The New Milford Historical Society and Museum is a great way to explore our town

Our Collection

One-Room Schoolhouses

the northville one room school houseThe New Milford Historical Society & Museum Collection includes three three, one-room schoolhouses.
Connecticut was one of the 13 American colonies of the Kingdom of England settled in the early 1600’s. In the western area of Connecticut a valley was known to its inhabitants, the Potatuck Indians, as Weantinock and in 1703 the area was purchased from them by a company of individuals chiefly from Milford, Connecticut. The first permanent settlers arrived here in 1707 and in 1712 New Milford was officially chartered by the General Assembly as a town. By 1721, there were twenty-five families in residence, and it was decided that a public school was necessary, to be open for six months each year. The town would bear half the cost, and the students’ families would pay the rest in taxes. The cost to these families could be paid in monies, labor, supplies, or firewood. The first school opened in 1729, twenty-two years after the first permanent settlers arrived here, and was available to children of seven to twelve years of age, and those younger or older could attend at additional cost. Due to scantily kept records, many details, including the location of the first schoolhouse, have never been determined.
the gaylord one room school houseThe school was run by one teacher, a schoolmaster or schoolmarm, who taught all of the grades, sometimes spanning pre-school to eighth grade. Often girls sat on one side of the room and boys sat on the other side of the room, with the youngest students near the teacher. The teacher’s desk was in the front of room with a blackboard behind the desk as in the Hill and Plain and Gayslord’s Schoolhouses. In the rear of the classroom was pot belly stove for heating and cooking. Samuel Orcutt’s “History of New Milford” states that one of the early schoolteachers was the celebrated Sarah Noble, daughter of John Noble (the New Milford Historical Society store offers for sale “The Courage of Sarah Noble”).
As additional colonies settled in outlying areas of the town, the area was divided again and again into school districts. It was not until after the American Revolution, in 1782, that the town voted to assign permanent names and numbers to each district. As town boundaries shifted and the population increased, moved around, and clustered in different areas, school districts were also divided, combined, re-named and re-numbered. Between seventeen and twenty-five districts were in existence at any one time. Before the public schools opened, in-home schooling provided children with grade school educations. Until close to the twentieth century, higher learning to prepare one for college or business schools was available only at private institutions, a number of which were located in New Milford. As the town grew, the school system established high school programs, and became more centralized, closing the schoolhouses one by one. Three one-room schoolhouse remain in the Town of New Milford. Two are on occasion open to the public as schoolhouses, Hill & Plain and Gaylord. The Northville district schoolhouse is presently under restoration.

To see more, click below to visit the individual schoolhouses…
Hill and Plain School District
According to Howard Peck's New Milford, "the one-room Hill and Plain schoolhouse which is off Sullivan Road west of Lanesville, in School District No. 3. Mrs. Ruth Sullivan donated this building to The New Historical Society in 1987." Often land for a school was provided by a local farmer and local families build the schoolhouse. The present school was built in 1843 and was in use until 1940 more…

Northville
The land for the present schoolhouse in the Northville District was purchased in 1862. The schoolhouse served grades 1st grade through 8th; in later years to 6th grade. In 2002 Truman Richmond recalled that when he attended in the 1920's, the schoolroom surrounded by blackboards and students sat facing the teacher's desk on a raised platform in the front more…

Gaylord District
In 1740 a schoolhouse was built in the northwestern corner of New Milford just south Aaron Gaylord's home by local families who paid for the ongoing expenses. By 1858 in need of repair, the schoolhouse was moved to a new foundation a short distance away. More improvements were made in 1872 to the schoolhouse plus adding additions to the school more… Download the brochure, here

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