Monday, September 8, 2014
While running an errand in Waterford not long ago, I confused Parkway North with Parkway South (if you know Waterford, you will now either nod knowingly or laugh at me) and had to turn around at the dead end by the Wal-mart. As I was doing this I noticed a sad-looking little brick building that I instantly knew was a historic schoolhouse. And yet I'd spent years researching and writing about Waterford history (as well as driving down strange dead ends all over town) and this was a schoolhouse I'd never encountered. All because I try as hard as possible to avoid shopping at Wal-mart, I never realized that the old Gilead Schoolhouse was sitting there on Parkway North all this time.
But later, while I was reading about the Gilead Schoolhouse (Gilead was a section of town named for its situation "beyond Jordan," another Waterford village), I found something even better. Though most of Gilead disappeared as the area was developed (got to have a Wal-mart, right?) one lost building was not torn down. It was disassembled, driven 30 miles away, and put back together.
This was the Gilead Chapel, the Carpenter Gothic confection above, which was moved to Johnsonville in East Haddam in 1969.
Anyway, when I went to look at the chapel I got a surprise, in the form of a matching schoolhouse across the lawn.
à la Cannondale, park à la Boothe Memorial, the list goes on. Personally I vote for subsidized housing for writers, but that's just me...
For anyone curious about Johnsonville, here are some links I accumulated while writing this post:
Johnsonville on Damned CT.
A Johnsonville virtual tour.
A look inside the buildings from the questionable reality show Abandoned, Part 1 and Part 2 and Part 3 (4:00 - wait, whaaaat?!)
A nice glimpse at Connecticut in the 1880s, with an appearance by East Haddam's mills, from the Connecticut Historical Society.
Memories of Johnsonville in the Courant.
A brief look at the Twine Capital of America on YouTube.