The Furnace

A furnace was located within the one room schoolhouse, such as the replica currently on display. Used as both a heating system and a stove, the furnace served many functions to those who studied at Iron Hill School #112C. Coal was often used to heat the furnace. Alum Evelyn Earl speaks of her father, Maynard Earl, routinely helping with the furnace maintenance. Evelyn describes her father keeping “the fire going because it was like a big coal stove”. 

  Interviews from alum who attended Iron Hill School c. 1920s-1930s, describe the furnace regularly used to cook and prepare lunch meals. Alum Dorothy Grinnage, who attended Iron Hill School c.1937-1943, can recall students bringing one item from home to contribute towards the lunch soup. The one item from home was commonly a vegetable. This soup was prepared in a pot, and cooked on top of the furnace. Cooking this way on the furnace was similar to cooking on a hotplate. Oral accounts also recall cooking potatoes on the furnace for lunch. 

Interviews with alum describe the location of the furnace changing over time. Originally, the furnace was placed c. 1923-1930s in the schoolhouse ‘furnace room’. During a later point in time the furnace was moved into the center of the one room schoolhouse. Desks were placed within proximity of the furnace according to grade level. Those who were in a lower grade level, such as first grade, had their desks situated closer to the furnace during the winter months. Today, a replica of the stove which would have once been found within the one room schoolhouse can be seen on display.