Fixtures in early Arizona Rim Country Schools were as you might imagine, sparse. In the Strawberry Schoolhouse for example they included a few rough wood benches, a potbelly stove, a shelf for books and slates for writing. Far from a store, the teacher hoarded her chalk like a miser his gold.
One day back in 1886, a piece of chalk disappeared, then another; and another; next it was an eraser, then the teacher’s gold watch left unattended during recess. Suspecting a thief, the students were kept after school and interrogated individually, read the Ten Commandments and sent home with notes. Nobody ever confessed. The teacher eventually left Strawberry Valley. The children grew up and had children of their own.
Fast forward to 1965. After being abandoned and forgotten for over half a century, public-spirited citizens have raised money to restore the Strawberry Schoolhouse and open it as a museum. When carpenters ventured into the attic to set rafters for a new roof, they found the answer to an 80-year-old mystery. In the attic was a pack rat’s nest containing bits of glitter and glass, hairpins and coins. And yes, pieces of chalk, an eraser, and a lady’s gold watch.
Today the Strawberry Schoolhouse is a treasured landmark and a registered historical site. Besides being a major tourist attraction, area school children now go there to observe authentic demonstrations of such historical activities as butter churning, weaving, and roping. With its paneled wainscoting and wallpaper, the restored schoolhouse stands today as proud testament to the early settlers’ thirst for knowledge. Take the time to visit this gem of Americana…you will be glad you did!
If coming from the north or south using Interstate 17, exit at Camp Verde (east on Arizona Highway 260) to Rt. 87 and south to Strawberry. Strawberry is 38 miles from Camp Verde. Pine is 3 miles south of Strawberry.
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Hours of Operation
Open by appointment only.