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Octagonal Schoolhouse (District No. 12 Public School)
Delaware was early in establishing a system of free public schools (1829). Prominent citizen Manlove Hayes Sr. helped build this one, of stone with a corbeled brick cornice like those of two nearby houses associated with him (see KT19). Octagonal schools were popular in Chester County, Pennsylvania, and there were several in New Castle County, including the “Eight Square School” near Summit Bridge (1813, burned 1936). The date of construction of the Cowgill's Corner school is often given as 1836, but a public meeting was held at Pleasant Hill Academy as early as October 1831 (this being the school's original name), and glass was puttied here and walls whitewashed in 1833. Up to eighty-seven students sat at desks arranged in circles, boys on the outside and girls inside. The dilapidated facility closed in 1929. Restored by the state in 1971, it is currently boarded up.
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