The Colton Schoolhouse is located on the
property of the Owen Lovejoy Homestead on the east side of
Princeton, Illinois. It was moved to that site in 1970 when
the Lovejoy home was restored and opened to the public as a museum.
The schoolhouse was originally located 2.5 miles east on land donated by
Chauncey Colton. Mr. Colton came to Princeton in 1834, where
he married Emily Smith. He purchased 160 acres on Peru Road
and named it the Cedars. In 1848, Mr. Colton gave by land
grant a portion of his farm to the City of Princeton for building a
one-room country school, which still bears his name.
The schoolhouse was constructed of red brick with walls 12" thick and
wide floor boards fastened down by square nails. The original
building had two windows on each of the four sides, but later state
law required that windows be grouped on one side to give more light
to the students. A back door was added and two front windows
were bricked in, giving the building its present appearance.
The first session of school was in 1850. The teacher received $20 a
month, and school board members provided room and board in their
homes. Records indicate that the average class size was 22
students. Often times boys stayed home to help on the farm
during fall harvest and spring planting and would attend classes
only in the winter months. The Colton School held classes for
95 years and finally closed in 1945.
Today, after careful restoration, the schoolhouse features the original
wood floors and the teacher's desk from the early 1900's, along with
all the other items found in a one-room school.