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. 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 the project has now been completed. Major aspects of the project 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.)
- Stabilizing the bell tower, which still holds its original bell
- Removing the drop ceiling to expose the old wooden ceiling
- Rehanging the old 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.)
- Applying new lath and plaster where required, and repairing old plaster where possible
- 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 exterior
- Collecting appropriate furnishings and classroom accessories
Thousands of volunteer hours later, the project finally was finished. Although the building 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, including photographs and living 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 still requires ongoing maintenance. Current Green School Committee members include:
Steve Orlomoski, Chairperson
The Green District Schoolhouse is open during warm weather on a regular schedule that is published on this website and posted outside the building. In addition, whenever possible we try to accommodate special requests in season to visit the school. For special requests, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.