The Little Red Schoolhouse

Scottsdale Grammar School, built in 1909, was dedicated the following year on the birthday of town founder Winfield Scott — and still stands on its original site located in the area now called Old Town Scottsdale.

The Scottsdale Historical Museum housed in the schoolhouse notes that “the $5,000 building was constructed of sand and gravel from the bed of the Salt River and bricks brought by horse-drawn wagon from Phoenix.”

It became Coronado School in 1928, serving Spanish-speaking students in first through third grade, but was closed and sold to a local businessman after courts declared school segregation illegal in 1954.

Through the years it’s housed everything from a courthouse to a library. The Scottsdale Historical Society, which has used the building since 1991, operates the Scottsdale Historical Museum.

I recently toured the museum with my son Christopher, where we got a glimpse of life in Scottsdale during earlier times. Folks who visit the Scottsdale Historical Museum will find re-creations of a classroom, Victorian parlor and tent-house kitchen.

Also maps and photos of early Scottsdale, school memorabelia, and artifacts from the early Scottsdale home of Winfield and Helen Scott — plus changing displays of special collections.

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The Little Red Schoolhouse is open September through June — Wed. to Sat. from 10am to 5pm and Sun. noon to 4pm. It’s located on the Scottsdale Mall near Main and Brown within walking distance of plenty of other interesting places.

When you go, leave extra time to explore the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (including the young@art gallery inside the adjacent Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts) and the Scottsdale Civic Center Library (which is nearing completion of some pretty nifty renovations).

Admission to the Scottsdale Historical Museum is free but the Scottsdale Historical Society will happily accept donations from those eager to support projects like recording oral histories, gathering information about early Scottsdale and acquring artifacts from Scottsdale’s pre-incorporation days.

A special event benefiting the Scottsdale Historical Museum takes place Fri., March 23 at the Chaparral Suites in Scottsdale. It’s the 19th annual Scottsdale’s History Hall of Fame Dinner, which will honor five 2012 inductees.

This year’s inductees — selected by the Past Presidents’ Council of the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce — are Mary King, Mary Manross, Gary Shapiro, Joe Wong and Scottsdale Healthcare Auxiliary.

I leave the lovely dinners to those of you who can still win the war with your panty hose. You’ll find me kicking around Old Town in my tennis shoes and shorts — a far cry from the duds women wore when Army Chaplain Winfield Scott founded the town in 1888.

— Lynn

Note: Scottsdale Mayor W.J. “Jim” Lane presents his annual “State of the City Address” Thurs, Feb. 23 at 5:30pm at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.

Coming up: Art meets journalism

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