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Some of the 19th century graffiti on the walls of the schoolhouse under restoration in Madrid, NY.  Photo: Todd Moe
Some of the 19th century graffiti on the walls of the schoolhouse under restoration in Madrid, NY. Photo: Todd Moe

Madrid: If old schoolhouse walls could talk

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Traditional farming will be on display in Madrid this weekend. Antique farm implements, an old sawmill, draft horses and steam power are all part of the annual Antique Gas and Steam Engine Exhibition at the St. Lawrence Power and Equipment Museum in Madrid. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the museum's campus on the former Goolden-Mann farm.

Originally the St. Lawrence Gas and Steam Association back in 1976, the Power and Equipment Museum was formed in 2004 with a mission of preserving the history of the machines and engines that helped shape life in the North Country.
The museum includes more than 28,000 square feet of covered space for storage, collections and exhibitions, including a new building dedicated to restoring and exhibiting antique tractors.

Todd Moe caught up with one of the museum's longtime trustees, Roger Austin, for a tour of a 19th century schoolhouse that used to stand just north of Watertown. It was sold to the museum by the Indian River school district, disassembled and moved to Madrid. Built in 1850, it's the museum's oldest, new acquisition. Volunteers are busy this summer replacing the school's floorboards, windows and shingled roof. Visitors will be allowed to walk through the partially renovated structure this weekend. Austin says the goal is to have the old school fully restored -- including the original student graffiti -- by Labor Day.

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Todd Moe
Morning Host and Producer

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Museum volunteers will spend this summer cleaning and restoring the schoolhouse.  Photo: Todd Moe
Museum volunteers will spend this summer cleaning and restoring the schoolhouse. Photo: Todd Moe

The original 1850 floorboards and ceiling are being replaced this summer.  The school room will eventually have period desks, a blackboard and wood stove.   Photo:  Todd Moe
The original 1850 floorboards and ceiling are being replaced this summer. The school room will eventually have period desks, a blackboard and wood stove. Photo: Todd Moe

Although not original to School house 12, a museum volunteer donated an antique school bell as one of the finishing touches.  Photo:  Todd Moe
Although not original to School house 12, a museum volunteer donated an antique school bell as one of the finishing touches. Photo: Todd Moe

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