"Throwback Thursday:" Features The Little Red Schoolhouse

 

The town of New Fairfield in its early-years was divided into seven school districts, known as Great Hollow, Centreville, Great Meadow, Woodcreek, East Centre, West Centre and Pond-ville. Each district had its own one room schoolhouse and was run by its own Board of School visitors, or by a committee appointed by them. The West Centre School is shown on maps dated 1860 in approximately the same location it is now. A report in the 1885-1886 West Centre school register lists 19 students attending the fall term of l5 weeks, taught by M. E. Martin at a salary of $32.00 a month; and the spring term of 17 weeks taught by Emma J. Jennings at $26.00 a month. The total number of days that classes were held during the school year was 160. The ages of the students ranged from 4 years 4 months to 14. years. There were six boys and thirteen girls.

The text books prescribed by the Board of School Visitors and approved by the State Board of Education for the year 1890-1891 were as follows: New Franklin Reader, Greenleaf's Arithmetic, Colton's Geography, Sevinton's Grammar, Mayhew's Book-keeping, Parker's Philosophy, Lassing's History, Warren's Speller, Steele's Physiology, Barnes His­tory and Mitchell's Geography.

Available school registers and town reports show that classes were held in West Centre until 1910. From that date until 1936 West Centre and Great Hollow schools were not listed. From 1928 to 1930 the West Centre school building was rented to Frank Sanford and that $72.00 a year rent was paid by O. Odell from 1931 to 1936.

In 1936, because of the increased number of pupils, West Centre and Ball's Pond districts agreed to hold classes for the four lower grades at West Centre and the four upper grades at Ball Pond. With the school enrollment increasing through­out the town it was decided at a town meeting to build a Consolidated School. The first school session was held on Monday, January 13, 1941. The one room schoolhouses were sold with the exception of the West Centre building.

Manual Training classes were started in 1946 and continued until 1958. They were taught by Rev. deAnguera, then by George Grassman and finally by Worth Perry.

In 1970, the newly organized New Fairfield Historical Society requested the Board of Education to give it the building to restore and use as a museum for local historical memorabilia. By vote at a town meeting the building dedicated for that purpose and the land on which it stands was leased to the town by the State of Connecticut for the Society's use.

The Historical Society stills maintains the building, now referred to as the "Little Red Schoolhouse" and is opened for different events during the year.

Check it out: The annual Pumpkin Festival will be held Saturday October 5, 2013 at the Little Red Schoolhouse from 9 - 3 pm.

The above information was taken from brochure used at the dedication for the schoolhouse held on May 30, 1971. Pictures and information are from the files belonging to the New Fairfield Historical Society.