Dollhouse Decorating

Miniature Decorating Ideas |Articles on decorating dollhouses and the history of this artform


I have had a life-long love affair with dollhouse miniatures, and careers in art education and interior design. I hope to combine these life experiences to help other miniature enthusiasts get more out of this wonderful hobby we enjoy, a hobby that often reaches the level of an art form. Susan Downing

Posted on 24 December, 2015

Susan Downing's First School - Dent, Ohio

Susan Downing’s First School – Dent, Ohio

My First School in Dent, Ohio must have been the last place in Hamilton County to come into the 20th century. Located on Harrison Pike, about ten miles west of Fountain Square in downtown Cincinnati, the Dent School was a two room affair on two floors — 2 classrooms and a principal’s office. Each room was about the size of a present-day middle-class living room, where kids in grades 1-12 learned their 3 Rs: reading, righting and ‘rithmetic.

I made this room box for my daughter Laurie when I grew weary of her eight-year-old whining about the privations she suffered on going to school, mainly in winter. Besides this visual example, I’m sure I laid some, “Well, in my day …” nonsense on her.

While the incentive for this project may have been, “I’ll show you,” the memories it now evokes are precious,

Susan-Downings-First-School-Dent, Ohio

Susan Downing’s First School – Dent, Ohio

I went into the first grade in the 1948-49 school year. There was no running water at Dent school. A well was capped with a hand pump. We all drank from the same enamel cup that hung from its spout. A real petri dish for germs, I guess, but nobody died.

The playground sloped gently down to a creek. Each heavy rain gouged gullies, which looked like the Grand Canyon to a six-year old. We played a thrilling game called Jump The Ditch. I took the challenge once …  and went splash. Only the biggest kids made it, but it was exciting to watch.

The high point of the year was when the grown-ups moved the privy. A neighboring farmer wrapped a rope around the outhouse a hauled it aside. A group of fathers took turns digging the new Hole To China. I remember them laughing when one of the men yelled, “Don’t go for a swim” as they began filling the old pit with shovels full of dirt and rock.

The next school year, Springmeyer Elementary, was built and I was happy to go to a real school. The Dent School downgraded to a garage, its playground crowded with junked cars.

This is kind of a long timeline post, I know, and has very little to do with dollhouse decorating, except to share with you where my enthusiasm for miniature comes from. Little details like the initials carved in the desk top, which unfortunately do not show in these picture. They are LR + JZ, (not the rapper, but Josh Zarimba, whom my daughter Laurie was sweet on). The memory of her blushing and screeching, “Oh, Ma!” floods back every time I dust this room box, a memory that connects two generations.

Blog-My First School 3

Keeping memories alive,  that’s what kept up my enthusiasm for miniatures going for all these years.

What keeps your interest in miniatures alive?



Posted by Susan Downing

Categories: room boxes

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