Address: 29 Main St, Route 149, East Haddam, CT 06423
June 3 – Labor Day September 4
After Labor Day – September 30
Dedication Date: June 6th, 1900
The restored red schoolhouse, located since 1900 atop the hill in back of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, is over 200 years old and served as a school from 1750 to 1799. During these years it was located on the green at the junction of Main Street and Norwich Road in East Haddam. In 1800 it was moved north on Main Street and located just in front of the present Nursery School building, where it remained until 1899 as a private residence for Captain Elijah Attwood and his descendants. On April 26, 1899 Judge Julius Attwood presented the schoolhouse to Colonel Richard Henry Greene of New York, in trust, to be turned over to the Connecticut Sons of the Revolution. On July 26, 1974 the Connecticut Sons of the Revolution deeded the 8 acres and the building to the Connecticut Society of the Sons of the American Revolution who maintain it to this day. It has been authentically furnished by the Daughters of the American Revolution, with desks, tools and tables popular during the mid-seventeen hundreds.
Although there are only meager records of any correspondence by the 18-year old Yale graduate during his brief five month stay in East Haddam as a schoolmaster. Records indicate Nathan Hale was pleased with his position. Although, by today’s standards, School conditions must have been difficult for teacher as well as student – 33 pupils, aged 6 through 18, all attending the one-room schoolhouse from seven in the morning until nine in the evening, with only one free hour at lunchtime.
School was coeducational and Hale was very popular with boys and girls. “He was a happy and faithful teacher, everybody loved him. He was sprightly, kind, intelligent and so handsome.” He was especially skilled in sports, and his prowess at broad jump, high jump, and kicking a football brought him legendary fame at Yale.
Hale complained in a letter to a former college classmate of the “remote life in the wilderness called Moodus”, and he left East Haddam just before spring to take over the Union Grammar School in the “big city” of New London. Had it not been for the growing war clouds and eventual struggle the schoolhouse on the green at Chapman’s Ferry would have been forgotten, as Hale departed with little or no fanfare that winter of 1773. However, the five-month stay and Hale’s eventual martyrdom have reserved the building, the story of his unique life, and the inspiration, which he passed on to the people of this nation.
“I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”
Nathan Hale’s immortal last words on being hanged as a spy by the British in New York on September 22, 1776.