TEMPLE — The Temple Historical Society invited residents, past and present, to a picnic lunch and open house on Saturday. Entertainment, dessert and activities were available for attendees.

Although the society has held similar events in the past, this was the first year it was held at the Town Office, which is where the historic archives are kept.

“We are doing what we can to keep it going,” said society president Jean Mitchell. She is one of only six active members.

Lori Grassette uses Bill Hoyt as a ‘sounding board’ for a fun and interactive spoon performance. Grassette and Hoyt are residents of Temple and performed at the Temple Historical Society gathering Saturday. (Dee Menear/Franklin Journal)

The society was organized in 1979 and one of the first projects was to document facts pertaining to the 10 schools which used to serve the town, explained Vice Presidednt Betsy Graves. The first, Center School was built in 1803 and stood for over a century.

“Families would often move out of the woods to Farmington or Wilton in the winter so the men could work. Students would go to schools in those towns in the winter,” said Graves.

If the population of a school dwindled to less than five, those students would be transported to the nearest school until the population rebounded in the spring, Graves stated.


The last school was built in 1958 but was closed in 1966 when Temple became part of what is now RSU 9. That building, located at 258 Temple Rd. is now home to the Town Hall and archives room.

“When we first started this room, all we had was a stack of totes filled with old photos,” remarked Graves.

Temple Historical Society President Jean Mitchell, Vice President Betsy Graves, and Treasurer Belle Foss stand before one of the society’s prized possessions. The Temple fiddle was handcrafted by the late-Eddie Fontaine, who resided on Day Mountain Road. Fontaine was a well-known and much-respected woodsman, carpenter and craftsman. (Dee Menear/Franklin Journal)

The photos have been identified, archived, scanned, and digitally preserved. The collection has grown and now fills the entire room, thanks to donations of artifacts from those with ties to the community.

“We really just hope this honors the people of this community,” said Graves.

Scanned artifacts can be viewed on the society website, townoftemple.com. The artifact room is open by appointment by calling Mitchell at 778-2462 or Graves at 778-0837.


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