Sunday October 25 concluded our open house series at the Center Schoolhouse on Route 181 in Barkhamsted. This year we decided to open up the building one day each month from May to October. On the last Sunday of each of these months, Mike Day opened up the building and set out special displays.
Mike has a wealth of knowledge on country schoolhouses, the textbooks used in early American schools as well as curriculums, games and school life in general.
Our open houses were very successful, drawing not only local residents but also people from distant towns who saw our publicity in the newspapers. Mike showed them items from his textbook collection, discussed life in one room schoolhouses and even demonstrated games and toys enjoyed by kids long ago.
He also discussed the history of the Center school. The building was constructed in 1821 as a two story school. Some sixty years later, with a much reduced population and in disrepair, town fathers decided to remove the first floor and lower the second floor. The building was used as a school until the 1930s, when students from the Barkhamsted Center area were sent to a consolidated school in Pleasant Valley. BHS had the building moved in 1980 from its location on the west side of the Barkhamsted Reservoir to its current location. Here it is accessible to the public, including an annual visit by Barkhamsted third graders during History day.
The Historical Society will continue to open the school on the last Sunday from May to October again in 2010 so please visit this historic building and see the latest exhibits that Mike will have for your enjoyment.