Irma Tayman said her elementary school teacher Mary Loveless was a bit of a taskmaster.
“She didn’t cut you any slack,” Tayman, 82, of Upper Marlboro said. “Even when we had holiday parties, you would have to skip recess to make sure you got all of your work done.”
Tayman was one of several alumni and area residents to visit the open house Saturday for Nottingham School, a 101-year-old one-room schoolhouse in Upper Marlboro. Officials with the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission recently completely a $50,000 renovation and restoration, and the historic schoolhouse, one of two in Prince George’s County, is open to the public by appointment.
The schoolhouse was built in 1911, on a budget of $744.50, and was in service until its closing in 1948. A neighbor bought the school from the county, eventually selling it to M-NCPPC in 1966.
Anthony Nolan, division chief for natural and historical resources at M-NCPPC, said a restoration was deemed necessary after part of the roof had collapsed.
“There was damage to the plaster walls and the floor,” Nolan said. “So we repainted the exterior, replaced the roof, redid the flooring, but we saved as much of the original material as we could. But, all things considered, it was in pretty good shape.”
Tayman said she thought it was “wonderful” that officials were able to save the building to show children how their grandparents and ancestors used to learn.
“While the teacher was working with another grade, if another child needed help we would go into the vestibule and help each other,” Tayman said. “But everything now is race, race, race.”
Eleanor Beall, 78, of Upper Marlboro, said she graduated from the school around 1946. She said students had to really concentrate on their studies in the one-room schoolhouse.
“There was no foolishness,” Beall said. “...I think it’s fantastic that they restored it. It’s important for kids to know what we did, how we came up and how were raised.”
David Dolvin, 52, of Upper Marlboro said he lives down the street from the schoolhouse, and came Saturday with his wife, Shari Dolvin, 50, and son Grant, 11, to see the finished product of the restoration.
“It’s neat; my mother went to a one-room schoolhouse,” Dolvin said. “It’s important that [children] know that education in America has always been important. It may have been more difficult for children in that era [learning in the same room as other grade levels], but they still got a good education.”
Nolan said in addition to group tours by appointment, M-NCPPC will likely hold monthly open houses at the property for people to visit. He noted that schools like the Nottingham School used to serve as a hub for communities, and people would continue to reside in the same area as where they went to school.
“This was typical throughout Prince George’s especially in the rural area,” he said. “We can also see all the changes that have occurred in education. But when we were starting to redo the flooring, we found things like plates, a toy car, and even some gum wrappers. So I guess some things never change.”