(Click any image to enlarge)
This little structure on Sea Ranch, which sits on the corner of Leeward and Deer Trail, has been here since 1905. It was initially constructed after a lumber mill was established in the area which brought in many new families. As the number of new families grew they soon needed a local school for their kids. The original schoolhouse was only one 16’ by 20’ room. After the Del Mar Mill burned in 1910, the families who worked the mill left the area and the school was closed. Over the next five decades the building was expanded and was used for many different purposes, including living quarters for local ranch hands and ultimately as a storage area for wool from the local sheep herds.
The schoolhouse was in a pretty run down condition and open to the elements in the 60’s when the Sea Ranch community was developed. In 1983 a group of very dedicated Sea Ranch volunteers undertook the formidable task of restoring the structure. Additional restoration work by Sea Ranch volunteers was also done in 1997, and the Del Mar Schoolhouse is now on the Sonoma County Landmarks list.
I took the first image a few days ago in the late afternoon light. The second image (copied with permission from Susan M. Clark’s excellent book, “Images of America: The Sea Ranch”, Arcadia Publishing, 2009) was taken in 1982 (photographer unknown), and shows how the structure was open to the elements and in total disrepair. It’s a beautiful building now and a testament to what can be accomplished by a group of dedicated volunteers with the common goal of preserving our local history.
Equipment: Nikon D810: Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 lens; monopod and B&W 3-stop ND filter