68. Cooley School Museum

Too Cooley For Schooley
(Google Maps Location)
July 27, 2008

mq68d.jpgGranby, Connecticut. Famous for… err… Famous for my friends Lisa and Tim? Famous for being the town bordering the Southwick Jog? Yeah, I guess. (Though the wonderful Cambridge Brewhouse is in town which cannot go unmentioned.) Granby is also home to the Coolest Tree in the state, if not the world.

Another great feature of the rural northern town is, of course, the Salmon Brook Historical Society’s enclave of museum buildings. There are four such buildings gathered together here, though not all began life at this location. One such building is the original Cooley Schoolhouse.

Cool! (ey.)

ctmq68g.jpegIt’s not open for tours to galoot’s like me, but really only for the annual kids’ field trips. Even though I had just spent a good deal of time with the President of the local historical society (Charlie Dickson, here to the right), I was not granted access. Undaunted, I peered into the windows and even touched the building itself.

The coolest part about the schoolhouse today is that the outhouse is in it’s original location relative to the school. Looking north at its original location, one would see the school, the stone obelisk demarcating the Massachusetts border, and then the outhouse. I can only think that this was Granby’s thoughts about losing the square acreage of the Southwick Jog to the Bay State – that is, “We do our business on you, Massachusetts!” Jerks.

(We’ll learn more about this mysterious notch on Connecticut’s northern border in the future.)


Here’s what the SBHS website (which is where I took the below picture from as well) says about the school:

The Cooley School is the only remaining one-room schoolhouse in Granby which has not been renovated into a home or shop. It was built c.1870, on the corner of East Street and Cooley Road in North Granby. At that location, the school and woodshed were in Granby, while the outhouse was in Southwick, Massachusetts.

After 1948, when the one-room schools in Granby were closed, the original furniture was auctioned off. The blackboard, however, remained intact, with some of the last teacher’s writing still on it.

mq68e.jpgIn 1972, the school was given to the Salmon Brook Historical Society by Merrill Clark, whose mother had taught at the school. In 1980, the Society moved the school to its present location at 208 Salmon Brook Street.

A 19th century schoolroom has been recreated, with a wood stove, water bucket and dipper (shared by all), an 1855 Connecticut map, and the mandatory picture of George Washington, as well as books and desks once used in Granby District Schools.
Visiting school children once again sit at the much-used desks (complete with carved initials), open the readers and geography books, and write on the waiting slates.

Once I was done with the other three buildings (The Colton-Hayes Tobacco Barn, The Abijah Rowe House, and the Weed-Enders House), we (my family, Tim, Lisa, and her three daughters) looked towards the angry sky and hit the road. While this picture looks like any other of impending rain, I can report that all of us noted that the clouds were moving in a circular fashion towards the northwest. It was, quite honestly, rather creepy.


So creepy that it made Damian’s hair stand up!


Okay, that picture was taken on a different day in a different town, but I wanted to work it in somehow. Because when Damian is old enough to go to school, something tells me he’ll want to rock a mo – or possibly faux – hawk at some point. That’s how the boy rolls.


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Cost: $2.00 donation to tour all the buildings
Hours: Sundays June-September, 2-4PM
Food & Drink? No question – The Cambridge House
Children? Yes, but don’t dawdle
You’ll like it if: You don’t like to actually go INTO museums
You won’t like it if: You simply must see another old schoolhouse
Freebies: None


For the Curious:

Salmon Brook Historical Society
Southwick Jog
The very real 1979 nearby tornado!

3 responses to “68. Cooley School Museum”

  1. danana says:

    Well, that was a nice little adventure – I started out at the school house, visiting the town I used to visit as a kid – my aunt and uncle had a nice little house in Granby, with a fence, a big back yard and everything. I still have fond memories! As I read, I had to venture over to the Coolest Tree, from which I had to detour onto the Pinchot and the Linn-Baker Trees (a good laugh there, my husband is still wondering what that was all about), then circle back to the school house. After reading this and some of your other entries, I get the idea that it’s time to plan another trip to CT…

  2. honeybunny says:

    Damian knows how to “strike a pose.”


  3. Carol Laun, Curator/Archivist says:

    The Cooley School is a part of our tours (not just limited to the visit of Granby’s second graders). The admission fee is now $2 to tour the Abijah Rowe house, Weed-Enders house and Cooley School and $2 to tour the Colton-Hayes Tobacco Barn and the new Preservation Barn.

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