1865 Pine Grove Schoolhouse
3 Harris Road (Route 167)
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places
Open Sundays from 2 - 4 pm, June - Sept. with free admission, or by appointment.
A vintage photo (c. 1912) of the Pine Grove Schoolhouse interior. Courtesy of Marian M. Hunter History Archives (click image to enlarge).
Built at a cost of $1,538.34, Schoolhouse No. 7 opened December 1865. Henry Barnard, Connecticut’s First Commissioner of Education, called it the “finest school in the state.” Miss Francis, its first teacher, earned $96.00 for a four- month winter term. In those days teachers had no long-term tenure so they often moved from town to town, usually boarded with townspeople, were only paid at the conclusion of the term with female teachers earning less than their male counterparts. Usually there were more female students in attendance over summer because the males were working on the farms but the situation was reversed in winter terms.
Later named Pine Grove School by its students, the building served students from several adjacent towns since students walked to school, regardless of the weather, even if it was a distance of several miles. The building served as a school for 84 years until it closed in 1949. Later it continued to be used as a branch library, nursery school and meeting place for Explorer Scouts. It was even the venue for a local church choir to rehearse in because a one room schoolhouse was cheaper to heat than the larger church.
The Pine Grove Schoolhouse. Photo by Deb Key.
The Avon Historical Society began restoration in 1975 as a U.S. Bicentennial project. The remaining outhouse was restored in 2012. In 2014, an informational kiosk about the school was added to the site. It was built as a Boy Scout Eagle project. Today the school is set up as an early 20th century schoolhouse complete with bolted desks (c. 1865), hand slates (c. 1900), textbooks (19th - 20th c.) and more. On display are many photos and stories from former alumni. Come ring the old brass hand bells, sit at a small desk, see the old water pump, hold the old sporting equipment, and imagine what it was like to learn in a one room school with children of all ages.