Building Description Victor Point School, Silverton Oregon

The old Victor Point School building sits in its original location, at the intersection of Doerfler Road and Victor Point Road. Since it remains in the public ownership of the current Victor Point School District it has been maintained and is in surprisingly good condition. The last year of operation as a school was 1945-46 and has subsequently been used as a storage building for the school district.

Unlike most small, one room schools, the building has not been seriously vandalized or modified to any great extent since it was built in 1889. The existing building no longer possesses a bell tower, the original tower fell into disrepair and was replaced with a smaller one sometime between 1943 and 1951. This one also fell into disrepair and was removed in approximately 1970. The bell was stolen from the tower sometime around 1958. The only thing that is not original on this building is the front step and the front door which were replaced in approximately 1970 with a slanting plywood ramp and a newer flush type door. In addition, the electricity which was originally put in place in 1938 has been unhooked. The old hand pump and well are still in place, and may even work, although the plunger is in need of repair. The exterior has been repainted over the years and is currently white with light blue trim. The interior appears to have been repainted at some time in the distant past. Several of the windows continue to work with their spring-loaded pins not frozen or rusted. With the exception of one pane, the glass in all of the windows remains intact. Any original furnishings and wall hangings have been gone for years with the exception of the library case. Robert Humphreys the school clerk since 1947, states that most of the original desks were sold shortly after the closure of the school. Since the closing of the school everything stored in the building has been dry and well protected.

The Victor Point School building is a rectangular, one-story, wood frame, one-room schoolhouse, measuring 32' by 24'. Sometime after initial construction of the school, a small ante room measuring 14' wide and 7' deep was added to the front of the school. The main building, including the ante room rests on fieldstone, evenly spaced around the perimeter. There are about six stones on each of the long sides, and four across the front and back. Since the building is situated on a slope, there are approximately two feet of crawlspace under the northeast corner. On the top of the fieldstone are four large beams, approximately 6" by 10" making up the rectangle of the main building. These are crudely made and hard to measure. Running in a north and south orientation are roughly sawn 2" by 10" boards of slightly varying widths which are spaced 16" on center. On each end where these floor joists meet the main beam, they have been notched to fit. Some local people have thought this to be an unusual construction technique for the time. Three and a half inch tongue and groove fir flooring is nailed to the floor joists, completing the floor structure. There is no ridgeboard, the 2"x 4" simply are cut to but up against each other forming the ridge. The same type of rough sawn 2" by 10" are used for the ceiling joists. They are also spaced at 16" on center. The roof structure is framed with rough sawn 2" x 4"'s, and 1" x 4" roof boards spaced at two inches for wood shingles. The roof is sheathed with plywood and covered with three tab composition shingles, done in the mid 1980's.

The exterior of the building is covered with it's original eight inch drop siding. The entire south side of the building including the ante room is covered with cedar shingles having a 5" exposure. Corner boards are 1" x 5" and 1" x 4", about fourteen feet high on the main structure. At the top of each cornerboard there is a 2 1/2 inch bed molding topped with a-1" x 4", making up the corner board caps. Square nails have been used throughout the construction. The detail of the eaves is as follows; against the roof edge, a 3 1/2 inch crown molding sits on top of a 1" x 4" fascia board. A 1" x 10" plancia board is nailed at a ninety degree angle to the fascia board. A 2 1/2 inch bed molding covers the junction between the plancia and the 1" x 10" frieze board. The ante eave detail is slightly more simple and consists of a 1" x 4" board, a 1" x 10" plancia board, and a 1" x 8" frieze board. The only visible damage to the eave area is on the north wall, where, on the east side the is about a 4 foot area where. the crown molding is missing, due to rot.

There are seven windows on the north side of the building and one window on each side of the ante room, all are of similar design. The window openings measure 5'7 1'2" by 2' 2 1/2". The glass panes in the four over four, double hung sash measure 15 1/2" x 11 1/2". The window openings are framed with 1" x 5" boards with a 3 1/2" crown molding on the top frame. The ante room window openings are 24" x 30" and the side by side panes measure 9 1/2" x 27 1/2".

The well with its hand pump is still intact and is located directly south of the corner of the ante room. It is painted red and says "The Deming Co." in cast letters down the side. A 70" x 70"concrete slab surrounds the old pump. There is no date marked on the concrete but some of the older residents state that this is the second well. The original well was north of the school and had a wooden fence surrounding it. Richard Krenz, a local resident who attended the school in the 30's stated that drinking water was carried to the school from the neighbors. He also stated that the water in the well would never "make test".

The interior of the old school is intact and in very good condition. After prying open the deteriorated front door, one enters the ante room. This small room measures about 7' x 14', and has an 8'8" ceiling. There is one light socket centered directly overhead, and the light switch is located to the right as they enter the room, exactly four feet above the floor. It is dark brown and may work if the electricity were hooked up. The walls and ceiling are covered with 8" shiplap. The electrical breaker box is located on the south wall, 5' above the floor. Three quarter inch rigid conduit runs up from the fuse box and disappears through a hole in the ceiling. There is a small corner shelf in the northwest corner that at one time held a glass container with a spigot from which students drank. There are still several nails remaining where cups were hung, each student having his or her own. There are three wire type coat hooks still remaining.

There is a door into the main classroom that appears to be original. It is a four panel door in which the upper two panels have been broken out. Heavy strap hinges that look like they came from a barn hold the door. They have been shimmed out with thin pieces of wood. The door measures 33" x 79" and above the door is a transom light measuring 10" x 30" with a 2" wood sash surrounding it. At one time there was an additional door mounted opposite the four panel door, this particular door opened into the classroom and the jam shows where it was morticed for hinges and a striker.

The floor in both the classroom and the ante room are 3 1/2 inch tongue and groove, and although worn, seem to be in very good condition. They have never been painted although they have been oiled. About seven feet straight ahead from the classroom door, there is an unworn spot on the floor, measuring 2'x 3'. This marks the location where the stove sat. Above, on the ceiling are five curved steel straps spaced out toward the hanging chimney on the east wall. These held the stovepipe as it ran horizontally above the classroom. The steel straps are made from 1' x 3/16 inch material and the straight portion is about 19" long, and the curved part forms a 8" diameter circle, which is open on the top. They are anchored in the attic. The bottom of the hanging chimney is about 9' off the floor. It measures 28" tall, 18" wide and 13" deep. Bricks are visible through an eight inch hole that were probably thrown down inside when the last roof was put on, while the part of the chimney above the roofline was taken down and sheeted over at the same time. A halo of soot around the opening mark the last fire, probably in the winter of 1945-46.

Three light fixtures hang from the ceiling, two at the front of the room and one centered in the rear. Chains and a cord hang down about 40", with a 14" diameter glass globe at the bottom. The glass fixture is half moon shaped with a teardrop at the center. The metal parts are bronze colored, and only one glass fixture remains as just the chain and cords hang from the other two.

The walls and ceiling are covered with 3 1/2 inch tongue and groove. On the east wall are two rough cut openings on each end. These mark the location where two doors went into a kitchen that was built onto the school in about 1929 or 1930. Local resident Wesley Darby told us that it was a lean to, supported by wood blocks. Originally it was a covered stage sitting in the school yard and used by the band to perform under. Mr. Darby stated they it was moved into position on the east side of the school and then framed in. It had no interior finishing, the framing was visible from the inside. A wood cook stove was in place on one end. We believe that the kitchen was torn down sometime around 1960, although we are unsure of this date. Exterior drop siding was fit into place to cover the door openings, but the interior walls were not refitted with siding.

There is a low eight inch stage built across the entire east side, extending out 6'2". It is built out of the same tongue and groove material as the floor. It was sometimes extended a foot or two with a wood riser for community plays or performances.

On the south interior wall of the school, 2 1/2" wood strips frame the outline of where four windows once were. These were removed and inserted between the existing windows on the north side about the same time that the kitchen was added on. Windows were also added to the west wall, on either side of the ante room. A mandate in the 30's from the State Board of Education made it clear that cross lighting was harmful to the eyes.

Attic access is in the southwest corner of the ceiling and measures 11 1/2" x 23 1/2". It is framed by the same tongue and groove material as the rest of the interior, but the tongue has been sawn off.