The Center Schoolhouse
Early History to Transition to The Dummerston Historical Society
The first school house was built in 1780, probably of logs, near the meeting house. A new building, 1801, was located a short distance northwest of the old one and east of the brook, and remained there for thirty years.
"It was removed about 1830, to its site on low marshy ground west of the brook. The school was not so located for sanitary reasons but for convenience. It was the influence of a prominent merchant who was annoyed by having the school so near his place of business. In those days scholars numbered in attendance from seventy to ninety and when let loose from school their exuberance created pandemonium on the common." [Mansfield & Dummerston History]
West Side of Brook
According to Ed Miller (1866-1949), "When the stream was swollen the larger boys would carry the other small ones across to the school." The school terms were not as long as now. However, at certain times of the year there were additional weeks of "select school" which students could attend. [Letter from Juliette H. Miller]
In 1881 the building was badly in need of repairs, the merchant long gone and the store closed. The number of pupils was reduced to about twenty, so it seemed feasible to move the building back to higher ground. No money was available to build a new school building, but Harry H. Miller was hired to move and repair the old one. [Phoenix, Oct. 28, 1881]
In 1897 repairs were made to the inside, walls newly papered, and a new hard pine floor laid. New desks for the teacher and the pupils were furnished from the factory of S.A. Smith & Co. of Brattleboro, which meant that they were not only handsome desks, but also very comfortable and convenient for the scholars. [Phoenix, Sept. 10, 1897]
Schoolhouse, closer to road and beside Dummerston Congregational Church
In 1905 the cellar was dug out and the foundation wall was completed so that the room could be heated from the basement. [Phoenix, Nov. 17, 1905 & Jan 5, 1906]
In 1928 or 1929 it was remolded to become a Superior school, by adding new blackboards, desks, toilets, and lights. New steps and railings were replaced. [Feb 1, 1929 Town Report]
This photo was taken the last year that classes were held here, before the consolidation of the East Schools, 1950.
The building was taken over by the Town Highway Department to house trucks and equipment until it was moved in May of 1978 to become the Historical Society.
The former Center Schoolhouse and The Dummerston Historical Society today.
[Photo by Charles Fish]
-Information compiled by Carol Bessette
Edited by Madeline Conley