Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Fairview School #90


Fairview School, 1925
 With the exception of the Harmony School on Limestone Road, there seems to have been very little written about, and very little attention paid to, the other dozen or so 19th Century schools that once operated in Mill Creek Hundred. When you think about all the children and future community leaders who passed through these schools, it's a shame that few people today even know the names of these schools or where they were located. Even if I'm not able to give too much more information than that, I can at least do that much. In fact, these posts (where I have precious little information) are often the hardest for me to write. It's here that I have to consciously bear in mind that these posts are not an endpoint of authoritative exposition, but rather a starting point for discovery. (That's a nice way of saying that I know very little and I hope we find out more, right?)

The particular school we'll look at in this post was known as the Fairview School, or District #90 School. It was located on the northwest corner of Polly Drummond Hill Road and Smith Mill Road, not far south of Ebenezer Methodist Church. OK, "was located" is not entirely accurate, since the school building is still there. (I have gone back and corrected the Mt. Pleasant and Union Schools post where I stated that Harmony was the only remaining school.) However, the building was heavily altered after being closed as a school, among other things making it ineligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places.

Friday, April 1, 2011

An Answer to the Corner Ketch Mystery?

From time to time, different posts have addressed the topic of the origin of the names of various roads, communities and areas in Mill Creek Hundred. In most cases, the names are pretty easy to find the origins for, usually being named for someone who lived in the area, or for something (man-made or natural) nearby. At least one name in the area, though, seems to defy any attempt to uncover its origins -- Corner Ketch. It's a topic I've had in mind for a while, but I had put off writing about it mainly for one reason. That reason was that I didn't like any of the explanations I had ever read as to the derivation of the name. Recently, however, I came across an old newspaper article that gives the most plausible explanation that I've seen yet about how this unique name may have arisen.

I don't want to go too in-depth about Corner Ketch in general right now, since it as a community will probably end up being the subject of a future post. There are, however, a few relevant things to know about it. The community that came to be known as Corner Ketch sprang up around the junction of several roads, one of which was a major wagon route from Pennsylvania to Christiana, then known as Christiana Bridge (or Christeen Bridge). Since it was the last stop before reaching the port at Christiana (the Christina River was navigable that far in the pre-railroad era), it's not surprising that a tavern/inn was opened at the crossroads.