West Branch Schoolhouse - District 2
In 1878, H. A. Thomas donated 9 square rods of land for the second schoolhouse in District 2, known as West Branch. The earlier building was moved southwest about 50 feet and used as a home for more than 100 years. For 76 years, the West branch school was a community center as well as a school that was attended by scholars between the ages of 4 and 16 for two sessions of 12 weeks each. In 1954 it was one of the last five schools to close due to the consolidation into the then brand new elementary school (at its current location in the village). From then until 2006, it was the home of St. Johns in the Mountains Episcopal parish. With the donation of the building to the Historical Society, community fundraising, and municipal capital, the schoolhouse was moved to 90 School Street and placed on a new foundation to create the permanent home to the Stowe Historical Society and Museum. The Society was formerly housed, since it charter in 1956, in the Akeley Memorial Building on Main Street.
Click here to see photos of the two-phase move of the building to is present location.
A Poem: West Branch School
To my dear friend and schoolmate, Mrs. Lydia Pike Sargent:
Do you remember when we first met, long, long ago
In the schoolhouse on the "Branch"
Where the mark we had to toe?
We were pupils, you and I
With some twenty five or thirty more,
Oh happy days, happy days.
Are there more laid up in store?
Our teacher, one Robinson by name,
We thought him wondrous wise;
If he were here on earth to-day
We'd laud him to the skies.
'Twas in eighteen fifty five,
The fall we were sixteen
We knew more than we have since
With all the years between.
Can you recall them one by one
Those pupils with honor bright?
I will try what I can do
With you to set me right.
The McAllisters, Martha, Mary and Gilman;
Another family of that name with a George and Sylvester;
There was a girl came from there-
Hardly think she was their sister.
(Afterwards Mrs. Emma Brown of Waterbury)
Then the Bigelows, Edwin, Ira and Walter,
Then a Slayton we called "Cate",
Corrie and Carroll Robinson-
Lucky then none knew their fate.
There were the Pike boys, George and "Dikte",
And another cousin of yours, her name I cannot recall,
She left this life after a few short years-
Oh, how it grieved us all.
Lucinda and Kimber Barnes,
Stoddard Nutting and Richard Mower,
Augusta Marshall and a Foster girl (Janet?)
Sylvander, Seneca, Harrison and Ahira Poor,
Gertrude and Georgiana Luce;
George Dake, from where I cannot recall,
Olive Handy and yourself and your humble servant-
How many can answer that roll call?
But we'll meet them by and by
In their homes "Over there"
Where separations are no more,
And we are free from fret and care.
In just fourteen days more
Unless the lord calls a halt,
I'll be eighty years old
And I cannot earn my salt,
But I'm left here on earth,
It must be for a purpose true:
Now dear friend and schoolmate
Sera Thompson Judson, Stowe, VT.
November 12, 1919