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6/24/2023 - History Talk: History of Connecticut Schoolhouses

Join us for returning local author Melinda Elliott to discuss her book Connecticut Schoolhouses Through Time as part of the 350th History Series at Southbury Public Library. Learn more about the history of Connecticut schoolhouses, with a focus on Southbury schoolhouses.

There was a time when you could walk through Connecticut and find schoolhouses scattered across the landscape every few miles. In the mid-1800s, schoolhouses were located in districts so that a child would not have to walk more than two miles to school. The schools were literally everywhere: in the road, at the edge of the tobacco field, on top of a rocky hill, or next to the meeting house. Each schoolhouse was made for one teacher to "keep school" for all the neighborhood children aged 7-16. In 1852, there was a count of over 1600 schoolhouses. As the population changed, the school district borders changed, new schools were constructed, or old schools were moved to new locations.

Now in the 21st century, you can still see old Connecticut schoolhouses and imagine what they would have been like in the old times. Connecticut is blessed with over a hundred renovated and restored schoolhouses which are open to the public thanks to the hard work of the communities and numerous historical societies. Compare the new photographs with the up to 130-year-old photos to see how the schools and terrain have changed or remained the same through time.

Melinda K. Elliott grew up with a keen interested in history. She is always researching some historical topic and loves delving into the stories of long-forgotten people. Melinda enjoys sharing her latest finds through writing blog posts, articles, brochures, and books. She has had speaking engagements throughout of the state and on various zoom webinars streamed around the world. Melinda is the president of the Southbury Historical Society, and director of The Bullet Hill School – A Living Museum program. Her published books include Connecticut Schoolhouses Through Time, Southbury Through Time: Remnants of Our Past, and No Swastikas in Southbury. Melinda and her husband, Ray, enjoy road trips and are always on the lookout for one-room schoolhouses, covered bridges, old mills, and historic villages. They have three children, all living nearby, and eight grandchildren to spoil.

Like all Southbury Public Library programs, this event is free to attend and open to anyone regardless of town of residency. Registration is required.

History Talks is a program in corporation with the Southbury Public Library, Southbury Historical Society, and the 350th Anniversary Committee.


Event: History of Connecticut Schoolhouses
Event Date: 6/24/2023
Event Time: 1:00pm - 2:30pm
Admission Fee: Free
Registration Instructions:
Event Organizers/Contact: Southbury Public Library | 203-262-0626 ext. 130 | 350th Anniversary Steering Committee |
Event Location: Southbury Public Library, 100 Poverty Road, Southbury, CT 06488


350th logo

The Town of Southbury is holding events and activities all year long to celebrate 350 years of community, culture and history (1673-2023), aimed at highlighting the past and progress of the one and only Southbury.

The 350th Anniversary Steering Committee consists of John Dwyer and Kevin Bielmeier (co-chairs), Brian Jones (vice-chair), Justin Bette, Lynn Dwyer, Melinda Elliott, Michael Ganem, Kara Kenney, Mary Korsu, and Gosia Liedlich.