image/svg+xmlMaking History Every Day September & October, 2019, Volume 1, Issue 5 Oxford Historical Society, a 501 (c) 3 charitable organization Twitchell Rowland Homestead Museum60 Towner Lane, Oxford, CT 06478 Step by Step, Slowly…. September is here and the excavation for a founda-tion and basement for the Munn Schoolhouse at the OHScampus at 60 Towner Lane. The work being done bySinopoli Construction Company is underway.Once the roughly 20 by 30 foot hole is dug, the con-crete forms will be set up and the pour done. Bolts, pipes,gravel for drains and finish work will make the basementready to receive the historic building after its trip fromRoute 67, two miles away. While this is being completed, historic restoration car-penter Eric Iott of Seymour is spending time in earlySeptember removing the schoolhouse's roof shingles.His work includes tagging the sheathing, rafters, etc.before removing the second floor loft. Additionally morethan 30 feet of wooden sill will be replaced. The next stage of prepping the wood frame buildingfor actual transport includes tarping the roof and remov-ing windows and doors to board-up the exterior walls.Then flooring will be removed and temporary floor joistsand plywood put in to brace the base of the schoolhouse. Eric Iott examines the schoolmaster’s desk, stillattached to the schoolhouse wall. . This stage was underwritten by a recent grant fromthe Valley Community Foundation serving the lowerNaugatuck Valley from its offices in Derby. The final step of loading the little wooden buildingonto a truck and trundling it along Oxford Road andthen down Towner Lane will be accomplished byNicholas Brothers. Using cribbing, steel girders anddollies with their prime mover, they will pick up thebuilding from its base on the Sears property and loadit onto a trailer. After a short trip to its new location, the trailer willbe backed across the lawn in the back yard of theTwitchell Rowland Homestead and slowly lowered ontothe new foundation and basement walls. OHS is grateful to the Town of Oxford for fundingthe actual move by the Nicholas Brothers with a Com-munity Support grant. After coordinating with the CT DOT, the final movedate will be set. For now it appears late September orearly October are the target dates! Watch the Society'swebsite and Facebook page as time gets closer forfurther information..
image/svg+xmlRiggs Street School a Profile in History Originally a one-room schoolhouse built on the eastside of Riggs Street just south of Jack’s Hill Road,this school became so crowded with students thatthe teacher had to leave by the front door and re-turn by the back door to help students seated atthe back of the room. Eventually a second roomwas added.Oxford Historical Society President Louise NybergBurr entered Riggs Street School when she wasnearly seven. Her mother had been a teacher andtaught Louise the alphabet and numbers so shestarted school already knowing how to read andwrite. That meant she was included with the sec-ond graders, as she was the only first grader thatyear. She was elated to have other children to playwith for the first time. They played baseball, hopscotch and jumped rope in the middle of the littletraveled road and explored the woods and swampystream near the rear of the school. Birch trees werebent down and kids climbed up them before theysnapped forward, for “a nice ride up and down.”Before they left the schoolhouse at the end of theday, each child had a chore. Once a week theywould elect their job: “erasing the blackboards,putting chalk and erasers in place, sweeping thefloor, emptying wastepaper baskets, sweeping theouthouse floors and replenishing the paper, bring-ing wood in from the woodshed, getting a pail ofwater to fill the crock at the front of the classroom.The teacher oversaw that all was done; there wereno janitors, only us to do the jobs.”The schoolhouse remained in operation until 1944.That year there were only ten students and in Junefour of them graduated leaving Louise’s sisterEleanor as a first grader and only one other stu-dent. So the town closed the school and busedEleanor to Christian Street School until 1947 whenthe consolidated Center School opened. Until re-cently the schoolhouse was a private home locatedat 306 Riggs Street.This article is taken from the Historic Buildings ofOxford Past and Present published by the OxfordHistorical Society in 2017. Copies are for sale atthe Town Clerk’s office in Town Hall and at theTwitchell Rowland Homestead at 60 Towner Lane.It also includes memories of Louise Burr from herfamily book It Was Always Interesting in the collec-tion of the Historical Society. Students walk to the one-rooom schoolhouse whenRiggs street was a dirt road.After serving as a private residence for many years,the Riggs Street School is now a Chiropractic HealthCenter. This PATCH photo shows First SelectmenGeorge Temple and State Rep David Labriola withDr. Brandon Cyr, Sr. family at office opening. 1942. Mrs. E. E. Erwin, teacher
image/svg+xmlRailroad in Oxford a Hit! The July 29 event was attended by over 80 peoplewho were fans of trains and railroads. Former resi-dent Don Woodworth offered an hour long photopresentation that focused on the trains, rails andstations in the Oxford-Danbury-Waterbury area. Don was fascinated as a youngster with the traintracks and engines in the area that were still visibleby the 1960s. He discovered a magazine featuringtrains during a newspaper drive and uncovered atrove of issues he treasured which fed his inter-ests. Don was a regular trekking the rails that wereno longer in use and was thrilled the old track bedswere the basis for the Larkin Trail in northwest Ox-ford. Don’s work has been compiled in a 40 page book-let full of photos and data. The Railroad in Oxford is available at the Oxford Historical Society for $10per copy. Peach Festival a SMASH…. If you missed out on the delicious experience thisyear – be sure to mark your calendar for the fourthSaturday in August, 2020. More than 160 peoplevisited Great Hill United Methodist Church to samplethe tasty peach shortcakes and view this year’sfeature articles and photos. In fact the event wasso popular that the shortcakes and Rich Farmpeach ice cream sold out for the first time ever.The overwhelming response was heartening andhelped add to the funds to support the society’sMunn Schoolhouse project. Lifetime Memberand LongtimeFriend PhilipRowland grew upin the TwitchellRowland Home-stead when it washis family’s home.His twin brother Ed-ward and olderbrother Fred shared bedrooms and chores whenthe house was located a short distance up TownerLane on Christian Street. A sister, Marion, was thedaughter of the family. As an adult, Phil and his wife Loretta were staunchsupporters of the Oxford Historical Society andactively participated in the project to relocate thehouse to its new home and its use as a town mu-seum. The photo history of the move and restora-tion of the house shows Phil and other Rowlandfamily members painting, shoveling, mowing andworking to accomplish the myriad chores that madethe house a home – again. Phil and his wife Lorettavolunteered at the Society Recycling project untilhis health prevented them from doing so. Phil Row-land passed away at the end of August and will bedearly missed. Barbara Rickman was a newfriend of the society, discov-ering the enormous Jensenbarn loom in 2017. When Bar-bara attended a Fiber Festsession and tried out the an-tique room-size loom, she washooked. She had been hop-ing to acquire one and with her family’s help put itin working order. This was only one of the ambi-tious projects undertaken by this enthusiastic craftswoman. Barbara was ready to share anything shehad learned and in 2019 had demonstrated withflax she had grown in her yard the previous sum-mer. The Society constructed a flax brake for herto demonstrate a new craft to curious Fiber Festguests. There was always one more challenge tomeet. Sadly Barbara passed away at the end ofAugust. Her friendly help and wonderful sharing ofher love of traditional crafts will be missed. Friends We Will Miss…. Friends Supporting Us...
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