Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Little Red Schoolhouse, Storrowton Village, West Springfield, Mass.

Little Red Schoolhouse (c1940)
 Built by John and Salmon White around 1810 from bricks produced at Thomas Craft's local brickyard, the Little Red Schoolhouse served as one of  the town of Whately's centers of learning for more than a century.

In 1930, the structure, dismantled and moved to the Exposition Fairgrounds in West Springfield, was reconstructed as part of Mrs. Helen Storrow's idyllic vision of a typical New England hamlet embodied in her philanthropic project known as Storrowton Village.

Today, Storrowton Village is a popular attraction for locals and tourists alike, and is a perennial favorite for visitors to the annual Eastern States Exposition, held in late September/early October.

"Plans and elevations"

While one can imagine the belfry bell's peal for the attention of Whately children come the autumn of the year, the tower was actually added to the structure during its 1930 rebuild. The change was ordered to effect a closer resemblance to a schoolhouse in the Vermont town of Vergennes, said to be the model Mrs. Storrow strived to replicate in her Storrowton Village.

"Exterior and main entrance details"

The 20' x 24' Little Red Schoolhouse, also known as the North Center School after the district of Whately it served, had a capacity of a dozen pupils with a small teacher's room on the second floor.

Early on in the town's education history, a few decades before the Little Red Schoolhouse was built, classes were held in the summer, presumably to negate the expense of providing fuel for warmth in the winter. Indeed, the first schoolhouses in town were built sans fireplaces.

"Interior elevations and details"

As well as boasting a centrally-placed stove for warmth, the cutting edge technology of the North Center School included wrap-around blackboards and chalk rails.

A visit to the school at Storrowton Village brings one face-to-face with the original plaster-on-wood slates five generations of scholars took their lessons from. Carvings in the wooden seats and desktops attest to the human penchant for marking the fact of their existence for the successive waves sure to follow in their footsteps.

In the Little Red Schoolhouse, it is plausible that the same seats vacated by the last class to graduate were once occupied by those same students' great-great grandparents.

To plan a visit to Storrowton Village in West Springfield, head over to:

For dates, hours and information on the annual fall fair at the Eastern States Exposition (the Big E) visit:

And here are links to a couple of previous EWM posts on the Exposition and Storrowton Village:

The Captain John Potter House, Storrowton Village, West Springfield, Massachusetts

Photos: The Eastern States Exposition, West Springfield, Mass., September, 1936

More fairs and festivals in Western Massachusetts.

As always, thanks for stopping by and take care.

Image source: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Buildings Survey, Call Number: HABS MASS,7-SPRIFW,8;

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CSousa said...

Hello! Very interesting article. Do you happen to have the rest of the drawings? I would love to have them!

All the best,


Mark T. Alamed said...


Here is the link to the set of drawings, digitized at the Library of Congress website: