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The Teacherage

A Home for Young, Single, Beautiful Teachers.

by Brooks Gardner
September 30, 2006

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The Teacherage
During the 1940's and early 1950's women who graduated with teaching degrees were scoffed-up at graduation by most of the schools in North Carolina. In my hometown, this was no different. One drawing card for our school was the availability of a teacherage.

This two story home was built in 1910 and it originally the home of the principal and his wife along with the unmarried teachers. The teachers lived on the second floor while the principal and his wife used the first. In the early 1940's, with the change in school administrators, the home became the teacherage. Officially a teacherage is a home for teachers, as you might figure.

Our teacherage undoubtedly was home to some of the most beautiful beginning teachers and also the most talented. It was also a place where young men could meet these ladies. The high school boys once constructed a tennis court in the vacant lot beside the teacherage and some of the teachers became quite adept in the sport. One was still playing in her late 60's.

My mom and dad moved to Mebane, NC in 1943 and I was born only a few months later. I entered the first grade a Mebane Public School in 1949 and I have vivid memories of the teachers who lived in the teacherage across the street. Very few of the teachers had cars and their entertainment was limited with this town of less than 2,000, at the time. There was a theatre for movies (which my dad managed). The teachers also attended most all of the school's ball games, and church attendance was required on Sunday.

More than twenty-two of the teachers who lived in the teacherage married local guys. Those that did not continue teaching became pillars in the churches and the community. They were all respected for there community service.

The principal at the school was a strict disciplinarian on both the teachers and the students. He required the teachers to wear an appropriate dress every day with stockings and heels. On Sunday they wore hats. The teachers had the advantage of a cook during the week, but they were on their own on the weekend. There was a small rent paid and they had to pay for utilities and groceries. There were from seven to fourteen living there at any one time.

As we moved into the 1950's, there was less and less need for the teacherages. The new teachers now had cars and wanted to establish their own home. Many did not think it cool to move to Mebane and opted out for larger places and bigger supplements.

However, for those of us who grew up in this small sleepy town of the 1940' and 50's, we cherish the remembrances of all of these teachers. Those who are still with us brighten our days and the funerals of those who pass away bring crowds of former students with tears in their eyes.

I hope your hometown had a teacherage, too.

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Gayle from Kenosha, WI writes:
January 9, 2007
If we had a teacherage in Reidsville, I wasn't aware of it. I remember one teacher who rented a room in the parsonage. Maybe the parsonage WAS a teacherage. I love this post.

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