The Little Red Schoolhouse was the first home of the High Point Museum. Originally built in downtown High Point, it served as an annex classroom for first graders at Ray Street Elementary School. Thirty years of students passed through its doors before the main school building was destroyed by fire. Though unscathed by the tragedy, the Little Red Schoolhouse was abandoned as a classroom. A couple years later a group of High Point citizens decided to turn the building into a community history museum. Then when a new museum building was constructed on East Lexington Avenue, Little Red was abandoned again. Eventually the Museum moved it to its Historical Park, and it was restored to use as a programming space for young children. Today past and present generations connect through their shared experience with this beloved building.
The Story of Little Red Schoolhouse
The Little Red Schoolhouse was designed by noted High Point architect Louis Voorhees and built as a stand alone classroom for the overflow first grade class at Ray Street School. His wife, Elizabeth Voorhees, was its first teacher. She is pictured here with principal Mrs. Johnson and students Harold and Ruth Williard.
Painted red from the start, the building quickly became known as the “little red schoolhouse.” Though always part of Ray Street School, it was designed to look like an independent one-room schoolhouse. Pictured are students at recess in 1946 on the playground between Little Red and the main school building.
Over time the building served different grade levels. Several students from the late 1950s recall that music lessons were taught in this space. A fire in late May 1961 destroyed Ray Street School. Pictured here is the last class of students in the Little Red with their teacher Elizabeth McCallum.
The Little Red Schoolhouse found new life as High Point’s first museum in December 1964. After a new museum building was built on East Lexington Avenue in 1970, it served as a flower and garden shop, seamstress shop, training site for High Point Civil Defense, candle shop, and Christian bookstore.
On October 31, 1987, to prevent demolition of the Little Red Schoolhouse, the High Point Preservation Society moved it to East Lexington Avenue near the High Point Museum. A two-foot cap was taken off the top so it would clear electrical and telephone wires during its three-and-a-half hour journey across town.
Safely on its new foundation, the Little Red Schoolhouse was designated a Guilford County Landmark in 1988. Eventually administration of the building was transferred to the High Point Museum. The distance from the Museum made multiple attempts to open the building for exhibits and programs logistically difficult and ultimately unsuccessful.
Over time the condition of the building deteriorated. The High Point Historical Society and City of High Point agreed to split the cost of moving and restoring the building. The Little Red Schoolhouse was moved to the High Point Museum campus in 2016. The moving route is shown here.
Restoration of the Little Red Schoolhouse was completed in the summer of 2019, and a grand opening celebration was held that September. Shown L to R: Liz Jones, Van Voorhees Trivette, Iris Boswell (Business High Point); Past Historical Society Presidents Richard Wood, Bill Phillips, Brandon Hedrick; Mayor Jay Wagner, and Museum Director Edith Brady.
The Beta Omicron Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma society of women educators co-sponsored the Little Free Library placed next to the Little Red Schoolhouse. First Little Red Schoolhouse teacher Elizabeth Voorhees was once a member of this chapter. The High Point Museum invites visitors to select a book for their reading pleasure.
Generations of High Pointers have created memories in this charming building, and it will continue to be a fixture in our community for generations to come. The High Point Museum offers hands-on programming for young children and their caregivers in the Little Red Schoolhouse.
Watch the Little Red Schoolhouse as it moved to the Museum!