A Little Red Schoolhouse – in the Middle of Nowhere

As you travel down highways and byways, you are going to pass many signs describing historical places and things.  Mrs. Claus and I found that, if you take the time to stop when you see those signs, you will add to your adventure. You will also learn some thing that will help you understand how things came to be.

We were traveling south down Interstate 55 in Mississippi when we saw such a sign.  It was entitled “The Little Red School House”.  Now, to be honest, we have passed this sign many times on our trip to the south. But on this day, we decided it was time to stop and see what the Little Red School House was all about.

Located at Exit 144 off of I-55, about 50 miles north of Jackson Mississippi, you will follow the signs to this rural location. The Little Red School House stands inside of a fenced area that has a large picnic area. The day we were there it was not open, so we had to look into the windows to see the building interior.

The original name of the facility was the Richland Literary Institute. In 1848, it was renamed the Eureka Masonic College. The first head master was Dr. Robert Morris.

Dr. Morris was the founder of what is known as the Order of the Eastern Star. The building became known by the members as the Little Red School House.

When you look in the windows, the first floor has two classrooms.  Although we did not see it,  the upstairs is a Masonic meeting room.

During its lifetime, the building has seen several uses. It was headquarters for Company C, 15th Mississippi Infantry.  This was the first of the army companies organized by the State of Mississippi.

After the Civil War, the school was used as a segregated school for African American children. The building was used in that capacity until 1959.

The building was then leased to the Grand Order of Mississippi.  They officially acquired the building from the State of Mississippi in 1968. They still own and maintain the building today, and have an annual gathering and picnic at the site every August.

It was interesting to learn that the birthplace of the Masonic Order of the Estern Star was in this rural Mississippi community.

Take the “blue roads”.  You just never know what you’ll find.

 

Happy Adventure Hunting!

Copyright © 2020 Craig Garrelts | All Rights Reserved

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