Historic Structures

Old Academy, Fairhaven Massachusetts

Date added: November 25, 2009 Categories: Massachusetts School Federal Style

A group of citizens built this academy, it is now in the possession of the Town of Fairhaven. It's an early four-room school building with a frontispiece entrance and bell tower; in spite of alterations inside, a typical classroom is preserved.

The right-hand room of the main floor appears to be preserved or perhaps restored; in an early form. The left-hand room has had a thin partition inserted in modern times. It appears probable that the second floor underwent alterations, the nature of which are not clear.

About 1906 the building was moved from its former site--now a dividing strip in a public highway--to the present one. It is said to have been moved intact.

The structure is rectangular, 50'-10" Ilong (five bays) by 24'-10 1/2'' deep, with a projecting tower on the rear 8'-11" wide by 7'-5" in depth. It now faces south, and is two stories high. The walls are constructed of heavy timber frame, sheathed and shingled. The tower has 6" x 7" corner posts, a 6'' x 8" girt, 3" x 4" studs, and wide sheathing boards of random width. Corners are braced. Gables at the ends are covered with flush boarding.

The interior has a Central entrance and hall, with one classroom at either side (the one on the left now divided by a very light modern partition). The tower projection continues the hall toward the rear, and contains a stairway of U-shape, with three short flights.

Second floor has one smaller room, at the left end, and a larger room over the hall and right end; this may or may not have been the original layout.

The flooring in right-hand classroom on first floor are preserved very wide floor boards, to to 20'', These appear original. The floor of this room is terraced to elevate the successive rows of desks. On the second floor are some wide boards, but most of the flooring appears to be old replacements, of various times. Some wrought nails are visible.

Heating was supplied originally by four fireplaces, some now blocked up. There is a sheet metal fire frame of undetermined date in the small second story room. The typical classroom on the first floor contains a stove. Modern central heating from a furnace has been added. It is said that when the building was moved in 1906; the fireplaces and chimneys were kept intact.