Citizens’ Hall (1870)

Citizens’ Hall is a mansard-roofed Second Empire building located in the former industrial village of Curtisville, now called Interlaken, in the town of Stockbridge. Designed by Charles T. Rathburn, Citizens’ Hall was built in 1870 as a district schoolhouse, with a public meeting hall on the second floor. Used less frequently as a meeting place after the town’s district schools were consolidated, the building was restored in the 1970s by Old Curtisville, Inc. (pdf). IS183, a non-profit community art school founded in 1991, leased Citizens’ Hall before merging with Old Curtisville, Inc. in 2005. As the building‘s new owners, IS183 completed exterior repairs in May, 2009.

State Normal Training School (1899)

At 27 Washington Street in Westfield is a building constructed in 1899-1900 as the State Normal Training School, where student teachers gained experience from 1900 to 1956. Designed by the architectural firm of Gardner, Pyne & Gardner of Springfield, the building is one of only two nineteenth-century structures which survive from the State Normal School at Westfield, later called Westfield State Teachers College, which is today Westfield State University. This school was first established by Horace Mann in 1838 in Barre and became the first coeducational public training school in the nation. The school closed in 1841, but reopened in Westfield in 1844. In 1956, the training school building became a regular elementary school called the Washington Street School. It later was used by the Westfield District Court until 2002. The vacant building was reacquired by Westfield State University in 2006 and then sold to a developer in 2011 to become market-rate student housing.

Dennison Schoolhouse Replica (1946)

In 1946, Old Sturbridge Village built a replica of an 1849 schoolhouse. It stood on the Common, where the Thompson Bank is now located. In 1963, it was moved elsewhere in the Village, where it is now used for historical performances and special programs. The original Dennison Schoolhouse, on Dennison Lane in Southbridge, is now a private residence.

Abiel Smith School (1835)

In 1798, members of Boston’s black comunity organized a grammar school that met in in the home of Primus Hall, the son of Prince Hall, a community leader whose petitions to allow black children into the city’s school system had long been denied. The school moved to the African Meeting House on Beacon Hill in 1808 and received financial upport frm the city after 1812. In the 1820s, the city finally established two schools for black children. Abiel Smith was a white businessman who died in 1815 and left $4,000 for the education of African American children in Boston. Part of this bequest was used to build the Abiel Smith School, completed in 1834 and dedicated the following year on Belknap Street, now called Joy Street, near the African Meeting House. In 1849, most African-American parents in Boston withdraw their children from the Abiel Smith School to protest the segregation of schools in the city. In 1855, the Massachusetts legislature outlawed segregation and the Abiel Smith School was closed. The building was then used to store school furniture and after 1887 as the headquarters for black Civil War veterans. The restored building is now part of the Museum of African American History. The school is also on Boston’s Black Heritage Trail.

Flagg School, Southborough (1859)

In 1859, the Town of Southborough built five school houses in different parts of town, with the District 5 School house being located at the intersection of Flagg and Deerfoot Roads. In 1894, with the school house at Southborough Centre having fallen into disrepair, the District 5 school house was moved (and extended by ten feet) to replace it. After a new High School was built in 1906, the old school house, now known as the Flagg School, became home to the Southborough Fire Department until 1928. It later served the town’s Tree Department and then the Water Department. In 1998, the building was leased to the Southborough Historical Society, which renovated it. In 2000, it was dedicated as the Southborough Historical Museum.