Kellogg's Corner's Schoolhouse

A History of Newfield Schools

In 1812, Governor Daniel C. Tompkins urged the passage of a law that would provide a system of public schools all across New York State. By 1822, twelve schools had been organized in the Newfield Township, and the student population was at 654. This is when the history of schools in Newfield began.

One room schoolhouses dotted the countryside during the 1800's and early 1900's. In 1870, there were twenty-one of these schools in the Newfield area. The abundance of schools was probably due to the fact that Newfield covered a much greater area during 1870, and the numerous hills that made it difficult to walk a long distance to school. The number of one room schools would fluctuate from year to year, as people moved in and out of districts, and it was not uncommon for a school to shut down for several years.

Mary Lou Payne, a long time resident of Newfield remembers starting her education in a one room school house on Bank Street. Herbert Emery, another Newfield resident, recalls going to a one room schoolhouse at three years of age. He would sit underneath the teacher's desk, and by the time he started first grade, he already knew the answers to the teacher's questions.


Kelloggs Corners Schoolhouse is one of the few one room schoolhouses still in existance today. Although the schoolhouse currently resides on Main Street, in the front lawn of the Newfield Central School campus, the house was originally on Vankirk Road at the junction with Kelloggs Corners. The land was given to Newfield by John and Anna Abbot and was named after a man named Soloman Kellogg. When the school closed in 1939, the Kellogg's Corner Arts and Crafts Club bought it for one dollar.

Union Free School, above: 1905
Union Free School, above: 1915


The Union Free School was completed in 1871. In 1873, the Board of Education proposed to change the district into a Union Free District; this allowed them to have secondary education in Newfield. In 1895 Newfield became eligible to administer its own regents, and by 1898 the first class graduated from the Union Free School. Teachers received better salaries at the Union Free School than at previous schools. In 1905, an addition was built onto the Union Free School, and the library at the school contained 190 books.

In 1939, the town voted to centralize the school district. The new school was constructed at the cost of $220,000 by the Public Works Association; the cost was shared by the federal and state governments. This school is part of what is currently the Newfield Elementary School. In 1939, the Main Street school was completed and the students made the move from the Bank Street School. The new school had twelve elementary classrooms and 3 secondary rooms. The student population of 248 was led by Principal Ed Long. The school day lasted from 8:10-3:10, and the teachers were responsible for the students all throughout the day. When the students moved into the new school, they called it the "palace". The 1940 yearbook started with the dedication:

"We come to you from years of musty halls. We bring a wealth of memories combined with hopes of coming years to fill our album of school days. As we look foward to hours in your long cool corridors and high ceilinged classrooms. We dedicate our annual of the past and present to you and to the promise you give us a fuller school life."

      Newfield Central School

The students of Newfield in 1940 felt an immense amout of pride for their new school. Eero Ruuspakka remembers the cleanliness and the newness of the school. He remembers how the teachers dressed crisply and professionally. Herb Emery remembers that the basketball sectionals were held at Newfield for a number of years because Newield had the best gym around.

Howard Nye, a longtime resident of Newfield, started teaching high school in Newfield in the 1940's at the age of twenty. He had gone to a one room school for seven years and then went on to high school. Nye graduated high school when he was sixteen and attended Cornell University. He became a teacher of agriculture. When Nye came to Newfield, Herb Emery thought he was a student because he was so young.


Photo from the 1940 yearbook

1939 school- picture taken in 1943


In 1949 the amount of students had overloaded the new school, and an addition of 8 new classrooms was in order. In 1959 a second addition of a 200 seat cafeteria and 11 new elementary classrooms was built along with some remodeling to the original school. In 1962 and 1967, two more additions built containing a new gym/auditorium, a music room, an elementary library, 9 elementary classrooms, and one junior high classroom. The population continued to grow, and soon the school had to hold classes in the Methodist Church and in the Fire Hall.

In 1974, a separate high school was built along with a bus garage and some renovations on the original school at the cost of $3.5 million. The class of 1976 got to graduate from the new building. Lori Wainright Ray, a sophomore at the time, remembers the joy the students felt when they got to move into the new school.

The elementary school is dedicated to Donald Hickman who retired in 1990. He came to Newfield as an eighth grade social studies teacher, and in his 34 years at Newfield, he served as the Principal, the superintentent, and a bus driver and chaperone on several field trips.

In 1998, a middle school wing was added to the high school, and just as before the students were excited about moving into a new building.

The Current Newfield Schools

Top left: Middle School
Top right: Elementary School
Right: High School


Below: The Dual Credit U.S. History Class on the steps of the Kellogg's Corner School on the campus of the Newfield Central School District.


Content provided by Laura Smith
(black & white photos courtesy of Newfield Historical Society)


Finley, George M., et. al. Newfield- 150 Years, (1822-1972). Ithaca: Ithaca Arts and Crafts, 1972). This booklet is available at the Newfield Historical Society and Newfield Public Library.