By Carrie Carter

For the Union Democrat

Can the fresh faced students and wrap-around porch help you identify this historic archive photo of the Big Oak Flat Schoolhouse?

It is an exceptional example of turn of the century public school architecture with some cosmetic alterations done over the years. It was built on School Street in Big Oak Flat in 1898 and now is a private residence.

Tuolumne County acquired the property in the 1890s and the school was built soon after to meet the demand of the growing population. The school consisted of one classroom and one game room with two outhouses in back.

Each morning, boys would carry water from the well to fill a water cooler on the school porch. Eventually, the WPA came and leveled the school yard so the students had a place to play baseball.

In his book “De Ferrari Family – Memories of Times Past,” County Historian Carlo De Ferrari recalls in detail longtime Big Oak Flat teacher, Rose Moynihan and her service to the community from 1929 to 1943 in the schoolhouse.

Rose Moynihan’s daughter, Lou Ann Hellmers shared her own Big Oak Flat School memories at a Southern Tuolumne County Historical Society Monthly Speaker Program. She fondly recalled holiday parties, pet shows, and plays presented to the community on the school stage. On snowy days, students brought sleds and slid down the hill behind the school at recess.



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