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Preserving History: The One-Room Schoolhouse

Colonel standing with Clara Graves in front of un-restored one-room schoolhouseColonel with Clara Graves (Clara attended school in this one-room schoolhouse from 1934 to 1938)

In addition to being a designer of leather bags, belts, briefcases, tech accessories and various other items, Colonel Littleton is somewhat of a historian and a preservationist.

Rather than locate his company on a concrete slab in some industrial park, he chose the more difficult route of rehabilitating six circa late 1800’s buildings in downtown Lynnville, some of which were at the point of collapse.

He also enjoys restoring vintage vehicles (especially military vehicles). His latest restoration is a one-room schoolhouse, circa 1874. Read his story below:

Sepia-toned image of a restored circa 18-- one-room schoolhouse located on Foxfire Farm in Lynnville, TN.

“I had always admired the little one-room schoolhouse at Olivet (about 10 miles south of Lynnville on Hwy. 31).

It was built in 1874 and sat behind the Olivet Church in the tiny community for 139 years.

Someone told me the little schoolhouse had to go, because it was sitting on land needed for parking for the church.

I’m a preservationist at heart, so my first thought was, ‘That can’t happen. That building is a piece of Americana.’

The Olivet Church wanted to focus on preserving history and the building by allowing someone to purchase and move it; however, no one wanted to buy the building, because it would cost too much to move it.

White SUV with oversized load warning driving down main street in Lynnville, TN and a truck pulling a trailer loader with the one-room school house headed for Colonel's farm

So, in the end I agreed to take it and move it to Foxfire Farm. Was it difficult to move up the narrow road and across the bridge at the farm?

        Men laying out boards next to bridge to give large truck enough room to cross while pulling a one-room schoolhouse

View on one-room schoolhouse from across the bridge after being moved to Foxfire Farm in Lynnville, TN         Men laying boards for a large semi-truck pulling a trailer loaded with one-room schoolhouse to cross the bridge onto Foxfire Farm in Lynnville, TN

Indeed, it was . . . almost impossible.

Was it costly? You bet.

What am I going to do with it now that I have it? I’m not totally sure.

But, one thing I do know is that it will live on.

It will serve as a memorial to the hardy schoolmarms and schoolmasters who came in early, lit a fire in the old black, pot-bellied stove and fanned the flames of knowledge to a roomful of children of all ages and abilities in rural America.

Payton Hewitt standing next to incomplete stone steps leading to the door of the one-room schoolhouse

Colonel planned the restoration which was carried out under the direction of Master Carpenter, Payton Hewitt (shown in picture above).

Many of our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents entered through the door of a one-room schoolhouse and emerged as that “greatest generation” who fought two World Wars and went on to become doctors, lawyers, authors and industrial giants . . . people like Herbert Hoover who became our 30thPresident of the United States; Laura Ingalls Wilder, Author; and Alan B. Shepherd, Jr. who walked on the moon.

Inside of unfinished one-room schoolhouse with loose boards scattered on the floor

When I walk into the schoolhouse today, I can almost hear echoes of the past. The walls seem to reverberate with the laughter and recitations of several generations of children.

Men building rafters for the roof of the one-room schoolhouse on Foxfire Farm in Lynnville, TN        Men laying tin on the room of the one-roof schoolhouse on Foxfire Farm in Lynnville, TN Payton Hewitt on scaffolding leaning against completed roof of one-room schoolhouse on Foxfire Farm in Lynnville, TN         Men on scaffolding painting front of one-room schoolhouse on Foxfire Farm in Lynnville, TN Man painting boards outside front of one-room schoolhouse on Foxfire Farm in Lynnville, TN         Man on ladder inside of one-room schoolhouse painting the doorframe

We just have to respect our past and preserve our heritage; otherwise it will fade away into nothingness taking with it a piece of who we are as a nation and a people. That’s what the Col. Littleton Americana Collection is all about – celebrating our American heritage and traditions.

Front view of newly-restored one-room schoolhouse on Colonel's Foxfire Farm in Lynnville, TN

Now that the restoration is complete, we’ve had a wedding and a company “Pigout” there. I’ve had suggestions for other events.

Maybe it might be a meeting place for friends who like to“pick and sing.”

Or, maybe it will just be there because it is important that it be somewhere.”

Colonel Littleton company photo standing in front of the one-room schoolhouse on Foxfire Farm in Lynnville, TN