Hills Academy (1832)

May 17th, 2012 Posted in Essex, Greek Revival, Schools

Hills Academy, at 22 Prospect Street in Essex, was built in 1832 on land donated by Joseph Hill. Funded by local businessmen, it served as a private school. It was run by a group of trustees until 1848, when it was leased to teacher Lucius Lyon, who constructed a seminary building next door for boarders. In the 1870s, the seminary building was sold and converted into a hotel, known initially as the Pettipaug House. It was later torn down. The Academy itself was sold to the town in 1903 and used intermittently as an elementary school until the 1930s, when it was leased to the The Improved Order of Red Men and became known as Red Men’s Hall. Saved from demolition in 1909, Hills Academy was purchased by the Essex Historical Society in 1954 and has since been used as a museum.

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