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Oldest Wooden School House

Oldest Wooden School House paranormal

Photo by: Marianne Donley
Location submitted by: sdonley on 08/03/2017
DBA Approved: Y

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PANICd#: 1895

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Located near the City Gates, The Old School House is a surviving expression of another time.

14 St George St
St. Augustine , FL 32084
Phone: (888) 653-7245
Open to the public: Yes


Lat: 29.8973389
Lon: -81.31356249999999

Database Summary:

Demographic Rank: 6
History: 2
Stories: 1
Claims: 1
Evidence: 0
Resources: 3
Retrievals: 7585
Vistor Rating: 5.0
Votes: 1

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History information is some background and history about the location. This is meant to be a basic summary. Below the history records you will find sources in which you can click on to find out more information. There may be multiple history records per location.

Located near the City Gates, The Old School House is a surviving expression of another time. Built over 200 years ago, while Florida was under the rule of Imperial Spain, it was constructed of red cedar and cypress and put together with wooden pegs and handmade nails.

The schoolmaster and his wife lived upstairs, above the small classroom. Their kitchen was separated from the main building, because of the threat of fire and to spare the house of any excess heat during the long summers. Several of the cooking utensils used in those days are displayed here for the visitor. In the schoolhouse, related artifacts and copies of the books the pupils studied from are exhibited.

Added by: sdonley on 08/18/2017 DB#:335

The building had no electricity, no running water, no privy and no kitchen. The customs of the day dictated that the kitchen be housed in separate quarters because of the risk from fire and to eliminate excess heat in the long, hot summers. The privy was dug away from the main building and a small building was constructed around it for privacy. Drinking water was drawn from the well.

When Juan Genoply was a bachelor the small one-room house was sufficient to his needs. But when he married and the house become a school, an addition was needed to allow privacy and separate functions. The schoolmaster and his family had their living quarters upstairs. The downstairs was used as the classroom. The Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse was also the first co-ed school, as it educated both girls and boys together beginning in 1788.

When you enter the small, one-room schoolhouse you are greeted by Disney-style animatronic figures dressed in period attire. Listen as the schoolmaster and the children tell you about themselves and describe a typical day in the classroom and items in it. Copies of the textbooks used by students, along with related school artifacts are on display in the schoolhouse along with several cooking utensils of the time.

After touring the schoolhouse visitors may walk through the garden and see the kitchen, the privy and the well. Be sure to notice the old pecan tree. The tree has been authenticated to be at least 250 years old and still bears nuts. The patio and grounds are a typical green garden with tropical plants such as hibiscus and bird-of-paradise, including one not-so-typical white bird-of-paradise. Plenty of shade trees and comfortable benches offer a cozy spot for a moment of rest and reflection.

Most people immediately notice the enormous chain that wraps around the schoolhouse and is tied to an anchor. The anchor and chain were added back in 1937 when a hurricane threatened St. Augustine and an attempt was made to secure the oldest schoolhouse so the historic gem of a building would not be lost. So far, so good.

Added by: sdonley on 08/18/2017 DB#:336


Stories are just that. Stories and personal accounts that have been reported about the location.

The last graduating class of 1864 held a reunion in 1931. The Evening Record reported the nine graduates were filmed by Eastman Kodak Company for a national educational film, "The Old and New South."

The graduates, then in their 80s, recalled when the schoolmaster Genoply went to Gainesville as a sergeant in the Civil War. Janie Manucy recalled being punished by being placed in the little closet or "dungeon" under the stairs.

Each graduate wrote a letter to authenticate their time at the old school. Victoriano Capo, 80 at the time, said he attended in 1861 and was taught by Miss Mary Darling and Mr. John Darling.

"I consider this to be the oldest frame house in St. Augustine. There were no desks. We used chairs and sometimes sat on the floor of coquina facing the fireplace with our book in the teacher's lap," Capo wrote.

Added by: sdonley on 08/18/2017 DB#:1296

Paranormal Claims

Here are the paranormal claims for this location. These have been found through Internet research, reports from members, or reports from personal interviews. To add a claim, please contact, and we will review and add your information.

Claim # Added Added By Claim
2568 08/18/2017 sdonley The apparition of a woman dressed in period clothing has been seen looking out the second floor window.

Paranormal Evidence

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Additional Resources

This is a collection of Internet resources for this location. This section will house links to other websites that contain information related to history, claims, investigations, or even the location's website.

Wikipedia Entry
Added: 08/18/2017 By: sdonley
Wikipedia entry for this location.
Visit St.
Added: 08/18/2017 By: sdonley
Web page about this location.
The Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse, St. Augustine, Florida
Added: 08/18/2017 By: sdonley
Thought Co. blog post for this location.

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