Society, Region 16 working to preserve history

PROSPECT — Before the final school bells ring at Algonquin and Community schools, the Prospect Historical Society wants to ensure the history of the schools is preserved for generations to come.

“One of the missions of the society is to collect and document the history of the town and to preserve it and present it,” Prospect Historical Society President Nancy Via said.

The two schools will be replaced by the new Prospect Elementary School, which is currently under construction, this fall. The new school is the largest part of the three-pronged building project in Region 16, which oversees schools in Beacon Falls and Prospect.

The current plan is to demolish Algonquin School, with the exception of the annex, and build a new district office on the Coer Road site. The school was built in two stages — the first in 1959-60 and the second in 1961-62, according to Via.

The plan for Community School, which opened in November 1936, is still up in the air. The town of Prospect has shown interest in buying the building from the region, but nothing has been finalized.

As the last day for both schools draws closer, Via said, the historical society approached Superintendent of Schools Michael Yamin about working with the district to preserve the history of the schools.

Yamin was receptive to the idea.

Yamin said the district had been struggling with what to do with artifacts from the schools and items that should be archived. He said working with the historical society is a good opportunity to save the historical value of the schools. He added there may be a display case in the new school to showcase the history of the two schools.

“It’s good to have the kids learn about it and the community to learn about history,” Yamin said.

Via said any artifacts from the schools given to the society will be at the discretion of the district. Aside from artifacts, she said, the society is interested in taking pictures of the inside of the schools.

“It would serve as a visual repository and be available forever for generations to see,” Via said.

Via said historic photos of the town always show the outside of buildings, but pictures of inside buildings are rare. Years from now, she said, when someone asks what the inside of Algonquin School was like the photos will be available.

“When Algonquin School is no longer,” she said, “we will have a photographic history of the building.”

Via added the society is also asking residents to submit historic photos of the schools, businesses and buildings in town so the society can create a digital copy of the photos. Anyone with photos can call Via at (203) 758-6359.

“We really want a photographic history of the town,” she said.