By Andreas Yilma Citizen’s News
BEACON FALLS — Town officials are looking for a new site for the relocation and preservation of a historic schoolhouse after the initially proposed site was found to be lacking.
Rimmon Schoolhouse at 101 Pinesbridge Road was built between 1779 and 1830 and was used as a school until the 1950s when Laurel Ledge Elementary School was built. Nadeem and Naila Khalid own the land where the schoolhouse is on Pinesbridge Road and have offered to donate the schoolhouse to the town.
Officials previously eyed a state-owned parcel of land on North Main Street, just north of the Beacon Falls Police Department, as the new site for the schoolhouse. In July 2019, state lawmakers approved a bill that would transfer to the town a 0.125-acre, state-owned parcel adjacent to the intersection of North Main and Church streets.
First Selectman Gerard Smith said town officials surveyed the land and found it wasn’t feasible or fiscally responsible, so the town did not take ownership of the land.
“The shape and topography of the piece didn’t lend for a structure,” Smith said.
The parcel of land has uneven topography and state utilities, including a transformer box in the middle of the land. Town officials are now looking for another site for the schoolhouse that’s in disrepair, according to Smith.
For now, town officials plan to disassemble the structure and store it at Kolga LLC at 65 Lancaster Drive until they can find a more suitable location to build a replica of the schoolhouse.
An architectural firm has drawn a set of plans of the exact dimensions of the structure. Workers would dismantle the building and salvage as many parts of the structure as possible to build the replica, Smith said.
Cody Muth, a member of the Conservation Committee and owner of CM Tree Service LLC in Beacon Falls, and two local contractors are taking on the task of disassembling the structure and eventually building a replica at a more suitable location.
“I love to help out. I love the town,” Muth said. “I want everyone to love this town as much as I do.”
Muth said they would disassemble the structure either by the winter or the spring and will salvage as much from the original school as he can.
“The intention is whatever can be used will be reused,” Muth said.
Muth said he hasn’t fully inspected the schoolhouse to determine exactly how much will be salvaged.
The plans are to keep all the signs from the outside of the school and the shutters. The roof and shingles will have to be replaced, according to Muth.
Muth said he plans to get wood from Matthies Park where he will mill the timber. Most of the materials and labor will come from within town, he added.
Muth is looking for about 20 volunteers to help out with the dismantling of the building. People can register to volunteer by emailing cmtreeservicellc[AT]gmail.com or going to the committee meeting.
Selectman Michael A. Krenesky, who is president of Beacon Falls Historical Society, said the historical group has put together a memorial brick sale and has sold 40 bricks so far. Each person who bought a brick put their info or personal messages on the bricks. The bricks would be incorporated in the new location.
“The original intent was that it was going to be part of the patio or the sidewalk leading up to the school,” Krenesky said. “Depending on where we put the school house is where it’s going to be placed.”
A former Beacon Falls resident who now lives in Florida purchased a brick and listed her siblings, who were part of one of the last classes of the Rimmon Schoolhouse, according to Krenesky.
Krenesky said the school is listed in the state register of historic places and is a glimpse of what early education was in the country.
“It’s a part of the town’s past. It’s just extremely important for people to understand where we were, how we did it,” Krenesky said, “a prime example of the educational system we had in the 1700s and 1800s.”
Muth said he doesn’t want people to only look at it but be able to go inside and enjoy it.
“We want to bring the schoolhouse to its former glory and appreciate an awesome piece of history in Beacon Falls,” Muth said.
Smith said the building will be more of a museum to showcase the history of the town.
“Once we do get it, it will be a nice representation of what the school used to be,” Smith said.