Of Historical Note: Learning corner
By Lori Berkey, Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury – The photo of this little brick place was taken at the corner of Old Mill Road and Main Street in Shrewsbury. According to the “Town of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts 1727-1977 Two Hundred Fiftieth Anniversary Official Souvenir Program,” this “Schoolhouse No. 5” building was erected in 1828 and is the oldest schoolhouse in town. When the program book came out 35 years ago, the building's status was reported as being “presently owned and being restored by the Shrewsbury Historical Society.”
Lessons were conducted in the building's single room until 1917, when the Artemus Ward School was completed. That's per information posted by the Shrewsbury Historical Society. The details also indicated that the school later became a private home. An old photo, pictured in Michael Perna Jr.'s book, “Images of Shrewsbury,” shows that a shed used to abut the building. Currently, the schoolhouse is the only structure on the lot.
According to the Shrewsbury Historical Society's website, www.shrewsburyhistoricalsociety.org,
when the society acquired the building from the town in 1973, it gravely needed repairs. Fundraisers brought in the dollars needed to begin restoration. Per this source, initial repairs were completed more than 30 years ago and included installation of new windows, a new roof and an exterior paint job. Period desks and chairs were bought for the inside and fresh paint was applied. Decades later the schoolhouse was in dire need of more repairs. The people of Shrewsbury rallied to save the old learning ground and the process started again.
Of Historical Note is a weekly segment of the Community Advocate that features a hidden or well-known landmark from one of our newspaper's six communities.
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