The Woonsocket Call
New home, new duties for former schoolhouse
GLOCESTER -- Almost three years after it was moved by truck from a muddy farmer's field to its new home behind the Town Hall, town officials and residents Saturday officially dedicated the newly restored historic one-room Evans Schoolhouse and its new role as a museum.
Residents and town and state officials attended the ceremony at the school, located in a small field adjacent to the municipal parking lot in back of the Town Hall.
The Evans Schoolhouse graduated its last class in 1936, and has been empty and unused for the past 67 years.
The Glocester Heritage Society spent more than two years working behind the scenes to relocate the school in an effort to preserve the historic structure. The society and the Glocester School Committee, which owns the parcel in back of Town Hall, signed a covenant that granted the society license to move the structure. The move took place in August 2001.
The society has renovated the building and turned it into a museum for educational and public purposes, with an emphasis on education during that period.
The house has a new roof, custom-made windows, new paint, new flagpole and crushed stone making up a new pathway. The landscaping is still ongoing, and officials are awaiting the arrival of authentic furniture and a potbelly stove.
"It's mostly all done and looks fabulous," said Glocester Heritage Society member Dorothy Leach.
The schoolhouse was built more than 100 years ago by Daniel Evans on property he owned. Marcus and Barbara Thompson currently own the Daniel Evans Farm property, which they bought in 1952. The Thompsons had the schoolhouse moved from its original location to a nearby field a few years ago. From there, the 28 1/2-by-18 1/2-foot house -- minus the roof-- was moved by flatbed truck to its new home behind the Town Hall, a 3.7-mile trek.
The new foundation for the schoolhouse was excavated by Phillip Laiho, concrete for the foundation was donated by Bonds Concrete, and P&R Forms did the form work. Kevin Johnson constructed the foundation floor.
Carpenter Frank Anderson constructed the new roof. The society had the old roof, which was rotted, removed so that the building could pass beneath the utility wires while en route to Chepachet.
The Glocester Heritage Society obtained a $30,000 grant from the Gregson Foundation to pay for the work.
The schoolhouse will be open to the public on special occasions, such as the Fourth of July, Heritage Day and other holidays and town events, and for special programs throughout the year.
©The Call 2003