Category Archives: Project

Canterbury Cemetery Mapping Project

Josiah Manning-style headstone
Headstone in the style of local carver Josiah Manning

The Canterbury Historical Society is fortunate to have the services and expertise of Mike Sheehan on our cemetery mapping project. Mike is retired from the Army Corps of Engineers, where he was a biologist and wetland and soils scientist. He traces his interest in cartography to his time as an infantry officer in Vietnam, and later to his self-described lingering “wetlands geek” period. He is generously donating his efforts for our cemetery mapping project.

This project came about in response to the many inquiries received by the Canterbury Historical Society, Canterbury Public Library, and Canterbury town clerk’s office relating to cemetery locations. Most of these questions come from folks seeking to locate the burial sites of their ancestors.

We are attempting to map the precise locations of Canterbury’s historic burying grounds, including the alternative names some have been known by, and to overlay the locations on a modern road map of Canterbury. In an effort to ensure that visitors do not unknowingly enter private property without prior permission of the landowners, we will note that some burying grounds are on, or abut, private property.

The timing of this project is crucial, given that some of our early burying grounds are becoming overgrown with vegetation and therefore disappearing from sight. In some cases, the locations of cemeteries mentioned in historical sources are now unknown, and we hope to change that. We intend to post the map(s) that result from this project on the Canterbury Historical Society’s website in electronic format; to place hard copies in the Canterbury Public Library, the town clerk’s office, and the land use office for public access; and to communicate all new information and corrections to the State of Connecticut for inclusion in its state-wide cemetery archives.

Green (Centre) Schoolhouse Restoration, Slideshow & Overview

The Green (Centre) District Schoolhouse on Canterbury green is the last one-room district school in town that is open to the public. After the Dr. Helen Baldwin School opened in 1947, most of the town’s remaining one-room schools passed to other uses or were lost. However, to alleviate baby boom overcrowding at the Dr. Helen Baldwin School, the Green School was used for some kindergarten classes into the mid 1950s.

The building later housed the town’s library, until in 2001 the library moved to the new municipal building off Route 14. The Green School has never had indoor plumbing, and by 2001, the Canterbury Public Library was one of the last in the state without bathroom facilities. The short road off Route 169 leading to the Green School is still named Library Road.

A volunteer committee of the Canterbury Historical Society began restoring the Green School in 2002, and their work, other than ongoing maintenance, is now complete. Major aspects of the restoration included:

  • A new roof
  • Electrical upgrades
  • Restoring the second front door, which had been replaced with a window. (Two front doors are typical—one entrance was for girls, the other for boys.)
  • Restoring the large granite steps to the two front doors
  • Stabilizing the bell tower, which still holds its original, functional bell
  • Removing the drop ceiling to expose the old wooden ceiling
  • Rehanging the old electric globe ceiling lights, found stored in the attic
  • Returning the windows on the north and south sides to their 19th century configurations. (All the windows on the south side had been removed, and those on the north side had been enlarged.)
  • Repairing old plaster where possible, and applying new lath and plaster where required
  • Replicating lost interior wood trim
  • Rebuilding the brick chimney and installing a period stove (which came from another one-room school in the area)
  • Removing layers of added flooring and adhesive to expose the original wood floor
  • Painting the interior and exterior
  • Collecting appropriate furnishings and classroom accessories

Thousands of volunteer hours later, the building is looking good and period-correct on the outside. Although it dates to the 19th century, the society interprets it as an early 20th century district school. This decision hinged on the fact that we have more primary sources from the later period, particularly for the interior, including the living memory of alumni and teachers.

The society is very grateful for the generosity and commitment of past and present volunteers and donors, without whom the Green School restoration would not have been possible.

Naturally, the building requires ongoing maintenance. Current Green School Committee members are:

Steve Orlomoski, Chairperson
Val Galasyn
Bill Kivic
Ray Moffitt
Alton Orlomoski

The Green district school is open in warm weather on a regular weekend schedule that is published on this website and announced to the media. In addition, whenever possible, we try to accommodate in-season special requests from visitors. You can make a special request to visit the school by sending a message using the Contact Us page on this website. Admission to the schoolhouse is always free and the public is cordially invited.