Potter Schoolhouse


Potter Schoolhouse
Bodega, California.

 

 
17110 Bodega Lane
Bodega, California. 94922

 

Best known as the famous schoolhouse in the 1963 Alfred Hitchcock thriller `The Birds`

 

Without question the most recognizable and historically significant building in the small town of Bodega is the Potter Schoolhouse (above),

Built in 1873,  This building served as the schoolhouse & also the town center where dances and social functions were held upstairs. The building was closed to the public in 1962 and remained vacant for a few years. Then it was purchased by a private party and turned into a private residence. It also had a stint as a restaurant at one time.

 

Since then there have been many reports of ghostly activity with this structure and was even featured on the television show `Sightings`. Reports include sounds emanating from the building of children playing, a woman singing, thumping sounds coming from the walls, disembodied footsteps coming from the stairs and in the hallways, voices whispering unintelligible words, doorknobs turning, a rocking chair that rocks on it`s own, and sounds of a noisy party in the second floor room that once served as the community`s social hall. The `Sightings` television crew also caught on film a chandalier swinging over the stairway that went on for several minutes without any evidence of wind or seismic activity.

 

Outside the building, people have seen apparitions and heard the sounds of children playing. On one incident tourists waited for a little girl standing on the front porch entrance to leave so they could snap a picture. The little girl walked down the steps & right when she got to the bottom of the steps, she just disappeared. More apparitions & sounds of children playing have been observed outside on the sides of the building which were probably play areas for the children during recess. It`s said that you can even hear them from the street without even having to set foot on the property.

 

If this schoolhouse looks familiar to you, that`s because this is the famous schoolhouse in Alfred Hitchcock`s 1963 classic `The Birds`.

 

 

 

Alfred Hitchcock actually shot footage from both Bodega, and Bodega Bay. But in the movie it was just portrayed as one town, Bodega Bay.

 The famous scene of the school children running down the hill as they were being attacked by the birds was actually a combination of two locations. The schoolhouse was in the background, but the children were not actually running down Bodega Lane in Bodega (the street the school is on). They were actually running down Taylor Street in Bodega Bay. In fact you can even see them run past the former home of GhostHauntings.Org` owner Blair Jett.

 

 
 

Newspaper columnist Christine Delsol visited the location in 2001. Here`s an except from her article.

 

The famous scene where Tippi Hedren was first bit by a seagull & the restaurant across the street from where the fire blew up the service station was The Tides Restaurant.

Mitch Zankich, who owned The Tides in the 1960s, allowed Hitchcock to use the restaurant on three conditions: The town would be called "Bodega Bay" (Daphne du Maurier's original novella was set in Cornwall); Rod Taylor's character would be named Mitch; and Zankich would have a speaking part. If you watch the film closely, you'll see Zankich asking Taylor, "What happened, Mitch?" right after the first sea gull dive-bombs Hedren's boat.

The school, built in 1873 of virgin redwood, was abandoned the year before Hitchcock filmed here, and the movie is credited with saving it from destruction. The front room - the only one fixed up for the schoolroom scenes -

is now a gift shop and a mini-museum on Bodega history and the making of the movie.

Lea Taylor, who grew up in the house and lives there now with her husband and son, told us her parents bought it in 1966 because her mother was a teacher and loved the idea of saving an old-fashioned schoolhouse.

 

"The most often-asked question I get is, 'Why did Hitchcock film here?' " Taylor said,  The area was heavily logged until 1971, she explained, and the sparsely populated, the open landscape reminded Hitchcock of the Cornwall coast. The sunny spring thwarted him, though, and he had to employ darkroom magic to provide the dark, moody skies.

The second most often-asked question, Taylor said, is "Where are the monkey bars?" The playground where the birds - both the live and mechanical varieties - slowly and relentlessly gathered while Hedren waited outside the schoolroom was a Hollywood prop, as was the teacher's house next door.

Taylor took us upstairs, which had been home to four owls and was 2 feet deep in bird droppings when the family moved in. Today, it's an expansive parlor, with high Italianate windows framing the coastal hills, that does double duty as an informal art and music salon. It's also where the Organization for Scientific and Investigative Research, which examines paranormal phenomena, documented apparitions that classified the house as a classic haunt. Taylor believes them to be Clive Keefely, a teacher with the school's first class, and his daughter Clara, who died of measles after Keefely left for a higher-paying job in Santa Rosa.

 

 

 

  Please note that this schoolhouse is in the town of Bodega, not Bodega Bay. Television (much like the rest of the world) just cannot seem to understand that.

 

 

UPDATE
October 2013

This amazing photo was taken and submitted by
Tami Oakey of Healdsburg, California.


Tami says

It was just a fluke photo...friends were in town from England visiting for two weeks...we were showing them the sites and of course had to take them to Bodega where the movie 'The Birds' was filmed...

Wasn't expecting to capture anything other than our friends in front of the school house!
 I had taken it with my Samsung Galaxy 4 phone.....I promise you it surprised me as much as everyone who has seen it! 

I did a little research on the schoolhouse after finding the image...I think it might be Clive Keefely from the year 1874...he was a school teacher there at the time.
I Spoke with the owner of the schoolhouse Leah Taylor,  she has lived in the school house since 1966 with her parents..now with her husband and children.
I Sent her the photo...and she too was excited to see it! Told me she also thought it to be Clive Keefely from 1874.
 She LOVED the photo.



In the window above the apparition you will see ecto mist forming and it almost looks as though it is trying to manifest into a human shaped apparition as well.
Below is the close up




(Note from Blair)
I have examined this photo carefully and it appears authentic. It does not appear to be altered with applications like Ghost Capture or Photoshop.

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