Kendra Baker photos
The Hurlbutt Street Schoolhouse was built in a single day by members of the school district in 1834 and provided education for students in grades one through eight over the next 101 years.
Today the schoolhouse still has a role in educating children.
Hurlbutt Street School House Inc. Vice President Linda Schmidt and assistant education director Ann McDonald trained seven mothers of Wilton second graders how to teach an early-19th Century class at the 181-yearold one-room schoolhouse at 157 Hurlbutt Street on Friday, Oct. 16.
The parents will teach 90-minute classes to groups of about 20 students at the historic schoolhouse this November.
The schoolhouse underwent a number of changes, including a transition from kerosene lamps to electricity, from hornbooks and slates to notebooks and lead pencils, and from students learning the three Rs — ”reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic” — to understanding the atom.
The only things that stayed the same over the years were the wood-burning stove, water jug, blackboard, teaching chart, old-fashioned desks, school bell, rain barrel, and outhouse.
When the schoolhouse closed in 1935 due to consolidation of all education at the Center School, “it stood empty for a little while,” said Schmidt.
Wilton’s Ladies Auxiliary was formed in 1929. The group bought the schoolhouse from the town for $1 in 1938 and created the nonprofit Hurlbutt Street Community House. The organization’s name was changed to the Hurlbutt Street School House Inc. in 1974, and the then 80-year-old building was gradually refurbished to its former schoolroom appearance.
“The neighborhood ladies all got together and took over the schoolhouse,” said Schmidt. “They turned it into a mini community center and added the kitchen, which includes a sink without a faucet, so they could have potluck dinners and things like that.”