Way Back When 1899
Published 12:00 am, Saturday, June 3, 2017
The school year is winding down, and local students are eager for summer to arrive. This photo shows students in the Old Academy schoolhouse in Fairfield way back in 1899.
Fairfield’s Old Academy was a school founded in 1802 by a group of prominent local citizens. The schoolhouse itself was erected on the Old Post Road in Fairfield and opened in 1804. The original academy was in existence until the late 1800s. The building then served several purposes over the years, being used by a nearby private school and as a library and place for meetings.
In 1920, the Old Academy was faced with demolition but the Eunice Dennie Burr Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Fairfield Historical Society joined to save and restore the building, which was moved to the town green in 1958. Today the Old Academy is owned by the Town of Fairfield and still used by the DAR.
In 2014 the local DAR rededicated the school to mark the 210th anniversary of the academy and the 375th anniversary of the town of Fairfield. The renovation and preservation project took almost two years and included painting walls in colonial colors, updating the kitchen and outfitting it with new equipment, reframing photographs, and refurbishing the second-floor classroom. Displays of historic school photographs and records were updated, and a library corner of new and old books was set up in tribute to Fairfield's first library, which was located in the academy.
Opened to visitors several days a year, the building contains historical artifacts and the second floor is maintained as a replica of the old schoolroom. The current Fairfield Museum brings offers educational programs during school field trips that include visits to the Old Academy.
The Fairfield Museum and History Center is located at 370 Beach Road. Learn more about the history and culture of Fairfield, view rotating exhibitions and purchase Fairfield-themed gifts at the Museum Shop. Open Daily 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information visit Fairfieldhistory.org or call (203) 259-1598.