“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Chatham in Barnstable County, Massachusetts — The American Northeast (New England)

The Atwood School

The Atwood School Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Brandon D Cross, October 4, 2020
1. The Atwood School Marker
At a meeting of the Chatham Historical Society in 1957, Ernest Eldridge recalled his days at the Atwood School in the late 19th century.

"I had my turn down at the Atwood School and there was two rooms, upstairs and down, at that time. My teacher was Miss Laura Atwood, Levi Atwood’s daughter. There was a stove in the northeast corner, then a pipe went up and went all the way across the building to help heat the buildings. One boy had a desk and a chair over there alongside the stove. He had to keep the wood box filled up and the fire going. In the morning whoever had to tend went down to the Oyster Pond for a pail of water [from the spring there]. Then at noon time they went and got one more pail of water. They didn’t have any janitors at the Atwood School when I was there. Soon as the teacher got there, the boys helped make the fire."

In his History of Chatham, William Smith reports the existence of an early school "off Atwood Street," that was typical of the first school houses in Chatham. "It was only twelve feet square, seven feet to the roof, which was also four-sided, meeting
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at a point in the center and highest point. The door was at one corner and two small windows on opposite sides furnished light." At that time schools were owned by residents in the neighborhood.

First opened in December of 1839 the present Atwood School provided instruction in grades one through four for children in the neighborhood, nearly all whom were Atwoods. As time passed similar schools were built in many of the other districts, but in some cases the buildings were smaller than the Atwood School and only one story high. In primary schools like the Atwood School there usually was one teacher who was responsible for grades one through four in the same room.

Throughout most of the 19th century there were two school sessions. The winter term from late November to early March was attended by boys and taught by a male teacher who was paid $2.00 a week and allowed $2.00 a month for board. Boys studied during the winter term so that they would be free to work the rest of the year, often on fishing vessels and sometimes on ocean going ships. It was necessary to have a young man as their teacher to maintain discipline, especially because some of the pupils were burly, hardened young men as old as 20. The summer session began in April and ran until October or November. Attended by girls, this session was taught by a female teacher who also was paid $2.00 a week
The Atwood School Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Brandon D Cross, October 4, 2020
2. The Atwood School Marker
but was allowed only $1.00 a month for board.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Education. A significant historical month for this entry is December 1839.
Location. 41° 40.602′ N, 69° 57.879′ W. Marker is in Chatham, Massachusetts, in Barnstable County. Marker is on Stage Harbor Road south of Cedar Street, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 224 Stage Harbor Road, Chatham MA 02633, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Chatham’s Chimes (approx. ¼ mile away); Chatham’s Twin Light (approx. ¼ mile away); The Godfrey Windmill (approx. 0.3 miles away); History of Chatham (approx. 0.4 miles away); a different marker also named History of Chatham (approx. 0.4 miles away); In Memory of the Pioneers of Chatham (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Josiah Mayo House (approx. 0.4 miles away); Chatham Civil War Monument (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Chatham.
Atwood School plaque on the schoolhouse image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Brandon D Cross, October 4, 2020
3. Atwood School plaque on the schoolhouse
Credits. This page was last revised on November 5, 2020. It was originally submitted on November 3, 2020, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. This page has been viewed 101 times since then and 22 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on November 3, 2020, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.

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Sep. 30, 2023