Building Description Rock Hill School, Lebanon Oregon

The Rock Hill School building is a rectangular, one-story, wood frame, one-room schoolhouse. The building rests on a concrete foundation, and is of balloon frame construction. Shiplap siding with corner boards and frieze boards finish the exterior. Four windows with four-over-four, double-hung wood frame sashes are located on the north and the south elevations. A recessed entry with bracketed cornice-like porch cap is centered in the middle of the east (front) elevation. The building is covered with a front facing gable roof with a 12 in 12 pitch, capped on the front by a small squared, bellcast, hip-roofed open bell tower that has a finial on the peak. Roof and bell tower are wood shingled. An interior corbelled cap chimney pierces the west peak of the roof. A one-story woodshed is attached to the west (rear) elevation. On the lintel above the entry is painted "ROCK HILL DIST. #31".

The schoolhouse building measures 30 by 40 feet. A continuous concrete perimeter foundation and concrete piers support 7½" by 7½" girders and 1¾" by 7½" floor joists. Diagonal 1" by 8" sheathing and 4" tongue and groove floor boards complete the floor structure. Under the building, but not in use, four field stones, probably from the foundation of an earlier, possibly smaller school building, are visible. These are evenly spaced and in a single line, 40 inches north of the present south wall of the building.

The building is clad with shiplap siding 5" wide with a 3/4," V-shaped bevel. Corner boards vary from 4½" to 6" wide. A 9"-wide waterboard is topped by a 1 ¾" watertable with a sloped edge and 1" cove molding below. Round nails used to attach the waterboard to the sill suggest that the board may have been removed and then reattached at some time in the past. Square nails, however, were used throughout the original construction. (Although this suggests that the concrete foundation was added after the building was completed, residue concrete on the joists indicates that the joists were used as form boards for the foundation before being used in the structure. On the basis of this evidence, the concrete foundation appears to be original to this building.) The frieze boards are 7½" wide on the sides of the building and 9' wide on the gable ends. A crown molding is at the junction of frieze and eave. The boxed eaves overhang 18½" overall with a fascia composed of 2" of flat surface and a 4" crown molding against the roof edge. The four windows on each side are symmetrically placed about five feet apart and five feet above ground level. The window openings measure 3'1" by 6'6". They are framed by 5½" boards with a 3" crown molding on the top frame. The glass panes in the four-over-four, double-hung sash measure 16" by 17½".

A recessed entry is centered on the front (east) gable end. It is four feet deep, eight feet wide and ten feet high, framed in plain 6" corner boards with sculpted bases. Above the entry lintel is a roofed cornice-like cap supported by three-layered, Italianate-style brackets which are placed on the entry frame. The brackets are 17½" tall and about a foot deep, with intricate curves and cut-out side pieces. The entry recess is clad with 3¼" wainscotting material laid horizontally. A plain frame surrounds the 5'11" by 7'2" high double doorway and the 20" split transom. The doors are shown in a ca. 1925 photograph to have had five horizontal panels. (One of these doors was discovered in the woodshed in poor condition.) It is not known if these doors are original or simply replacements. There is a framed, 20" square vent in the gable end high above the entry. A hole in the siding for inserting a flagpole is located high above the front entry.

The bell tower straddles the roof at its east end, above the entry. It is about seven feet wide at the widest part of its flared and shingled base. The open portion is about four feet square, with 5½" square corner posts and flattened arches. There is a rounded drop detail adjacent to the posts. The boxes eaves of the bellcast roof extend about 18" beyond the posts. The bellfry roof is topped by a knobbed wooden spire-shaped finial.

The woodshed, on the west elevation, has a hipped roof. Its walls rest on concrete blocks. The shed measures ten by twenty feet, has a dirt floor, unfinished interior (stud) walls, a door to access the school and a 3'10" wide door on the north to access the outside. A fire in the woodshed resulted in damage to the west wall. This exterior wall subsequently was covered over with plywood.

The low, uncovered wooden front porch and its steps are missing; however, most of the original rock piers are still in place, and indicate where it was. It appears to have measured 6'6" deep and 12'9" long. The well, its casing now visible above ground, is located sixty-three feet east of the front of the building near the present road. Depressions to the rear of the building mark the locations of the most recent outhouses. The girls' outhouse was located on the northwest side and the boys' outhouse on the southwest, both to the rear of the schoolhouse. One of the recent owners, Norma Wilson Morgan, a student from about 1918 until she graduated in 1927, remembers that there was no shed to tie up and protect the horses, so the children left their horses at nearby neighbors' barns. At that time a wooden fence with a wide board on the top surrounded the one-acre parcel of land. According to Norma Morgan and her sister, Alta Wilson Ballew, children regularly got into trouble because they enjoyed walking along the top board to test their balance. There was no gate in the fence; instead a stile with a broad top provided access to the schoolyard.

The schoolhouse was originally painted white with black trim on the window sash. Now it is almost devoid of paint and the siding, especially on the south and west sides, is very weather-worn with deep ruts showing the wood grain.

In August 1991, when The Rock Hill School Foundation assumed responsibility for the school building, it was being used for hay storage. Boards securing the front entrance had been pried open. Shutters, constructed by the t owners to protect the windows, hung partially broken. Since August, The Foundation members have removed the hay, secured windows and doorways with plywood, reset loose siding nails, and completed a new wood shingle roof on the main volume and the bell tower. Much of the window sash has been destroyed or removed by vandals but enough remains to allow accurate reconstruction. The weight of the hay has caused some bowing in the floor structure and a pronounced "sag" toward the center of the floor, which will be gradually corrected by slow jacking and by rebracing of the two central longitudinal girders. The structure of the building is generally sound. However, there is some damage to the sill in the northwest corner. A few siding boards are missing (removed by vandals). The upper portion of the west gable end was covered by wood shingles, which are now removed. The siding that was under the shingles appears to be in good condition; however, the shingles may have been an attempt to solve a water leak on this "weather side", and it may be necessary to remove and replace the siding in order to waterproof the west gable end. In October 1991, a crown molding from the woodshed eave was used to replace a missing section of the front gable molding. A replacement must be found or made for the woodshed as the restoration proceeds.

The school bell, which disappeared many years ago under mysterious circumstances, has yet to be found although The Rock Hill School Foundation has followed several leads. An identical bell that was used in a nearby school has been offered to the Rock Hill School, and will be placed in the bell tower this spring if the original bell is not found and in good condition.

The interior of the building is almost as it was originally built, but in a somewhat deteriorated condition. The walls are covered with 3'6"-tall wood wainscotting of 3¼" boards with a ¼" bevel. The chair railing is composed of a full 1" bullnose over a 1" cove molding. There is a ¾" bullnose base-shoe, but no baseboard. Lath-and-plaster extends from the wainscotting and covers the twelve-foot high ceiling as well. Four light fixtures are evenly spaced on the ceiling about six feet four inches in from the south and north walls, and nine feet in from the front and rear. A hanging chimney is centered on the west wall. It extends down from the ceiling about six feet with the bottom two feet angling toward the wall. Hooks and wires in the ceiling that supported the stove pipe indicate that the stove was placed centrally in the room. The wainscotting on the west end is three feet high; above it, a 3'4" chalkboard ran across the entire wall. In the spring of 1991, most of it was pulled off by vandals.

At the east end, on either side of the recessed entry, are coatroom area alcoves. A row of wire coathooks on a 2"-wide board is about four feet from the floor. A few inches above this is a 9" shelf, and a foot above that another row of coathooks. An additional, braced shelf rests on the chair rail of the alcove/vestibule wall.

The chair rail forms the window sill on the interior. The windows have 5½" side frames, and a 9" top frame composed of a ½" bullnose base, a 7½" flat portion, and a 2" flared crown. The wainscotting and wood trim are painted a pale green. The plaster is white.