In 1949 the Town of East Hartford opened three new or expanded schools: Hockanum School and Sunset Ridge School, both built in a similar Colonial Revival style, and a new addition to the Woodland School (originally built in 1928). On August 28, 1949, the Hartford Courant (“New Schools to Open on September 7″) reported that contractors had been ordered to focus on completing the classrooms, leaving gymnasiums, auditoriums and cafeteria kitchens until last (and therefore not yet fully completed when the buildings were opened to students). At Sunset Ridge School, at the corner of Forbes Street and Silver Lane, work on the grounds was focused on at least finishing one walkway as a dry summer had raised a considerable amount of dust. On September 25, 1949, the Courant reported (“New Building Contains 10 Classrooms”) that Sunset Ridge School, erected in less than a year at a cost of $825,000, could accommodate 350 pupils. The school was situated on 10-acre plot that had required extensive grading. The excess dirt had been used to fill in the site of the Woodland School addition and what remained was given to any residents who were willing to haul it away. A lot of clay had been encountered during the digging, which brought to mind that there was once a brick manufacturer located across the street from the school. A 12-classroom addition was constructed in 1951.
The oldest one-room schoolhouse still standing in New Haven County is the Little Red Schoolhouse in Northford in North Branford. Built in 1805, it was used as a school until 1890. The League of Women Voters moved the Little Red Schoolhouse from its original location on Forest Road to its current address at 13 Old Post Road in 1933 to serve as to the Northford Public Library. The building was recently restored to become a museum maintained by the Totoket Historical Society.
The building at 311 Main Street in Wethersfield was built in 1862 as the High Street School. A brick building, it replaced an earlier wooden school building, built in 1770, which stood just to the south-east. It was in this earlier building that Wethersfield’s first library, called the Union Society Library (established in 1783) was located until 1798. The former brick schoolhouse was converted into a residence in 1928 and wooden side dormers were added.
At 359 Hazard Avenue in Hazardville in Enfield is the former Hazardville Grammar School. The older section of the building, which was built in 1864, is in the rear. In the twentieth century (perhaps 1948?) the school lost its pedimented front pavilion and tower with a pyramidal roof, which were replaced by a two-story brick addition that became the building’s new front facade. Not used as a school after 1974, the building was later leased to the Y.W.C.A. and is today the Hazardville Daycare Center.
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.