What is left of the West Schoolhouse site. By 1879 Montgomery boasted five schools. There was the Corner School at the corner of Pitcher Street, Pitcher Street School, which was further down Pitcher Street, the New State School on New State Road, West School on Mountain House Road, and the Clark School on Russell Street.

Being a farming community, Montgomery’s school year was determined by when students were free from the duties of a farm. School would open in late September after the hay and harvest were in. The school-house itself was a simple structure. Square and sturdy, it housed the main school room and a small cloak room. From the back of the building, you could follow a deep path to the privy.

In the center of the school room was the big pot-bellied stove. This was the only source of heat in the winter, and lucky was the student whose desk was close. On frosty mornings when the sleds and sleighs pulled up to the school, the pot-bellied stove was busy at work warming up the room. The children would tumble in with red cheeks and numbed fingers and gather around this old friend until the teacher’s tap sent them to their seats. In rainy weather rows of shoes could be seen drying by the stove. wonderful it was to put cold feet into dry stove-warmed shoes!
In the corner on a low bench was the water bucket and dipper. The floor around the bench was water marked from the careless upsetting of the dipper. The older girls had the rare privilege of fulling the bucket and they guarded this task jealously. In later years the bucket and dipper were considered unsanitary and they were replaced with a large stone jar from which a spigot protruded. A water jar remains to this day in the Corner School, and until recently was in constant use. In 1884, the West School became a thorough failure. The fall term opened with a full number of pupils and ended with less than half the pupils attending. School was closed. For the winter term, a school supported by individuals was held at the Town Hall. This proved highly successful proving that children can learn with the proper guidance. The next year the West School was reopened with more parents cooperating and giving more thought to the importance of school.

The years continued to be struggling years in need of much enlightment. Each school seemed to be a law unto itself. The small number of children at the Russell Street School had a long distance to walk. The parents wished to do away with the winter term. The West School wanted only sixteen weeks of school per year so they would not lose their good teacher who declined to teach more than the sixteen weeks. The New State School would not open when there was illness or bad weather. There was some objection to the closing of the Pitcher Street School when the School Committee deemed it wise to transport the small number of pupils to the Corner School. Many people deplored the closing of a school for whatever the reason. “Footpaths in Montgomery”

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