South Windsor Historical Society celebrates 150th anniversary of District 5 Schoolhouse
By Christian Mysliwiec - Staff Writer
South Windsor - posted Fri., Jun. 14, 2013
On Flag Day, members of the community celebrated an anniversary close to the hearts of South Windsor historians. On Friday, June 14, the South Windsor Historical Society gathered at the Pleasant Valley Schoolhouse Museum to celebrate the 150-year anniversary of the structure. Members of the public and state and local dignitaries came together for a flag-raising. The schoolhouse's new flag had been donated by past Historical Society president Elsie Woolam, in memory of the son of museum chair and docent Joan Walsh and Warren Walsh, the late Rob Walsh.
In 1863, the District 5 Schoolhouse was built to replace an older elementary school nearby. After several decades, the average class size of the schoolhouse was estimated to be between 29 and 37 students. By 1922, that number was reduced to 18 children from four grades.
The District 5 Schoolhouse was closed in 1952, and the building was used by local groups for functions, and by a private kindergarten. The South Windsor Historical Society has always had an interest in the building, and from 1978 to 1994, the group leased the building and maintained it as a history museum. In 1991, the building was placed on the State Register of Historic Places. By the 19th century, there were a dozen single-room schools in South Windsor. Today, the District 5 Schoolhouse is the only historic schoolhouse in town that has not been demolished or converted into a home.
The South Windsor Historical Society received town permission to acquire the building and then began an initiative to restore and refurbish the building, and to add an addition with a kitchen, bathroom and handicap ramp. Of the $50,000 goal, $20,000 was gained by a private grant, and the rest by local fundraisers. The museum is open by appointment and on two weekdays during July and August. Admission is free, though donations are appreciated. The District 5 Schoolhouse is located at 771 Ellington Road. For more information, call 860-291-9958, or visit www.southwindsorhistory.org.