My home-town of Southampton, Ontario, rises up from the shore of Lake Huron. Even 50 feet above the lake, at the top of the hill, where my 1850 birth-home still sits, the water table is not far beneath the ground. It, and many other residences and commercial buildings are landscaped upwards, and still have shallow basements. Ours would have fit Frodo Baggins.
What is now a wing of the Bruce County Historical Museum, was once my six-room, brick, elementary school. It perches on the bank of a pond behind it, twenty feet above the water, but its feet are still wet. To enter the front door required a climb up ten concrete steps to a small landing, then another step up, into a tiny atrium, and yet another step up, onto the main floor.
This upward architecture was not chosen to allow sunlight in through basement windows. There were none. Boys played on one side, girls on the other. There were three steps up to get in either side door, and you still entered on the landing of the basement stairway.
Stairs, stairs, stairs – and more stairs. 😯 The ceilings were 12 feet high. There were no elevators or escalators. There was no accommodation for handicapped students. You had to be physically fit to attend school. When the student body at this school got high…. It wasn’t at 4:20, because weed was what you pulled out of your mother’s gardens. 😉