Category Archives: Project

Canterbury Cemetery Mapping Project

This project, which took a number of years to complete, arose in response to numerous inquiries received by the Canterbury Historical Society, Canterbury Public Library, and other municipal offices about the locations of burying grounds in town. Most such questions come from people trying to locate the grave sites of their ancestors, in some cases going back 300 years or more.

The scope of the project, completed in January 2018,  was to pinpoint and document graveyard locations, not individual headstones. The timing of our effort was critical, given that some of our early burying grounds—particularly the smallest ones—are becoming overgrown with vegetation and therefore disappearing from sight. As a future enhancement, we hope to link to the photographs being taken systematically by a Canterbury resident of all the headstones in town cemeteries.

The Canterbury Historical Society has been fortunate to have the services and expertise of Mike Sheehan throughout the mapping undertaking. 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 generously donated his efforts for our cemetery mapping venture.

Edited map resized
Click the map to enlarge it and view details

One of the project’s main outputs is a map of known Canterbury burying grounds overlaid on a modern road map of town, with a table of precise, corrected GPS coordinates for the burying grounds. Click on the thumbnail at right to open the new map. Once open, depending on your software and settings, you should be able to zoom in and out on the image.

Earlier maps had shown only approximate locations, as well as fewer burying grounds than we’ve been able to document. During the project, we discovered the locations of three that were previously unknown, leaving three others (Perry, Herrington-Stevens, and North Parish, noted in red on the map) for which we couldn’t confirm locations.

Using GPS technology, we were also able to correct the locations of virtually all previously documented sites. We provided the corrected and new location data to the Canterbury Land Use Office for submission to the state. Apparently state processes stipulate that the town land use office is charged with communicating all new information and corrections to the State of Connecticut for inclusion in its state-wide cemetery archives.

Large format hard copies of the new map are now available for public access during normal business hours in the Canterbury Town Hall at the:

  • Canterbury Public Library
  • Town Clerk’s Office
  • Land Use Office
  • First Selectman’s Office
  • Assessor’s Office

The corrected map is now also linked electronically on the map page of the town’s official website.

In an effort to ensure that visitors do not unknowingly enter private property without prior permission of the landowners, please notice the following legal language included on the map:

Note that some cemeteries are on private property and others abut private property. It is the sole responsibility of visitors to obtain owner permission before entering private property.

We welcome your suggestions for needed corrections to the map, and if you know of burials that are not included—even if only a single headstone— please let us know at

Josiah Manning-style headstone
Josiah Manning-style headstone

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.