Early Schools Were Designed for Light
by GIZ HERBST
“Two Large Lamps Purchased for Sunnypoint School.”
That was the headline in the Door County News on Feb. 22, 1923. But why was the purchase of lamps newsworthy?
It was because the electric power line didn’t reach north to the Egg Harbor Township areas until the 1930s, so gas lamps aided lighting for the schools. That’s aided instead of provided because the design of the school buildings themselves provided much of the light during the daytime, and gas lamps provided the only light during the later hours of the day.
If you’ve ever studied photos of the old schoolhouses, you may have noticed their long, high windows, whose purpose was to let in the daylight. You can see this in photos of four of the five early Egg Harbor schools.
Egg Harbor Village School’s second building was built in 1912 on Harbor School Road and demolished in 1977. The photo of the south side shows a collection of tall, wall-to-wall windows.
Carlsville School’s second building, built in 1894 on the location of what is now Door Peninsula Winery, was replaced in 1919. Students pose for a photo in front of the many tall windows on the north side of the building.
Pleasant Grove School was open 1885-1947 near the east end of Harbor School Road. South facing, the front has just two windows, and the east side has a bank of four tall windows.
Giz Herbst is a historian for the Egg Harbor Historical Society and a former teacher, coach and athletic director for Seymour High School. This article originally appeared in the society’s newsletter.