SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

March 20, 2014

Town Meeting may decide fate of Putnamville School

BY ETHAN FORMAN
STAFF WRITER

---- — DANVERS — The little red Putnamville School is the last one-room schoolhouse still overseen by the School Committee, but it may not be for long.

The School Committee has voted to declare the property surplus and turn the historic building over to the town. Town Meeting will be asked affirm that status in May.

Built in 1832, the 1,120-square-foot building and the quarter of an acre it sits on are assessed at $337,500.

“It’s the oldest surviving schoolhouse in Danvers,” said Town Archivist Richard Trask. Other school buildings in town may have been older and converted to homes, but this is the oldest one left that still looks like a school. Efforts during the bicentennial to renovate it into a model schoolhouse were unsuccessful, Trask said.

Over the years, a Massachusetts chapter of the Blue Knights, a law enforcement motorcycle club, has met regularly at the schoolhouse and maintains the property, Town Manager Wayne Marquis said. The school department often fields questions from the community on the use of the building, so it was decided to let the town decide its future use, Superintendent Lisa Dana said.

Marquis said the town does not have a use for the school building.

The Putnamville School was one of several one-room schoolhouses in town. The old Fox Hill School on Water Street, which Trask said was built in the late 1870s, has been converted to a private preschool and kindergarten, which opened in 2001.

A number of other former school buildings have been given new life, Marquis said. The Maple Street School, the Danversport School and the Tapleyville School have been converted to housing. The Danvers Housing Authority runs Maple Street School with 15 units of senior housing, while the Danversport School has eight units, and Tapley Manor has 40.

The old Wadsworth School has become home to a business incubator and is part of the Wadsworth Village development, Marquis said.

Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at eforman@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.