The Branchville Schoolhouse Restoration Project
Save Our Schoolhouse (SOS): The Branchville Schoolhouse Restoration Project
The Branchville Schoolhouse is a cherished landmark in our community. This historic building, located on Old Branchville Road in Ridgefield, has stood as a testament to our town’s history since its construction over one hundred and fifty years ago, circa 1872. Today, it is in need of our collective attention and care to ensure its preservation.
The Branchville Schoolhouse is not just any building; it is one of two remaining intact one-room schoolhouses in original condition in our town. It holds a special place in our hearts and serves as a tangible connection to our past. However, the ravages of time have taken a toll on this beloved building, and urgent restoration is required to safeguard its historical significance and prevent further deterioration.
The Ridgefield Historical Society, in partnership with the Town of Ridgefield, would like to see the Branchville Schoolhouse preserved. Our vision includes a multi-year lease agreement with the Town of Ridgefield, during which the Historical Society will oversee the restoration of the building. Our goal is to secure the schoolhouse’s place in the future, ensuring it benefits our community for generations to come.
The restoration and fundraising process is expected to span approximately five years. The Historical Society will lead fundraising efforts in collaboration with community groups and key individuals. Experienced contractors and architects with an understanding of historical preservation and adaptive reuse will carry out the restoration work, closely guided by the Ridgefield Historical Society to preserve the building’s historical integrity.
The restoration project will encompass both the exterior and interior, focusing on repairing and restoring the roof, cupola, siding, windows, and doors. The interior will be renovated to serve as a museum documenting Ridgefield’s history and the generations of Ridgefield families who attended school there, as well as a community meeting space.
The restoration of the Branchville Schoolhouse will achieve several objectives:
Preservation of History: It will help safeguard our town’s rich history, ensuring it is preserved for future generations.
Community Engagement: The restored schoolhouse will become a space for exhibits, meetings, and educational programs that enrich our community.
Economic Benefits: Visitors will boost our local economy and support small businesses in line with the Town’s goals.
The first crucial step in this process is to raise $5,000 to hire a historic preservation specialist to list the schoolhouse on the Connecticut State Register of Historic Places. This is imperative for the long-term preservation of the building and will then enable us to apply for additional grants from the CT State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) to support the restoration. Only buildings still in their original location and listed on the State Register are eligible for SHPO grants.
How You Can Help
Please make a tax-deductible donation to support this project.
- Online here (below).
- Mail a check made out to the Ridgefield Historical Society with “Branchville Schoolhouse Restoration” written in the memo to: Ridgefield Historical Society, 4 Sunset Lane, Ridgefield, CT 06877.
Thank you for your support! Together, we can make a significant difference in preserving this important piece of our town’s history.