The small group of Hurlbutt Street Schoolhouse volunteers dedicated to protecting an invaluable piece of Wilton’s history recently had to act fast to make sure that history didn’t get washed away in the rains.
The schoolhouse structure has stood since being built in 1834, and for 101 years served to educate students in its one-room schoolroom. Today, it serves as a living piece of history and museum, where children from Wilton and surrounding towns visit to see what life was like during Wilton’s early years. The building was designated Wilton’s Fourth Historic District and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Very recently, the building’s 26 year old roof began leaking, and it was determined that the deterioration was significant enough to warrant a total roof replacement.
“It has been a mad scramble to get the roof fixed in a short period of time before more leaks occurred,” explains Linda Schmidt, one of the committee members who oversees the Schoolhouse. All of the artifacts and valuables had to be removed or covered, and the volunteers moved quickly to protect all of the contents of the building.
The roof replacement was completed in June. Hewing to the schoolhouse’s historic roots, it’s a cedar roof, which comes with a much higher price tag–costs for the new roof, replastering part of the ceiling and paying for permits, came close to $12,000.
“We used our funds which we have saved over the last few years for the roof repairs so now we are looking to replenish the maintenance fund for the Schoolhouse. We are not looking for an exact amount–anything will be greatly appreciated,” says volunteer Anne McCann.
“We indeed have paid for the new roof, but as a small not for profit organization, naturally the expense of a cedar roof is costly,” Schmidt explains, adding, “Should anyone or any organization wish to contribute, that would be most appreciated.”
One organization that has already stepped up is the Wilton Kiwanis Club, which approved a Hurlbutt Street Schoolhouse grant application and donated $1,000 towards replacing the money spent on the new roof. “We are just thrilled to be the recipients of such a lovely donation. It really demonstrates such nice generosity on the part of Kiwanis, and it helps us rebuild the coffers so we are prepared for future repairs to preserve our special bit of history for the town of Wilton,” Schmidt says.
Donations are possible on the Schoolhouse’s website.