|The Grass Hill School was built in 1861 and operated through
At one time, there were eight grades taught there: 1-4 downstairs
and 5-8 upstairs.
Of course, there were few students in West Millbury, so each
grade only took up one or two rows.
The Millbury Historical Society has a long-termed lease with the
Town for its use of the school.
|Purchase Cat's Meow:
Grass Hill School
Collector's Item of Millbury's
original one-room schoolhouse
With great pride, the Millbury Historical Society is restoring
the schoolhouse on West Main Street as a museum.
On the first floor are the original drinking water fountains,
original bathrooms off to the side of the hallway, and one
classroom. One can easily imagine mischievous little boys
dunking girls' pigtails in the inkwells of wooden desks,
which are bolted to the floor.
In the classroom, slate blackboards cover the front and
one back wall. Wooden benches are in the last row and
along the side wall under the windows. The teacher's
wooden desk is in the front of the room and has antique
beverage can on it. The back walls are adorned with copies
of early 20th-century School Committee meeting minutes
as well as annual town reports with statistics and school
budgets. Copies of students' papers are also on the back
These and other items are being painstakingly restored
and displayed. The schoolhouse museum is a stop on the
Millbury schoolchildren's local Heritage Tour, which
includes the Asa Waters Mansion and other landmarks.
A few years ago the Millbury Historical Society took over
maintenance of the building, and now the town leases it to
the society. Mary Lou Mulhane, vice president of the
Historical Society, is chairman of the restoration committee.
The current Committee for the Restoration of the Grass Hill
School began meeting in the fall of 2007 and consists of
Ms.. Mulhane, Linc Bordeaux, Barry Fjellman, Jane Pojani,
Eric White, and Linda Roach.
This committee is responsible for procuring funds and
hiring restoration expert Warren Lanpher. Warren
designed and re-built the school's cupola and completely
refit the front of the building with new clapboards.
Chairwoman Mulhane reported that Phase I of the
restoration has been completed, with the painting and
replacement of the clapboards on the front of the building.
The original Grass Hill School was across the street,
where the West Millbury Community Meeting Center now
is. However, the structure burned down in the 19th century
and was rebuilt across the street, where it now stands.
Although Millbury residents remember it as being red or
brown, its original color, Mrs. Mulhane said, was white.
Lincoln Bordeaux, former president of the Millbury
Historical Society and a member of the board of trustees of
Old Sturbridge Village and Higgins Armory, consulted with
Brad King, the head of conservation at OSV, about the
restoration. Mr. King drew up restoration plans, and OSV
was involved in the research.
Phase I, Mrs. Mulhane said, included reproducing the bell
tower last year. Benjamin Miles of Millbury bequeathed the
original bell, which he had obtained at an auction. When he
died, he bequeathed an additional $5,000, which was used
for the bell tower restoration. In the spring of 2008, the
Historical Society celebrated the ringing of that bell by Mr.
Miles' grandson, Benjamin Miles III of Millbury. Living
alumni would not have heard that bell, Mrs. Mulhane said,
since it wasn't there in latter years.
The carved sign on the school was donated by Alex and
Andre Belisle, former owners of the Millbury Sutton
Chronicle. And C&S Lumber Co. donated lumber to help
complete Phase I, Mr. Bordeaux said. Gary's Cabinets of
West Millbury restored two 7-foot-long wooden benches in
Mr. Bordeaux said the society has spent about $15,000 in
cash on Phase I, and has received other donations.
Phase II will involve replacing the clapboards and windows
and painting the east side of the building. Mrs. Mulhane
said the society needs about $12,000 more for Phase II, and
that it is halfway to that goal from private donations.
The building needs new heating and alarm systems and
new bathrooms, as well as painting inside.
The Historical Society is trying to get the schoolhouse
named a National Historic Landmark, as well as on the state
register of historic places.
|Grass Hill School Being Restored,
In and Out
|Patrons of the Grass Hill School
The Millbury Historical Society wishes to
acknowledge the following individuals and
organizations for their generosity in helping to
renovate the Grass Hill School:
Barry & Debra Fjellman
Lincoln & Virginia Bordeaux
Robert & Barbara Pearson
Mary Lou & Stuart Mulhane
Diane & Peter Shemeth
Gifts & Services
C & S Retail Lumber
Ray's True Value
Alex & Andree Belisle
The Miles Family
"In Memory of Florence Paine & David Lee"
William & Linda Carig
Paul & Judy Aubrey
Robert & Elaine Lee
Bill & Florence Peacock
Robie & Heather Bruce
Eric & Alita Bezanson
"In Memory of Jeanne Power"
Carol M. Krumsiek
Barbara J. Garofalo
Frank & Sandra Lazowski
Laurie & Brian Mellen
Rebecca B. Bonin
Peter & Barbara Mazziotti
Maureen & Daniel Belsito
Richard & Natalie Chiaravalloti
Florence S. Weissman
Derby, CT Historical Society
"In Memory of Nancy Winter Taylor"
Charles & Elfrieda Parsons
Dudley A. Middleton, Jr.
|The Grass Hill School (left) as it looked before
the renovations were begun and how it looks
|Save the Grass Hill School!
The Grass Hill School,
located on West Main Street,
is undergoing extensive (and
If you care to make a
donation, send a check to:
The Millbury Historical Society
c/o Sharon Anderson, Treasurer
402 Greenwood Street