The Cavendish Historical Society's accepts tax-deductible contributions to help preserve our history. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org 802-226-7807 or PO Box 472 Cavendish, VT 05142 The CHS Museum is located at 1958 Main Street (Route 131) in Cavendish.
Meantime, the children had started school early in September, walking
the half-mile down the hill to the one-room
building which hadserved the neighborhood for many a year. They
carried their lunches. Our house seemed very quiet until they returned in late afternoon.
The country schoolsystem was new to us, of
course, and we had some doubts as to its efficiency. The town head once been
divided into ten or a dozen school
districts, including one for each village, spacedas
advantageously as possible to accommodate the children from all the scattered
farms. Then as time passed some of the farms were abandoned and certain schools closed, with the result that in our time a
few poor kids were isolated and to reach a school had to travel close to three
miles each way, or even further if they had to follow the roads (in bad
weather). rather than coming cross-lots. Theoretically, if the
distance was two miles or more the children were carried, their families being
allowed something for transportation; but plenty of times it did not turn out
that way. Either carrying them wasn't convenient, or the roads were too bad.
Then the children had to make it on their own, and generally did; there were
not too many absences. - A brother and sister used to come by, and sometimes
would come in to get warm. They didn't have any gloves.
(Eventually this problem was solved by building a good consolidated
school in Proctorsville* and
carrying the children by bus but that came a good many years later following
improvement of roads and vehicles, and only after a terrific battle among the
The situation meanwhile was accepted without question: people had been
given legs to walk with, and were expected to use them. The teacher was boarded
in the neighborhood, near enough, of course, so she also could walk.,
This was a pleasant arrangement, as we found when we had girls stay with us
several years; but never think there was money in it for anyone. Looking back
in an old town report, I see that our teacher at "Center School No.
1" was paid $558."for
teaching and janitor work" "for the year ending January 31,
1935" (a weird accounting system which I helped to change.) This meant if
she wanted help lugging water and wood and tending the big pot-bellied stove
she had to pay a pittance to one of the boys. Five to seven dollars a week for
board must have seemed like a lot - to her! - That year Center School cost the
taxpayers $665.50, probably a low for the twentieth century: it was up to
almost nine hundred the following year. I have no record of the number of pupils then, but
in 1941 a new superintendent had a brainstorm and his annual report shows that
Center had fifteen children divided among seven classes.
It's hardly surprising that a teacher seldom stayed more than two or
three years; even if their homes were near by they generally found something
better or got married. But I take my hat off to them (at least, most of them)
for the job they did. In general the children were pretty well prepared for
high school. Under the circumstances that was a considerable accomplishment.
At least it may be said that the one room was
spacious, light, and pleasant (when it was warm.) Generally windows were along
two sides, black boards on the other two. The stove has been mentioned.' This
was practical enough for the times. Otherwise the building was as primitive as
might be expected, some of them with only an open-sided woodshed which
generally housed the two privies (for boys and girls.) At Center, the latter
facilities were in small alcoves off the main room and in the end were provided
with chemical toilets,- at about the time the wood stoves gave place to oil
heaters. This was much later.
These little buildings also served as
neighborhood gathering places, and there were some gay times at Halloween and
Christmas parties. A number still stand, as after having served their purpose
they were sold, generally to the nearest neighbor upon whose land the school
probably was originally built. Even after being refurbished as guest houses or
hunting camps, and painted anything but red (which few of them were, anyway) it
is impossible to mistake these structures for anything but what they were.
Center Road School-Intersection of Center & Town Farm Roads
Cavendish Schools:From 1795 to 2009,
there have been 13 public schools in Cavendish. Students were assigned to the
school closest to where they lived. These included: • Stoddard-Bailey Hill
(closed by 1874)
• Hudson School-Old County Rd (burned in 1901)
• Parker School-near Knapp Pond (closed 1911)
• Densmore School-Brook and South Reading Roads
(burned in 1922)
• Rumke School-Greenbush (closed 1923)
• Gilchrist School (closed 1947
• Center School-Center and Town Farm Roads (closed
• Wheeler School-Twenty Mile Stream and Chambers Roads
• Tarbell Hill School (closed 1955)
• Proctorsville Village School (closed 1959 and
replaced with the Cavendish Town School)
• Duttonsville School (closed 1971)
• Stockin School (half in Weathersfield and under
Weathersfield School District)
• Fittonsville School-Cavendish Gulf Road Built for the
children whose parents worked at Spring Mill. When the mill burned, the school
closed in 1884
While Proctorsville had all 12 grades at one time, for many
generations, students would go to Ludlow, Chester or Springfield high schools.
This changed when the Green Mountain Union High School was built. Today,
through school choice option, while a majority of the students go to GMUHS,
many opt for Springfield, Ludlow or Woodstock.
School District #1, Center RoadSchool, where the Tiemann children went to school
has been written about extensively in Sandra Fields Stearns’ book Cavendish Hillside Farm 1939-1957. Stearns
school days begin in the 1940s, a decade after the Tiemanns would have
graduated. Still there are many similarities, with the school being a hub for
the social activities of the community.