A Tally of Dorset's Schoolhouses and Districts
In the late 1700s the town of Dorset was divided into 12 school districts to serve neighborhood families (there was no No. 11 or 13). Most of these schools were in use into the 20th century despite attempts to consolidate with the building of three multiroom schoolhouses in the 1870s. All the district schools were discontinued when the Dorset Elementary School opened on Morse Hill Road in 1960.
No. 1: West Road Dorset's first school, 1785. Located on the west side of the Dorset West Road north of Lane Road just south of Gilbert Brook. Closed in 1940. Sold in 1949 for $1150. Private residence.
No. 2: North District (AKA Sykes) - Located at the corner of Route 30 and Paul's Way north of Dorset village. Known to be operating in 1865. Closed in 1948 and sold in 1949 for $2300. Leased and reopened in 1953 to school influx of post-war babies. Closed 1959. Private residence.
No. 3: Dorset Hollow "It stood first [early 1800?] at the east end of the lane which unites the upper and lower [Hollow] roads; then, later, was moved to its present site. which is north about ¼ mile on left before the brook. Operating in 1811 by personal account. Closed in 1948. Sold in 1949 for $1500. Private residence.
No. 4: South Dorset Located on east side of Route 30, north of Morse Hill Road. identified on an 1856 map as a "S.H". Visited by school superintendent, Parsons S. Pratt in 1867. Land and buildings sold to School District # 4 in 1883. Current two story building built c. 1910 after a fire destroyed original schoolhouse (not verified). Closed 1948. Sold for $2,826 in 1952. Now home to Romano Publishing.
No. 5: Morse (AKA Kelley District) Located at the corner of Morse Hill and Overlook Roads. Visited by Pratt in 1867. Closed c. 1920. Sold for $115 in 1931. Private residence.
No. 6: East Dorset Located on land where Town Office is now. District officially organized in 1826, according to District minutes, although a school building was in use prior to 1826. Replaced in 1874 by a two story building with two rooms downstairs; meeting hall/stage above. Closed in 1960. Demolished 1966.
No. 7: Dorset Village Located on land where Post Office is now. First schoolhouse built in 1837 on lands deeded by Cyrus Armstrong to S. D. #7. In 1875 larger school (with two classrooms down, meeting hall, up) replaced first building. 2 classrooms down, meeting hall, up) replaced the first. Upstairs converted to two classrooms in 1948. Closed 1960. Demolished 1962.
No. 8: Dorset Hill (AKA Irish or Quarry District) Located on west side of Dorset Hill Road just past Squirrel Hollow. Built c. 1860. In 1868, Pratt reported 42 scholars out of 70 present. Closed c. 1918. Sold 1929. Now a private camp.
No. 9: Wheelerville District At Junction of Mad Tom and Bowen Hill roads. Visited in 1867 by Pratt. Little else known.
No. 10: Danby Mt Road Schoolhouse existed, but not operating, in 1890s per resident's recollection.
No. 12: North Dorset On Route 7 north of Emerald Lake. Building with a south facing bank of windows is telltale schoolhouse. Only school in Dorset painted red. Operated 1843-1939. Sold for $1500 in 1949. More recent history as a woolens store, an antique shop and now a private residence.
No. 14: South Village Located south end of Benedict Road. Land and building 'now enclosed in the yard as the fence now stands' transferred to School District #12 by quit claim deed in 1853. Closed in 1934. Sold in 1937. Private residence.
Dorset Historical Society
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