At 220 Main Street in Farmington is a former one-room brick school house built in 1829 to serve the town’s South District. It was used as a school until 1904, when Farmington’s schoolhouses were consolidated into a Center School. In 1905 the former school was sold to Theodate Pope, who designed or remodeled five houses in town to become low-income housing. She converted the school house into a residence and it became the home of Reuben and Lucy Lewis and their eleven children. Reuben Lewis worked at the Lodge, a vacation home for girls working in the big city garment industry that was run by a group of Miss Porter’s School graduates. He was also a railroad porter. His father, Richard Lewis, had settled in Farmington before the Civil War after escaping from slavery on the Underground Railroad. In the 1930s the Lewis family moved out and the building has since been used as an antiques shop, a nursery school, a lawyer’s office and, most recently, Farmington Valley Dance & Music, LLC.
The Myrtle Avenue School in Bridgeport was constructed in two sections, both designed by architect Warren R. Briggs. The first section, a mansard-roofed structure, was built in 1884. A flat-roofed Beaux Arts section was constructed in 1916, fronting 325 Myrtle Street and filling the space that had been the old building’s front yard. The school was later renamed as the Jefferson School. No longer used as a school, the building was altered (with a new pitched roof) to house condominiums under the name Jefferson School Lofts.
Located at the corner of The Green and Academy Hill in Watertown is a schoolhouse constructed in 1846 (moved c.1850). It was built by the nearby Christ Church as a private school and served as the town high school later in the nineteenth century. The building was later used by the church as a parish house. It is now owned by the Taft School.
The Nova Scotia District School was one of the old one-room district school houses of the Town of Watertown. Originally located at the corner of Fern Hill Road and Route 6, it was built in 1853 and served as a school until 1929. The building was disassembled in 1990 and rebuilt in Munson Park at 17 DeForest Street, behind the Gridley Store and the Munson House. The Old Nova Scotia School House reopened in 1993 as a museum, maintained by the Watertown Historical Society and furnished as it would have been in the second half of the nineteenth century.
The building that was once the Manchester Green Elementary School is located at 549 Middle Turnpike East in Manchester. It was built in 1921-1923. Earlier school buildings had served the village of Manchester Green going back to 1751. Ending its role as an elementary school in 1978, the building was then converted to become the Manchester Senior Center.
On a corner of the Green in Branford is the old Academy building, constructed in 1820. This school was established by Rev. Timothy Phelps Gillett, who was pastor of Branford’s Congregational Church from 1808 to 1860. As related in Vol. II of the History of New Haven County (1892), edited by J.L. Rockey:
At Branford village a select school was taught by Reverend Timothy P. Gillett, some time after the war of 1812, which there, also, awakened a desire for schools of a higher grade, and which led to the establishment of an academy, in 1820. Benjamin R. Fowler, Calvin Frisbie, Philemon Tyler, John Beach and others, aided by Mr. Gillett, were active in this movement, and secured the town’s consent to erect the buildings on the south side of the green. A two-story frame house, with a belfry, was put up, which is still standing in that locality. For a number of years Branford Academy had a good reputation, and the stockholders were rewarded by having a school in their midst, which well served its purpose. The academy was continued with varying success until 1866, Miss Jane Hoadley being the last teacher. Others who are remembered as having taught there were: Reverend Gillett, Deacon Samuel Frisbie and Lynde Harrison. The latter was instrumental in securing a school library of several hundred volumes. The upper story of the academy building has long been used as a Masonic hall.
The usefulness of the academy was at an end after the consolidation of the public schools of the town.
The Academy building, which originally stood on the site of the present Town Hall, was moved to the rear of the Congregational Church in 1860. It was sold to the Masons in 1871, but was sometimes rented by the town for overflow school space thereafter. In 1971 the Academy was deeded to the town and in 1974 it was moved to its current site on the Branford Green, at the north-west corner of South Main Street.
The building that today serves as the Town Hall of Montville was built in 1917-1918 as the Uncasville School. Located at 310 Norwich-New London Turnpike, it was designed by Wilson Potter, a New York City-based architect of schools throughout the Northeast. A substantial addition (1925), probably also designed by Potter, consists of the two projecting wings that flank the recessed central block that was the original building. Another one-story addition was made in 1953. The school was the gift of Grace Palmer Melcer, a civic leader and daughter of Edward A. Palmer, a local industrialist. It was built at her own expense as a memorial to her mother, Isabel Mitchell Palmer, who died in 1916. With a substantial number of immigrants from Eastern Europe and elsewhere settling in Montville at the time to work in the the area’s mills, the school had a curriculum that emphasized acculturation and integration. The school, now used as the Town Hall, is located next to a 1938-1939 building that had previously been the Montville Town Hall.