How the school house looked before the first addition was added on. Photo courtesy of Greenwood Historical Society

GREENWOOD — In March, the more than 130-year-old building that once served as Greenwood’s Town Office and before that as a schoolhouse, was demolished.

The building was erected in the summer and fall of 1889, two years after the new road into Locke’s Mills was constructed. It started out as single room schoolhouse with only one teacher and a little less than 20 students, according to Local Historian Chris Dunham. In 1897, the school supervisor requested that another row of seats be put in the room as more students began to attend. That winter in 1897, 32 students attended the school.

In 1899 the supervisor, concerned about the building foundation’s poor condition, suggested raising the structure so work could be done to drain any water coming into the building.

In 1907, with 40 students now going to school there, a second teacher was hired and a decision was made to raise the roof of the building so a second room could be built to accommodate all scholars. H. Alton Bacon, a Bryant Pond resident and local contractor, was hired to do the work in 1908, according to Dunham.

Upon completion of work the school house now had a primary and grammar room. The next big addition made was a water system with flush toilets, which were added in 1915. Ten years later a cement walkway was built and six years after that in 1931 a woodshed that could shelter a year’s worth of wood was built.

In the winter of 1934, using funds from the Civil Works Administration, another room and a concrete basement with a new heating plant came into the picture, according to Dunham. Gould Academy supplied some seats from one of its old buildings.

Piece by piece it was becoming more and more like school house. The 1935 town report spoke on the addition, saying it “provides a large, light room for three upper grades.”

The next major change would come in 1946 with the addition of a new heating system, consisting of a boiler with an oil burner. Also in 1946, enough funds were raised by students to get swings put in behind the school. According to Dunham, the swings would eventually be moved to Dunham Park and are still in use and at the same location today (approximately half a mile up Howe Hill Road on the left).

In 1965, Greenwood voted to join School Administrative District 44 and a year later in 1966, the title of the school was transferred to the district as well. Following the change, the school would be home for only three grades and eventually two in its final year. It was closed in 1981 at the end of the school year.

In 1983, the town got ownership of the structure again and decided to turn it into a municipal building in 1986. The town would use the building until mold and structural issues forced it to relocate in November 2013 to the office’s current location on the Gore Road. The property was sold to Nick Bartlett in 2015.

Memories

“I attended the school for three years in the 1970s and have nothing but fond memories of the place. Amy Davis, Barbara Ferguson, Margaret Cousins and Norma Salway were my teachers and surrogate mothers, and janitor Art Wiesner was my nature guide at recess. My father attended the school through eighth grade, and I count myself lucky to have shared that part of our village’s history with him.” – Chris Dunham.

“We have fond memories of former students stopping in to see their old classrooms.  They would share so many wonderful memories.” Greenwood Town Manager Kim Sparks.

“When I was first elected to the Greenwood board of selectmen, in 2009, the town office was still located there. I always liked walking into the hallway for meetings and thinking about all the history that took place there when it was a schoolhouse. I am so sad it was torn down.” Greenwood Resident and Select Woman Amy Chapman.

“I was deeply saddened to hear the news about the beloved LM School. It was there in that building under the guidance and love of a few of the best teachers (Amy Davis, Meg Cousins, Barbara Ferguson, Mabel Kennett, Nan Timberlake) that I received the best teacher preparation training possible. It was there in the magic of that three room school when I decided I wanted to become a teacher. While I was taking college courses toward my teaching degree, I was engaged on a daily basis with students and totally immersed in the world of classroom instruction and management.

“One of the memorable lessons I learned from a young child was how easily miscommunication can happen. As part of my job, I provided individual reading instruction to students under the direction of the Title I teacher. On this particular morning I walked quietly into the second grade classroom to bring a student back into my area to receive extra help. Usually, I would walk over to her desk, tap her on the shoulder so not to disturb the rest of the class.
“However, since we had been working together for several weeks, I decide to stand in the doorway, catch her eye, and motion for her to come. All seemed well.
“Her big brown eyes looked directly into mine. She didn’t move one inch. I motioned again with my index finger. She ignored my gesture each time. Finally, I walked over to her, took her hand and guided her into my room. As she sat in the little wooden chair, I asked her why she didn’t walk to the door when I motioned.
“She looked up at me with those eyes wide open and said, ‘It’s not nice to stick up your middle finger.’
I nearly fell out of my chair from hearing her response!
“‘You thought I was sticking up my middle finger at you?’ I asked.
“‘Yes. That’s not nice.’ she repeated with a slight tone of annoyance. After giving her a sincere clarification lesson in finger names and reassuring her of the meaning of motioning with an index  finger, we laughed together about the mistake. I assumed she knew what I meant when I gestured with my finger. I  was wrong.  I learned a valuable lesson that day. Children do not process information exactly as we do.

“Most days, the front doors of the LM School were wide open welcoming parents inside. (Until world events changed that open door policy.) Some would stop by for coffee during recess. Sally Melville sometimes made us her delicious doughnuts. One afternoon, a large friendly dog walked in and settled down in the back of Mrs. Cousin’s classroom while she was reading a story.

“I will forever cherish the years spent in that small community school and the children and people who touched my life and sparked my love of teaching. Many of those students and parents remain lifelong friends to this day,” Longtime SAD 44 Teacher Norma Salway 

 

 

 

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