Amagansett School District To Receive A Piece Of Educational History

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The Amagansett School District will receive a piece of history next month as the recipient of a 19th-century schoolhouse donated by longtime residents of the hamlet, Huntington and Adelaide Sheldon.

The district plans to use the historic building as a “museum-type” resource for both students and the community, said Amagansett Superintendent Eleanor Tritt.

“We thought it was a wonderful opportunity for the children and community to preserve the building on our site,” Ms. Tritt said by phone this week. “So we’ve been working out the plans for what would be required to move the building, and we’re hoping it will be done sometime in the next month or so.”

The schoolhouse was built in 1802 by Samuel Schellinger and was originally located in the center of Main Street, according to East Hampton Village’s historic preservation consultant, Robert Hefner.

“Samuel Schellinger’s ancestors had been woodworking craftsmen in East Hampton for a number of generations,” Mr. Hefner wrote in a history of the Pantigo Windmill in East Hampton Village. Mr. Schellinger’s father, Jonathan, was a furniture maker and carpenter, and one of Mr. Schellinger’s first relatives in the area, William Schellinx—the Dutch spelling for Schellinger—had furnished the town prison in 1698.

A well-established builder during the early 1800s, Samuel Schellinger was responsible for building the Pantigo Windmill, originally on Mill Hill in East Hampton Village and the third windmill to occupy that site; and the Beebe Windmill, originally in Sag Harbor and now located in Bridgehampton, according to an engineering report prepared by Mr. Hefner.

In 1864, Mr. Schellinger’s Amagansett schoolhouse was moved to Atlantic Avenue near the cemetery, Mr. Hefner said. In 1881, a new school was built on the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Abrahams Landing Road near the present-day tennis courts. The old one Mr. Schellinger had built was auctioned off for just over $200 to Marcus Hand, who in turn sold it to Captain Joshua Edwards. Capt. Edwards placed the structure in his backyard on Atlantic Avenue, according to the Amagansett Library. He used the former schoolhouse as a place to store whaling gear, Mr. Hefner said.

After the captain died, the property, including the schoolhouse, was sold to Magda Merck Sheldon in 1938. The building has stayed in the Sheldon family ever since,

Inside is an original bench and desk made of pine boards. “It’s very nice, and very rare, to have something within a structure that’s been preserved like that,” Mr. Hefner said.

Ms. Tritt said the entire community is grateful for the donation and looking forward to the new addition to the school property. “It’s probably the only, or one of the very few, districts around the state that has the opportunity to house such an old building,” she said. “We’re all very excited.”

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