To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Cedar Hill Schoolhouse, the Bethlehem Historical Association will hold a social gathering with birthday cake and other refreshments at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 14. The organization's Annual Meeting begins at 7:00 p.m., followed by Bethlehem Town Historian Susan Leath, who will give a brief presentation about Bethlehem's Quadricentennial efforts. The public is invited to attend.
In 1859, the Cedar Hill Schoolhouse, or the \Little Red Schoolhouse, was originally built as a one-room schoolhouse that faced River Road at the corner of Clapper Road. It is the oldest continuously active school building in the town of Selkirk. Back then, there was no indoor plumbing and it was heated by a wood stove. When it opened in 1860, it had a schoolmaster and 24 students in eight grades.
In 1907, the building was redesigned by the well-known architect Marcus T. Reynolds, who moved the entrance to face Clapper Road, expanded it to two rooms and added the dome. By now it had electricity, indoor plumbing and 40 students and two teachers.
1959 was the last year it operated as a schoolhouse and closed in 1960. In 1965 the Cedar Hill Schoolhouse Museum opened to the public and the Bethlehem Historical Association was chartered and presently occupies the building. It contains exhibits made from hundreds of objects in its collection that reveal Bethlehem's past history.