Save our schoolhouse

One room schoolhouses at the New Milford Historical Society

Hill & Plain School

The New Milford Historical Society & Museum Collection includes the one-room Hill and Plains schoolhouse. It is desperately in need of a complete restoration. Any contribution that you can afford to make to aid in this critical restoration project will make a significant difference in our work. Thank you!

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.

the hill and plain one room school houseThis schoolhouse was built in 1843 and was in use until 1940, when its students were sent to the Lanesville district one-room school, which remained in use for a few years longer. In 1995, Mr. Robin Stack, who attended Hill & Plain School from 1935 to 1940, stated there were only 16 students with four in the 8th grade. The room was heated by potbelly stove, burning wood supplied by nearby farmers in the spring and fall, and coal in the winter months. Each morning two students would go to the Wanzer Farm, just north of the school, and fetch a pail of drinking water. In later years, water was obtained from a spring on Carmen Hill. At recess the children would play ball in an open field across the road or would slide down the huge rock formation directly behind the school.

Dr. D. W. Knowles, of Lanesville, said in a 1911 New Milford Gazette article that his early education was in the “Pinchgut Plain” district school, which stood near the corner of present-day Danbury Road and Candlewood Lake South. The Hill district schoolhouse was very nearby on Sullivan Road and, due to population changes in the mid-1800’s, the two districts were consolidated into the Hill & Plain district. Dr. Knowles said that in those days little children three and four years old went to school, and when they were tired they were put in a warm corner to sleep, “as thick as pigs in a poke.”

Ruth M. Sullivan donated the Hill& Plain schoolhouse property to the New Milford Historical society in 1985. At the time of its closing in 1940, there were 16 students in the eight grades taught there.

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