Chesterfield NH Historical Society
Chesterfield NH Historical Society

1951 - A New School

(From 19 to 3 to 1)

Local schooling has been the backbone of Chesterfield educational system. The first mention of school funding appeared 1767. By 1787, nineteen wards (districts) were established. In 1911, after much rearranging, it was decided only three would be efficient, Chesterfield Center, Spofford, and West Chesterfield. However, in the 1940s it became apparent that one consolidated school would solve an increasing space problem, give the students “better advantages”, and consequentially increase property values. How to fund this visionary project was an issue but where to put it was far more contentious.  After years of bickering, Chesterfield Center won.

 

Group of students in front of school First 8th Grade Class

Central School, now Chesterfield School, was opened in 1951, financed through sales of the numerous previous school buildings and a twenty-year $75,000 bond. Upon opening, it served 174 students in grades 1-8.

 

How did the students felt about leaving their "beloved" local schoolhouse? Dick Chickering a 7th grader, who had attended West Chesterfield School, wrote this enlightening 1951 essay:

Why I like the New School

"There are many reasons why I like the new school. I like the new lights because they give off more light than the old ones. The rooms are also larger with the larger windows that supply more light, and there are green blackboards that are easier on the eyes. The rooms are much warmer now and it is better with a teacher to nearly every grade. I think the telephone is handy, because if someone gets sick or hurt, they don’t have to go a half mile to a telephone to call up their parents. The auditorium and stages are great too. The auditorium provides both a place to play and eat and the stage provides a place for plays and other entertainment. The flush toilets are far better than what we used to have, especially now that we have sinks and mirrors in each lavatory. The sinks in each room are also handy to have, because we don’t have to go out of the room during schooltime to wash our hands. The water is better now that we have fresh well water instead of the stale, hot, tank water. The kitchen and food are both excellent with a cook like Mrs. Copper. The playground is bigger than it was in West Chesterfield. Those are the reasons why I like the new school."

Below are some pictures of Chesterfield's rural one or two room schoolhouse

Printable form of this Bit of History
1951 A New Consolidated School.pdf
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