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Restored schoolhouse to teach about Johns Island history

By Amy Kehmakehm@abcnews4.com

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- A more than century-old Lowcountry schoolhouse will soon reopen and once again teach its neighbors.

It's all thanks to efforts by the Johns Island Conservancy.

According to the group, the Walnut Hill School House was built in 1868, one of approximately a dozen school houses on Johns Island dedicated to public education.

"It is a one-room schoolhouse, and it has a lot of info about Johns Island, the history of it," Colin Cuskley with the Johns Island Conservancy said on Lowcountry Live.

It remained a school until the 1930s when it became a courthouse. In 1991 the schoolhouse was about to be demolished as part of a road widening project. That is when local historian and author Betty Stringfellow decided to rescue the building, according to the conservancy. The schoolhouse had sentimental value, as Stringfellow's mother had attended school there. So, she moved the building to her own property, restored it and moved it again.

For 10 years, it served as a museum, but closed in 2011. A group of volunteers is now clearing brush, cleaning exhibits and going through records.

"A lot of work to do, but enjoyable," Cuskley said.

The doors will open again, and the interior will be full of local historical treasures. There are school desks as well as artifacts dating back thousands of years, like pottery and arrowheads.

"We're going to try to get it reopened this fall, probably on a part time basis," Cuskley said.

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