Schoolhouse may move to Elkridge

April 11, 1994|By Sherry Joe | Sherry Joe,Sun Staff Writer

After six years near Route 108 in Clarksville, a 19th-century schoolhouse could find a permanent home in Elkridge.

The county Recreation and Parks Department hopes to move the Pfeiffer Corner Schoolhouse from the edge of the Middle Patuxent Environmental Area to Rockburn Branch Park, the site of three other historical structures.

The school would become "more of a destination" by being placed in the 400-acre park, said senior park planner Clara Gouin.

Park officials aim to move the school by 1996. That's when Clover Hill on Elk Ridge, a pre-Revolutionary War home, is scheduled for restoration.

The county also intends to restore two smaller buildings, both dating from the late 1800s. To renovate all four buildings and develop the park site will cost about $2.5 million, Ms. Gouin said.

In the meantime, park officials must consider the cost of moving the schoolhouse and determine if the building is stable enough to relocate.

Those interested in the school were happy to hear about the possible move.

"It's really exciting to see something might be done with it," said Patricia Greenwald, a resource teacher for gifted and talented students at Hammond Middle School in Laurel. Her students started researching the school's history six years ago.

According to Ms. Greenwald, students in grades one through eight attended the Pfeiffer Corner Schoolhouse from the late 1800s until it closed in the mid-1930s. The building was vacant for awhile, then became a home. The last resident died in 1986.

Two years later, park officials moved it from Pfeiffer Corner in Columbia to its current site near Trotter Road and Route 108.

The school was supposed to become an environmental education center in the Middle Patuxent Environment Area, a 1,000-acre property along the Middle Patuxent River.

Park officials later decided Rockburn Branch Park would be a better site because the school would be near other historical buildings and close to its original location.

If the schoolhouse is moved, it would be placed at the park's entrance, near Rockburn Elementary, and would be open to the public.

"It would be a resource for the Rockburn school," Ms. Gouin said. "Teachers could be dressed up in period costume."

Ms. Greenwald, who has some of the school's original textbooks and its potbelly stove, hopes to furnish it with student desks and a teacher's desk from the period.

"There's not many structures like Clover Hill and the Pfeiffer Corner Schoolhouse," said Chris Muller, manager of Rockburn Branch Park.

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