Little Red Schoolhouse

  • LRS

Founded in 1886 as a community project, the Little Red Schoolhouse was the first schoolhouse in southeast Florida. Its first seven scholars were taught by Miss Hattie Gale, the 16-year-old daughter of the Reverend Elbridge Gale, former Professor of Horticulture at Kansas State Agriculture College who came to the Lake Worth area of Florida to be a minister and local botanist.

In its original location, approximately one mile north of the Royal Poinciana Bridge, on the Lake Trail in Palm Beach, the first school served the children of all the families around Lake Worth. Children arrived by boat, bicycle, or on foot, and were taught together in one room. In the 1890s enrollment rose to 35 students including many pioneer names such as Dimick, Maddock, and Reese.

Palm Beach’s one-room school ceased operation in 1901 after which it became a tool shed on John S. Phipps's property. Its subsequent history was one of decline and deterioration. In 1960, the Gardener’s Society of Palm Beach refurbished it and the Town of Palm Beach moved the structure to Phipps Ocean Park where it stands today. The school was unused until the Preservation of Palm Beach proposed to lease the schoolhouse in 1990 for its pioneer education program.


Today, the Little Red Schoolhouse is home to The Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach’s “living history” program that takes children back in time for a mini-day in a one-room school of the 1890s. Education in America’s one-room schoolhouses stressed discipline, moral values, and the three Rs: Reading, wRiting, and aRithemetic. Modern little Red Schoolhouse scholars will relive the school day as it was at the turn of the century: learning Spencerian script, practicing arithmetic, reciting stories from McGuffey's Readers, participating in a spelling bee, and experiencing classic recess games. Furnished with period pioneer education artifacts, the Little Red Schoolhouse provides children with a true early American educational experience.

Throughout the school year fourth-grade students from Palm Beach, Broward, and Martin Counties participate in the “living history” program at the schoolhouse. The program is free to schools.

This program is designed to complement the fourth-grade curriculum using Sunshine State Standards as a reference. Please see the Teacher’s Manual for more information.

Field trips may be scheduled online using the system below. FAQs about the program are after the scheduling module. 

Teaching Materials

Little Red Schoolhouse Teacher's Manual

Facetime Chronological Activity

Book the Little Red Schoolhouse

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the Little Red Schoolhouse open?

The schoolhouse is open for field trips booked through our system. Field trips are available during the school year. 

How long is the living history program?

The program is two hours long and runs approximately from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Classes are welcome to stay in the park and have lunch if they choose to do so. 

What is the cost to attend?

The Little Red Schoolhouse is a free program for schools and homeschoolers. The only cost for the school is transportation. 

How do I book a field trip?

Please use our online scheduling tool above. It will show you what dates are available and send confirmation emails with information about your time at the schoolhouse

How many students can the schoolhouse accommodate?

The LRS can accommodate 30 students per field trip. If you have more students that need to attend please split the classes between multiple field trip days.

What is the age range of the schoolhouse?

The program is designed following the educational state standards for fourth graders. While multiple ages may participate we recommend students not be younger than second grade or older than sixth grade.  Siblings are welcome to attend and enjoy the spaces at Phipps Ocean Park during the field trip.

How many chaperones can participate?

Because of the size of the schoolhouse, we recommend a max of three chaperones in the schoolhouse at a time. If more chaperones would like to attend we request they view the program from outside the schoolhouse or rotate with the other chaperones throughout the program.

How do I prepare my class for the field trip?

Our Teacher's Manual has all the information needed. We encourage all participants to dress up as if it were 1886. 

Students MUST:

  • wear a large name tag with their assigned name and age
  • know their biography
  • bring a copybook and an appropriate snack and container

How do I get there?

The schoolhouse is located within the Phipps Ocean Park in Palm Beach. Its map address is 2185 South Ocean Boulevard. 

Where do I park?

Parking is available in the south entrance parking lot at Phipps Ocean Park. Buses can park free. Individual cars are required to pay the parking meters. Please walk the interior trail on the east side of the tennis courts to the schoolhouse which is located in the middle of the park. 

What if I need to cancel or reschedule?

Please do so using the confirmation email that was sent after your original booking. 

What if the class is running late?

Please give the Foundation a call at 561.832.0731 if you believe your class will arrive more than 30 minutes past 10 a.m. That way we can let the School Marm know you are on the way. If you need to leave before a certain time please let the School Marm know when you arrive.

What if my class needs to come at a different time?

We can accommodate starting up to half an hour earlier or later. Please call 561.832.0731 or send an email to to let us know prior to your scheduled appointment.