One-room schoolhouse in Duette granted historical status

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Stepping foot into Duette's one-room schoolhouse will take you back in time. 

"The girls would learn how to can tomatoes so they would help to grow tomatoes. The boys just learned to farm in the early, early eras," said Betty Glassburn. 

Betty Glassburn's family first settled here in the 1800s. Just about all of her family attended Duette School. 

"When we are here we feel like everybody is family. We really do. No matter who is in this building we feel like we are family. That's what it means," she said. 

The school first opened as a strawberry school. Students took off when their family's crops came in. The town needed a community center and this is where family and friends gathered. 

"It's like a symbol to Duette. It's always been here," said Carolyn Keen. 

In 2016, the school shut down when their longtime teacher decided to retire. The Manatee County School District regained control of the building. Many feared the school and all of its history would one day disappear. 

"There was a big concern because it's a high maintenance building compared to modern buildings," said Jim Leonard. 

Jim Leonard, Betty, and others formed the Duette Community Association. They applied for a spot on the National Historical Registry and, after several attempts and a lot of historical digging, they got their answer. 

"It was kind of a vindication of all the work we put into it," said Leonard. 

A plaque outside the door gives the one-room schoolhouse it's own place in history, that it has deserved for so long. 

"Our school will always be here. This is our heritage as far as I am concerned," said Glassburn. 

The Duette School is opened on the second Saturday of every month to the public. 

Its address is 40755 S.R. 62, Duette, Flordia. 

On December 1, they will hold a Christmas Festival from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with crafts, food, games, and a silent auction.