The Eagleville Schoolhouse and Trust headquarters in Mansfield, CT
photo courtesy of Madge Manfred
In 1837 a petition was filed by citizens of the first school district in the Second Society of the Town of Mansfield to establish the Eagle Factory School District. The factory owner gave the newly organized school district the northeast corner of what is now the intersection of Routes 275 and 32. A schoolhouse was built here in the summer of 1837 and the first teacher was hired for $10.00 to teach an eight week term.
By 1869 the school had become inadequate and was replaced by a new building at a cost of $1,382.50. During the Christmas recess of 1912-13 the school was enlarged to include a second room, thus forming the structure which has occupied the site to the present day. The school was always an elementary school, sometimes including eight grades and sometimes only three or four. During some periods the school occupied only half the building, the other part being used as a Congregational Church. Classes were taught in this building until its closure in 1952 when the Annie E. Vinton School was built
The Eagleville School remained closed until 1962 when the Mansfield Historical Society was given permission by the Town of Mansfield to refurbish the building and use it as a museum. This use continued until June of 1980 when the Town Office Building on Spring Hill was vacated and the Historical Society moved to that location.
For the next decade the Town used the building for storage and during these years its interior deteriorated badly. The Eagleville School is Mansfield's only remaining early schoolhouse and therefore is a valuable historic asset. (There are a number of former one or two room schoolhouses still standing but they have all been extensively remodeled and turned into dwellings.) By 1990 Joshua's Tract Conservation and Historic Trust had acquired over thirty tracts of land and its office needs were growing rapidly. The Trust's governing board met in the cramped Windham Regional Planning Agency offices in Willimantic but many of its records were widely scattered through members' residences. The search for a better office and headquarters focused on the Eagleville Schoolhouse.
in 1992 the Trust negotiated a 30-year lease. The Town would maintain the building's exterior and grounds and would give rent-free occupancy for the first five years with a modestly escalating rental fee for the next quarter century. The Trust spent from its own funds to renovate the interior. The reconstruction was carefully planned to provide modern facilities within the structure while maintaining its historical integrity to a remarkable degree. The west section once occupied by the church became a large office and hallway. The eastern half serves as the location for meetings of the Board of Trustees and for other functions. The first Board meeting took place on September 9, 1993.
Based in part on a JT Newsletter article written by Town Historian Roberta K. Smith.
More About the Schoolhouse:
Joshua's Trust office hours and location of old Mansfield Eagleville Schoolhouse.
Mansfield Historical Society webpage