Photo & Map Archives
The Putterham School
Putterham School Museum in present location
Location:Brookline, Massachusetts proudly boasts of owning a school house that is over two hundred years old. It is the Putterham School which was built in 1768 at the juncture of Grove and Newton Streets (1897 atlas). In April of 1966 the school was moved from its original site on Grove Street to its present location at Larz Anderson Park. The actual move and plans for the building's restoration were conducted under the direction of Race Architectural Restoration Enterprises, Inc. (R.A.R.E., Inc.). The Brookline Board of Selectmen and the Brookline Historical Society worked together for several years to accomplish the move. The Historical Society has in its possession a complete photographic and narrative history of the school, prepared for it by R.A.R.E., Inc.
Larz Anderson Park
Open for Tours:
12:00 PM to 3:00 PM
2nd & 4th Sundays of the month
June - October
The building, after being moved, was reset on a solid fieldstone foundation. Antique glass was found for the windows. Some structural repairs were made where deterioration and erosion made the building unsafe. The shade of red used to paint the exterior conforms to the color applied originally as revealed by paint scrapings.
Since its original construction in 1768, the school has been altered frequently, showing various styles and techniques in construction used during the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries. The original one-room school house was enlarged in 1840 by an addition to the rear. In 1847 a shed was built for storing coal or wood and providing an entry vestibule. According to town records, in 1855 the ceiling in the schoolroom was raised, the windows enlarged, and the desks and chairs repaired. The double privy was built around 1898, probably re placing an earlier single privy. There is some evidence that in 1938 the school was used temporarily as a Catholic church and at some time following World War II as a synagogue.
In the article she describes the situation in mid-nineteenth century with respect to teachers' salaries:
"In 1850 or 1851 there is a note in a school report that a music teacher could be hired for $75 per annum. In the report for the year ending January 31, 1857, the teacher at the Newton Street School received $250 for the year, and other primary and grammar school assistants, $350 to $400. A grammar school 'master' received $1400, the high school principal, $1800 and his assistant, $500."
In depicting the general system of education and the curriculum at Putterham School in particular, she goes, on to say,
Mrs. Peabody's vivid description of the building was as follows:
"The building was one room, with a huge barrel stove in the back. The iron chimney ran along under most of the length of the ceiling before turning at right angles to go through the roof. Still nearer the front of the room, a huge ventilator pierced the roof and ceiling, which must have made the temperature around the teachers desk a bit more comfortable than it had been before its installation. This school was originally built, according to school records, in 1768, although as early as 1713 permission was given to the residents of the south part of the town to build themselves a school house. In 1768, help in the building was offered and a teacher assigned. In 1839, it was enlarged. For 1854, I find this paragraph: 'The Newton street house is large enough for the very small school it now contains; but the ceiling is so low, and the building so ill ventilated, that it Is unhealthy even for that small number. Justice to that district requires that an appropriation should be voted, sufficient to defray the expense of raising the roof, and also of providing it with comfortable modern desks and chairs, in place of the uneasy plank structures on which the children now sit."
The present use for the schoolhouse is an educational museum showing how a one-room school was set up, displaying books, teaching aids, and various items of schoolroom equipment.