Interviews with those who studied at Iron Hill School #112C describe the use of the one room schoolhouse to be a social gathering point for the families living within the Iron Hill community. Families enjoyed listening to the radio, attending dances and socials at the school, and playing games. Some of these were hide-and-go-seek, hop-scotch, blind man’s bluff, crack-the whip, king of the hill, jacks and cards. Students also enjoyed playing baseball, and testimonials from those who studied at Iron Hill School #112C report objects such as tree branches used alternatively as a bat.
At the request of Pierre S. du Pont, an annual event was held at Iron Hill School #112C on the first of May. One festivity which occurred during May Day at Iron Hill School was Maypole dancing. The origins of Maypole dancing can be historically traced back to the Iron Age within Eastern Europe. The Maypole dance consisted of colorful ribbons suspended from a tall pole. Students at Iron Hill School would each take one ribbon, and weave in and out, around a circle until the ribbons were all woven around the pole. Then they would go in reverse, and undo the colorful weaving.
When not being used as a Maypole, the metal rod was changed into a playground apparatus for the students to play on during the average school day. Operating as a swinging structure, the students would have swung around the pole by holding on to a chain with a handle, which was connected to the top of the metal pole. Modernized playground apparatuses are still commonly seen today.
Student’s attending Iron Hill School #112C would often travel to other neighboring one room schoolhouses for both May Day and state mandated field day festivities. Elsie Bullock, who attended Iron Hill School c. 1940s, remembers schools travelling to Iron Hill, such as “a little school in Christiana”. Once at the field day destination, students would play sports, and have fun competitions such as bag racing. The featured photograph within our display illustrating school children in the midst of a bag race was a photograph taken at the historically named “Viola Colored School” c.1940s.
Photograph No. 872Pn, 874Pn, 875Pn, 869Pn
Displayed photographs courtesy of Delaware Public Archives, Hall of Records, Dover, DE 19501