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Tucked away along Schoolhouse Road and shaded by a cluster of Live Oaks, the Historic Corolla Schoolhouse is a lesser-known but nevertheless important attraction in the coastal town of Corolla. The schoolhouse was originally constructed sometime between 1890 and 1905, (with some lifelong locals attesting that their older relatives attended the school in the mid-1890s.)
Regardless of when it was built, the one-story schoolhouse officially became the first unified Corolla School, established by the Currituck County School system, in 1905. Prior to the county school being originated, the local kids of Corolla attended one of three small schools in the area, which was more or less determined by their parents' profession. Government employees' children went to one schoolhouse, local fishermen's children attended another, and local village kids went to a school in the heart of town - which many believe to be the current Historic Corolla Schoolhouse structure.
Once the central and sole Corolla School was established, a teacher and textbooks were provided, (courtesy of Currituck County), and the one-room schoolhouse would effectively educate Corolla children of all ages for the next 50+ years.
During this timeframe, however, the Corolla population gradually but steadily dwindled due to lifesaving station closures and new hunting and fishing restrictions. By 1958, there simply weren't enough local students to justify the continued operation of the Corolla Schoolhouse, and the school effectively closed, seemingly for good.
After closing, the schoolhouse would spend a couple of years serving as a community recreation hall, and then a private residence, but would more or less remain empty for the latter half of the 20th century.
In 1999, after years of natural deterioration, the schoolhouse was purchased by the local Twiddy family with the singular goal of restoring the ancient building to its former glory. The ensuing restoration took a full year, but careful contractors found a world of treasures hidden within the schoolhouse's walls, including long-forgotten schoolwork assignments, a nearly 80-year overdue library book, and an ancient Valentine's Day card. Once completed, it seemed only natural that the school should become a museum of sorts, and it soon became the new home of the Corolla Wild Horse Museum.
After serving as a museum for more than a decade, the schoolhouse has recently added another twist in its unique narrative, and is being transformed back into a schoolhouse again. The Historic Corolla Schoolhouse is returning to its roots as the "new" home of a multi-age charter school for Corolla's local children.
Today, visitors along Schoolhouse Lane are welcome to take a stroll by the historic structure, enjoy a rest on the neighboring white wooden benches, and snap photos of the tiny schoolhouse that both looks and operates just as it did more than a century ago. Though not as famous as the sprawling Whalehead in Historic Corolla or the Currituck Beach Lighthouse, the Historic Corolla Schoolhouse remains a unique, and still functioning, icon of Corolla's local legacy.
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