Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Freeville Tour: "Mid-town" Freeville
Freeville's not very big - the village has an area just over one square mile - but right in the middle of it lies the civic heart of town. During the day it can be bustling - as bustling as a small rural town can be, anyway.
The Freeville elementary school, built in 1936, educates some of the youngest members of the community. Older students travel a few miles down the road to Dryden for middle and high school. When the school was built, according to a old newspaper clipping cited on Freeville's town website, it was “the finest one-story school in the State for design and construction.” So far, the school has resisted any attempts to close it and consolidate with the other Dryden elementary school.
Behind the school, on property owned by either the school or the church next door (I'm not sure which), sits a playground that the students use for recess (making an awful lot of noise while they're out there, I might add) and a small picnic pavilion.
The Freeville United Methodist Church is one of two churches in town, but the only one in the heart of Freeville. Founded in 1848 and re-organized in 1874, the church was moved to its present site in 1891 from its old location down the road. It has apparently been expanded since then, and the social area around the back is used for all sorts of events, including town dinners and meetings, in addition to religious meetings. Living right around the church, I've learned that the lights being on outside the rear entrance means that something is going on inside.
The church hosts monthly chicken barbecues during the warmer months; the last one was in November, and they'll resume next March, I believe. The barbeque pit is located across the street from the church, along Groton Avenue.
Across from the elementary school, and next to the barbeque pit, sits the Freeville post office. Built...well, sometime after 1936...it sits on the former site of the old Freeville high school. The post office is the busiest place in town for six days a week, and I've noticed the headlights of cars dropping off their mail in the mailbox out front at all hours of the night. As the village historian pointed out to me in her letter, some remnants of the old high school remain on the grounds. Can you see it in the photo below?
Ok, it's a little hard to see, so here's another shot from a different angle:
Yup, it's the walkway that led from the sidewalk (or street) to the front of the school.
The Union School, as it was called, was closed in 1936 as the Freeville and Dryden high schools consolidated, and the building was torn down sometime after that.
Finally, in front of the barbeque pit stands the town's bus stop, which connects Freeville with the Cornell campus and Ithaca. A relic from what is now an old era hides behind the bus shelter - a payphone.