Seventy-five years ago, Norman Rockwell decided to paint the students at Oak Mountain School, a one-room school house in Carroll County, Georgia. In this four-page spread from November 2, 1946, Rockwell illustrates the daily rhythms of the school, from spelldowns to wash-ups.
Oak Mountain had one teacher, Mrs. Effie McGuire, who taught all of the children in grades 1-7. The school lacked many modern comforts: “The plumbing is outdoors, the washbowl is on the porch, someone has to tote coal for Big Joe, the stove. The pay is thin soup; it has been as low as $420 a year, and even now is only $878.”
While these buildings were once the heart of many rural areas, their numbers have dwindled just just a few dozen. As with other moments captured by Rockwell, much has changed in 75 years. And while many aspects of education have been altered for the better, no doubt there are folks who have fond memories of learning in just such a school house.
Featured image: ©SEPS
Become a Saturday Evening Post member and enjoy unlimited access. Subscribe now