365 Things #2 - Lawrenceville Female Seminary

Lawrenceville Female Seminary
Lawrenceville Female Seminary

I've lived near this historical—a word here meaning "of interest only to history nerds"—site for 17 years and never visited. They do not help this with their strange hours, but still. I like history and old buildings, and there one is.

The building was completed in 1855, after the original burned down in '51. It was shared with local Freemasons, who met on the 2nd floor, while the seminary occupied the 1st. The school was opened in 1838, and closed in or around 1888, and fell into disrepair. At one point in the 1970s, it was almost torn down and the land used for a Dairy Queen. Some citizens raised a ruckus and got it onto the National Register of Historic Places, and it was eventually restored.

The 1st floor had been kept as a schoolroom, with the original blackboard and fireplaces; then 2nd floor now houses a small museum with artifacts from the building and surrounding area, including some found during the restoring, such as paddles that had been hidden, presumably by students, under the stairs.

Fun fact: Roba Stanley, supposedly the 1st woman to record country music, was from the area. The museum has her guitar (which is a typically crappy early 20th century acoustic). Not that impressive a fun fact, I suppose, but we take what we can get.

The grounds of the Seminary also house the transplanted Isaac Adair House, which was built in 1827, and is also on the National Register of Historic Places. It's a pretty boring-looking house, until you consider that it's almost 200 years old and in remarkably good condition for its age.

This place isn't overly exciting, but it's a decent enough way to spend an hour on an unseasonably pleasant January Saturday. Plus, the nice girl working the museum told me about some other historic sites around here that I've (obviously, since I didn't know they existed) never visited. That'll help get the new things count up there.