that of any archetypal dedicated teacher. he was the principal of Tioronda School from 1886 to 1916, a record of longevity in one place unmatched by any educator. When the school board forced him to retire, so they could hire a woman at a lesser salary, two generations of his students – including 12 who were now teachers – professed their admiration for him. Haight resigned quietly with a $50-a-month pension.

If you follow the road further you come to a dead end at Fishkill Creek. The road continues on the other side but the bridge, which used to connect the two sides had gone. When I was there I noticed surveyors were also there. Maybe they plan to rebuild the bridge?

On the other side of the creeks was a place I’d already visited although I didn’t at first recognize it. It’s the old Tioronda Hat Factory.

Large tree next to the road.

Old tree with outbuilding.

Closer view of the outbuilding.

Abandoned tennis court. Feels like something out of “Sunset Boulevard”.

Plaque with school name.




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