More than two or three times a month, Johnstown's Cornell Schoolhouse is the site of a living history lesson for learners ranging from kindergartners to college students researching the history of American education.

More than two or three times a month, Johnstown's Cornell Schoolhouse is the site of a living history lesson for learners ranging from kindergartners to college students researching the history of American education.

For the past two weeks, Licking Valley second-grade students have been taking the bus to the one room schoolhouse on South Main Street in front of the Johnstown Monroe High School. Owned by a private organization consisting primarily of retired teachers, Friends of Cornell School, the building was originally built on Duncan Plains Road and was part of the Alexandria school system. It was moved to Johnstown in the 1990s.

Hazel Almendinger, one of the schoolmarms at Cornell, said the teachers and schools work hard to create an authentic experience.

"They make hats for the girls out of handkerchiefs and the boys all have all straw hats," Almendinger said. "We try to make it a day as it would have happened. This school was in session from 1886 to 1923, 124 years ago.

"We break up into groups. We have hornbooks. The kids all try scroll writing," Almendinger said. "We have elocution lessons, and we play games, tag and jacks. I do first person Johnny Appleseed, and I do one of Billy Dragoo, who was a Licking County white boy who was captured by the Indians and then came back, in the 1700s."

Brenda Garee, a second grade teacher at Licking Valley, said her school uses the building to meet state academic standards that require elementary students to experience history.

"The purpose of it is to cover state standards in history," Garee said. "One of Ohio's indicators is to use artifacts from the past and to be able to answer questions about their experiences with them.

"The Cornell School is the perfect environment for that. The ladies there do an awesome job of taking them through a typical school day as you would experience that in the late 1800s. It's perfect for us in second grade, for what we need to cover in history."

Garee said the experience is perfect for the age group.

"Most second-graders come 7 years old and leave as 8-year-olds, and this kind of field trip is very developmentally appropriate for them, because they get to touch and feel and participate in it," Garee said. "They take their lunch in a school box. Even our cafeteria ladies have gotten involved, where the parents can order a lunch and they do what they can to make homemade bread and homemade cookies to make it like it would have been back then."

Kris Beebe, a retired teacher at Licking Valley, said the school's cooks join in the fun, preparing lunches as they might have been prepared 120 years ago.

"Our cooks provide a lunch of homemade bread, peanut butter, a homemade cookie, all in a tin can, and they don't wrap it in foil, they wrap it in a paper towel, which they can use as a napkin," Beebe said. "They didn't have foil and those things."

Garee said the teachers learn a few things, too, such as that, 100 years ago, married women were not allowed to be teachers, but married men could be, and the community imposed rules on how often single teachers could date. Teachers were responsible for mixing ink, bringing in coal and maintaining the building, and often did not have their own residences but would instead live with families in the community.

The experience is unique, Garee said.

"It's one of the best field trips out there," she said.