Bulkeley School, New London (1873)

October 25th, 2011 Posted in Gothic, New London, Schools

The Bulkeley School, the gift of Leonard Hallam Bulkley, was an all-boys high school in New London. It was built in 1871-1873 and continued as a private school until 1951, when New London High School opened. The Bulkeley School then became the New London Junior High School until it finally closed in the 1970s. As explained in A modern History of New London County, Connecticut, Vol. I (1922):

Mr. Bulkeley was a merchant of modest pretensions, whose place of business was very near the school which now bears his name. He was born December 22, 1799, and died December 19, 1849. He left an estate valued at something less than $25,000 to found a secondary school which should be free to boys of New London. In his will he provided that the funds should be kept intact until the trustees, who were named in the will, should decide that they were justified in the erection of the schoolhouse. […]

This official board decided in 1870 that the estate had increased so considerably in its careful management that they were justified in beginning operations. Accordingly, plans were secured from the famous architect, Mr. Eidlitz, and upon a lot presented to them by the city they erected a very substantial and attractive building. How little they anticipated the growth of the city may be seen from the fact that the school provided seating capacity for only forty-two boys in the main study hall. The school was opened in September, 1873

The building, designed by Leopold Eidletz, had various additions constructed over the years, starting with an assembly room and laboratories in 1899 (further additions were built in 1912, 1922 and 1934). When the city purchased the school building in 1951, the money went into a trust fund and the Bulkeley School Trustees and the Alumni Association now give out annual scholarships. The former school building served as the City’s recreation offices and then stood vacant for a time. The Mohegan Tribe acquired the building for use as a professional office and demolished one the earlier additions for a parking garage. in 1992 the former Bulkeley School building was chosen as the new home of the Regional Multicultural Magnet School. In 2003 the building was renovated and expanded, remaining earlier additions being replaced with a substantial new building attached to the original structure. The structure no longer has its original tower.

  1. 13 Responses to “Bulkeley School, New London (1873)”

  2. By garry britt on Apr 9, 2012

    just bought a framed depolma of George Caswell Noble dated 1910 at a garage sale.thought it was cool!! Principal Matter A.Towne

  3. By garry britt on Apr 9, 2012

    had email wrong left out 61 oops!!

  4. By NORMAN ADELMAN on Jul 7, 2012

    graduated bulkeley prep in new london ct in 1933. where can i get the year book, the whaler
    thank you.

  5. By NORMAN ADELMAN on Oct 12, 2012


  6. By lillian kerr on Jan 13, 2013

    Have a copy of The Bulkeley News Commencement number, Volume Five, dated August 1909.

    I would happily donate it to the school if it is so desired.

  7. By John Reagan on Nov 5, 2013

    Hello Norman,

    I have the 1933 Whaler (and most of the years of your other years at Bulkeley. It is not for sale, but I can scan pages of it for you and email them to you. I see you were a track star along with playing football and basketball. You are noted for your wit and humor. If this site fails to contact me, please go to the Facebook Group – You’re probably from New London if… https://www.facebook.com/groups/479465175480527/556092674484443/?notif_t=group_comment_reply

  8. By Sonja Clark on Aug 6, 2014

    Did Berkley School ever allow women?

  9. By D'Elia on Oct 6, 2015

    My father, Arthur, graduated from the school in 1925 and went to Dartmouth and Tufts Medical. His brothers, Albert and Pete, also went there and all loved it. They were Italian immigrants. Anyone who can help me

  10. By Brock Palmer on Aug 5, 2016


    I don’t see how Bulkeley Jr. HIgh could have closed in 1951. I was in 7th and 8th grades there in 1955 & ’56.

    “It was built in 1871-1873 and closed in 1951, when New London High School opened.”

  11. By Daniel on Aug 5, 2016

    Thank you Brock Palmer, this post has been corrected and significantly expanded.

  12. By Linda Ray Altmeyer on Jun 1, 2017

    Brock Palmer, I remember you! We were classmates at Bulkeley Jr Hi those years. I was a Navy brat and lived on Plant Street. laltmeyer@hotmail.com
    Linda Ray Altmeyer

  13. By Blaine Loiacono on Jul 8, 2017

    I am wondering if there will be a Bulkeley High reunion this year. I was a member of the last class, freshman in 1951

  14. By James Lucas on Jan 3, 2018

    Will there be a reunion in August 2018? I was a 1946 graduate and will turn 90 on Sept 7 so would like to attend the reunion and do an early celebration of my birthday on a trip to Connecticut in August.

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