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.
29 Main St
East Haddam, CT 06423
June 3 – Labor Day Sept 4
Fri – Sun Noon – 4 PM
After Labor Day – Sept 30
Sat – Sun Noon – 4 PM