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Yaphank’s 8 Sided School

Footnotes to Long Island History

The Old Eight Sided Schoolhouse In Yaphank

 

by

Thomas R. Bayles

 


          Yaphank had the most unusual schoolhouse on Long Island a hundred years ago, which was a building, octagonal in shape, with a cupola in the center for light and ventilation.  William J. Weeks was the prime mover in the erection of this school, and his own residence down the road near the Episcopal church was built in the same octagonal shape.  This old school house served the village until 1926, when the present one on Main street was built on the same site in front of the old one.

          The first schoolhouse was built a quarter of a mile north of the corner of the Middle Island road shortly after the districts were formed in 1813, and Beecher Homan has this to say about it in his book, “Yaphank As It Is,” published in 1875.  For many years the young ideas of the past generation struggled to master the rustic classics in a little red painted, boxed up shanty, bearing the name of a school house, that stood in an old field in the most extreme part of Upper Yaphank.  There “Squire Homan once ruled up the pupils, and William C. Booth explained the mysteries of the half explored globe.”

          Yaphank was active in the middle of the past century, with a Presbyterian church built in 1851, and Episcopal church in 1853, and a new schoolhouse and a Baptist church in 1854.

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