Colchester celebrates anniversary of opening museum in old Log Schoolhouse

Published: Aug. 15, 2022 at 5:06 PM EDT
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COLCHESTER, Vt. (WCAX) - The Colchester Historical Society is celebrating this month. August marks 15 years since the old Log Schoolhouse in Colchester opened to the public as a museum and visitor center.

The sights and sounds of history are alive and well in Colchester’s Airport Park. That’s where the Log Schoolhouse has been resting for the past 15 years.

“At one point held 44 little students. Students being all the way from kindergarten to fourth year in high school,” said Tom Mulcahy of the Colchester Historical Society.

Now settled in and fully restored, the 24-by-28-foot building acts as a museum and visitor center for people biking the Causeway.

The building is made of 7-inch square logs and was one of 14 schoolhouses spread throughout town, each no more than 2 miles apart.

The 1815 schoolhouse has undergone quite an adventure, closing in 1927 and later being found inside a home on Spaulding East Shore Road.

“When they took the house apart, they found this inside and asked the historical society if they would like to restore it,” Mulcahy said.

It took a 4-mile trek down the road to Airport Park from its storage spot behind the police station in 2007. And they tried to keep it as close to the original as possible.

“The wainscoting that you see, the plaster that’s on the walls and the floorboard are the floorboards that were here when that happened,” Mulcahy said.

“The paint color, that blows me away. How did they ever research the right paint color? That’s wild,” said Emily Gennari, a volunteer at the visitors center.

Nowadays, there are no students except for field trips.

“The kids come in, they don’t understand about inkwells, they love the bonnets,” Gennari said.

During the open season, which runs from Memorial Day through Labor Day, the visitors center is staffed with volunteers like 84-year-old Gennari.

She’s been here since the beginning and says she has a lot of fun here, pointing out the little funny things you don’t see anymore.

“There are 31 numbers and nobody knows why there are 31 numbers until they really think about it and look at the red hand which is pointing to the day of the month,” Gennari said.

Little things like that are what make this schoolhouse a special part of Vermont’s history.

“It’s one of a kind, and it’s also something that people won’t see today unless they come here to visit,” Mulcahy said.

The Log Schoolhouse is open Friday through Monday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is free.

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