In Bakerville, the intersection with the stoplight, where Cedar, Cotton Hill, and Maple Hollow all come together with Route 202, there used to be a school (along with the Tannery, Blacksmith Shop, Post Office, and General Store). The school was in the narrow triangle formed between Maple Hollow and Route 202 (then the Litchfield Turnpike). Today, this is an overgrown area, but the foundation was located as late as the 1990’s.
The Bakerville school, also known as the Brick Schoolhouse, was first known as the Watson district schoolhouse. The building’s architectural style suggests that it was erected sometime around or after 1810, as it was a brick Greek Revival building. In 1837, the district was reformed as the Baker district; the building was old enough that repairs were also done to its windows at this time. The school district, and the building, continued in this use until 1870 when the building was sold to Franklin Watson. The district also ceased at this time, being reformed as the Bakersville district. The brick building was used as a house until the 1920’s. When the Litchfield Turnpike was paved, the house’s well was fouled. It was abandoned and razed shortly afterwards.
(information from ‘Where Walk the Souls of Heroes’ by Neal E. Yates.)
Filed under Roads, schools
Although New Hartford was incorporated in 1738 (the first town meeting was in 1736), it would not be until 1755 that the first school was built. In the interval, and no doubt for many families afterwards, children were taught at home or in small groups meeting together. In 1756 a census recorded 260 white inhabitants in the town, African-Americans and Native Americans were not counted; by 1774, there were 1001 white inhabitants. The need for schools was quite apparent.
The first school was built on Town Hill. This was followed shortly thereafter by a school in the southeast section (this was either Nepaug or Merrill), a school in the West Hill district, and then the North End. Additional schools were later located in Pine Meadow, Greenwoods, Bakerville, Nepaug or Merrill, and Hendersonville. Hendersonville was located in the valley that is now under the Nepaug Reservoir. Pine Meadow and Greenwoods were comparatively late additions, built after 1800 in response to the growing population associated with the factories.
A high school was established in 1837. This was Academy Hall, located next to the North Congregational Church. The building was torn down in the 1950’s.
All of these were classic one-room schoolhouses. The original Town Hill school-house was twenty-five feet long and sixteen feet wide. The exception was the North End school after the 1880’s. It was moved from its location just above Highland Avenue to Main Street in 1886 when the Academy Hall high school was closed.
This picture taken in the early twentieth century is probably the Merrill school-house, and shows a shed as well as a privy:
The Merrill school-house, courtesy of the NHHS