Wolcott Historical Society News - September 2007
By Florence Goodman
The Old Stone Schoolhouse Museum located on Nichols Road diagonally across from the BAW fields is the oldest stone schoolhouse in Connecticut. The original wooden structure was destroyed by fire and was replaced in 1825 with the present stone structure. The stone was quarried from the Wakelee Quarry located off of Woodtick Road near the Waterbury line. In 1898, the length of the building was extended for more room. This schoolhouse was used to educate the children who lived in the southwest section of town for 109 continuous years.
Many generations from the same families attended this school. Some of the names on the rosters include Hall, Frisbie, Tuttle, and Wakelee. A newer two-room Woodtick School replaced the stone schoolhouse in the early 1930's for a cost of $14,799. That school was located where the town's Public Safety building now stands. The stone schoolhouse was reopened in 1942 for one year to take care of the overflow from the newer Woodtick School.
In 1934, the school was purchased by Miss Emily Morris and given to the Mattatuck Historical Society of Waterbury. Miss Morris wanted the school to be a memorial to her mother Eugenia Laura Tuttle Morris, and to her maternal grandfather Lucius Tuttle who had taught in the school in 1829. The Waterbury Society had hoped to restore the schoolhouse, but vandals made that impossible and changes were made to allow for living quarters for a caretaker.
In 1962, the school was turned over to the newly formed Wolcott Historical Society. They made restoration a top priority. They received a matching funds federal grant and with the help of the town and the bicentennial committee were able to restore the building. The museum was dedicated in October of 1977 and thus has served as such for thirty years. In 1978, Mr. John Washburne applied for historic status for the building, but it wasn't until 1982 that it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
In 1989, the schoolhouse received several much need renovations. A new cedar shingle roof replaced the old leaking roof, the old chimney was rebuilt, the concrete floor was replaced with wooden planking, and a drainage system was installed around the exterior of the building. They also removed a small porch that had been added to the entrance of the building to bring it back to its original state.
The museum is open to interested parties by appointment. If you would like to visit the facility, please contact Mrs. Loretta Leonard at 879-4310 or Mrs. Flo Goodman at 879-9818.
Our main source of income to maintain the museum is through our membership donations and our Annual Dessert Card Party. Our membership drive starts in October and our Card Party will be held on November 2nd from 7:00 Ð 9:30 P.M. at the Senior Center. Enjoy an evening of card playing, great pies, coffee, tea, apple cider, and a penny auction. Local merchants donate our door prizes.
Visit our WebPages at (http://www.wolcotthistory.org/). You can download a membership application here. Our meetings are held on the first Thursday of each month at the Old Stone School on Nichols Road at 6:30 P.M.
To view past installments of the Wolcott Historical Society News, click here.