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BURNT HILLS: BH-BL time travelers

"At this time, the schools provided a good education for the rural kids of Ballston, Charlton and Glenville," said Reynolds. "But with technology, they realized teachers couldn't instruct at all grade levels, so the schoolhouses were combined to form the first consolidated district in New York state."

That building is now Steven's Elementary School.

The School of Agriculture and Homemaking

In 1916, community leaders based their placement of the next school on a very scientific and necessary principle: the location of a water source.

"They used dowsers to find water, and set their boundaries," said Reynolds. "Fortunately, two men snuck out in the night and moved the stakes marking the building's footprint off the dirt roadside. Most building constructed 100 years ago are built right on the road; we were lucky these men had foresight."

The school was opened, with boys enrolled in the school of agriculture and girls in the school of homemaking. In 1920, the first graduating class of two students received their degrees. From 1916 to 1925, tuition was a wallet-busting $25 per year.

In 1925, the district became the first centralized district in New York, but fate tossed a curve ball five years later, when the school building now Steven's Elementary was engulfed in flames of unknown origin.

"A little girl across the street watched the fire, and while she probably wasn't too concerned about her school burning, she was terribly upset she had forgotten to take home her new Keds sneakers," said Reynolds. "This reminds us that history isn't names, dates and places, it's the story of people who let us know where we've all come from."

Reynolds led the bus passengers into the Steven's building, down clammy stairs into the basement to peer into the walls and see burned timbers that still make up part of the building's foundation. In the main office, a grandfather clock donated by the class of 1924 remained intact after the blaze.

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