Although the quaint area of Strawberry, AZ is not incorporated, there is still so much to see and do. One of the stops along the way should be a piece of history called The Strawberry Schoolhouse. It is a one-room school located on Fossil Creek Road about 2 miles down from Highway 87.

Built out of pine logs from the area, it is reported to be the oldest standing schoolhouse in Arizona. While it is no longer used as a school, it is still available to view as a teaching museum, complete with a late 19 th century classroom exhibit.

The school was officially added to the National Register of Historic Places in May, 2005. It is open to the public from May to mid-October on weekends and holidays. Special visiting arrangements can be requested from the Pine-Strawberry Archaeological and Historical Society.

But before visiting, you should know the history of this unique place. The year was 1884 and the families living in the area knew there was a need to establish a school. The petition was granted, but the location was not as easy to agree upon.

A local dispute over the site for the school building was solved by cowboys using a calf rope and counting the number of lengths between the Hicks-Duncan cabin on the west end of the valley and the Peach cabin on the east end. They retraced their steps to the mid-point. This became the site for the school and it stands where it was built.

Being situated in the largest Ponderosa Pine forest in the world, it was logical to build the one room out of natural resources. The logs were cut and dragged to the site and then fashioned and hoisted into position. But this was not just a one room frame. A shingle roof, 4 working glass windows, a wood burning stove and a bell hung over the door completed the school.

The interior was also updated with the latest finishes and considered above average for the time. Decorative notes like wallpaper and wainscoting were added as well as individual student seating and a teacher’s desk and chair. Adding a world globe, a dictionary, an organ and a clock made this place the likely social center, meeting place and church for the area.

But with progress, the school became outdated and permanently closed in 1916. It also saw decay and distress and by 1961 it was completely uninhabitable and marked For Sale.

A local businessman bought the site and deeded it to the Payson-Pine Chamber of Commerce. In 1967, residents started to restore the old structure, but it sat without purpose until 1979 when the newly formed Pine-Strawberry Archaeological and Historical Society decided to fully restore and open to the public in 1981.