Out & About: Green Mountain Perkins Academy Hosts Annual Meeting, Lecture

  • The Green Mountain Perkins Academy and Historical Association is located in South Woodstock. (Courtesy photograph)

Valley News Calendar Editor
Wednesday, September 05, 2018

South Woodstock — If you’ve driven by the impressive Green Mountain Perkins Academy building in South Woodstock and wanted to look inside, you’ll have a chance on from 2-5 p.m. Saturday during the historical society’s free annual meeting and lecture.

“It is just a lovely building,” said Mark Curran, secretary of the Green Mountain Perkins Academy and Historical Association at 1 Academy Circle. “The workmanship on it is extraordinary. You have to see it to believe it.”

Leslie Askwith, author of Thunderstruck Fiddle: The Remarkable True Story of Charles Morris Cobb and His Hill Farm Community in 1850s Vermont, will give a lecture after the meeting.

The coed academy, a private high school, was started in 1848 and drew pupils from all over New England, New York and even the Midwest.

“It was during an era when public high schools were not mandatory in most communities,” Curran said. “It flourished until the 1890s when public education came in and the only private schools like the Green Mountain Academy that survived were the ones that were extraordinary wealthy.”

But by that point, the academy already had deep roots in the community and there was no doubt about preserving the building.

The couple hundred students who attended the school at any given time lived in area homes and what is now the Kedron Valley Inn, which used to be owned by the academy.

“The people in the community so loved the building that they kept using it as a community center,” Curran said. In the 1960s it became the home of the historical association and contains artifacts from both the community and the academy.

The major classroom still has the original desks and the platform that the teacher would stand on.

“The sloped floor allows everybody to be seen and to see the instructor, but more importantly for the instructor to see all the students in the room,” Curran said. “Each room has stories associated with it.”

The academy has a small endowment that, combined with fundraising efforts, allows for the upkeep of the building and the programs that the historical society hosts.

“It’s well cared for,” Curran said. “People love it. It’s a center of a community.”

Editor’s note: For more information about the Green Mountain Perkins Academy and Historical Association, visit greenmountainperkinsacademy.org. Liz Sauchelli can be reached at esauchelli@vnews.com or 603-727-3221.