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Hartland project is worthy of applause

In 1999, Hartland District Number 10 School, located on the corner of Seaman and Carmen roads in the Town of Hartland, had fallen into disrepair and was being sold by HUD. This beautiful old cobblestone building was built in 1845 and served as a town school until 1947, when the area schools centralized. The furnishing were auctioned off and the building sold.
Used as a private residence for the next 50 years, it had finally fallen into disrepair and was in danger of being demolished. The Hartland Historical Society considered purchasing it but had no way to pay the mortgage or finance the restoration work.

A way was needed to fund this community preservation project. It was suggested that money might be made by running the "Snack Shack" during baseball games at the town recreation park. Praying that this would work, they purchased the old school building in 1999. For the first couple of years, money trickled in, but the mortgage payments were made, and in 2002 they were even able to obtain a grant from State Sen. George Maziarz to begin the restoration work.

Soon the town began to host area Little League baseball teams at the ballpark, and the society began to relax a little as the extra money allowed them to pay for additional furnishings and some of the restoration work. In 2005, two more grants were obtained, one from Sen. Maziarz and the other from Assemblywoman Francine Delmonte. Things were finally starting to look favorable.

Much of the major restoration work has been completed and paid for. The roof and chimney were rebuilt to state specifications, and restoration work on the cobblestone exterior, windows and many other smaller but necessary projects were completed.

Other major projects have yet to be completed. Moisture has rotted the main structure under the floor so that this will have to be completely rebuilt. The attached shed/kitchen is in need of major repairs, and old doublewide school desks and other furnishings need to be purchased.

The goal of the society is to have the school building ready to serve the public in 2012 when the Town of Hartland celebrates its bicentennial.

The society should be applauded for their effort to save this old one-room school building. In just 14 years, they have taken this building which was on the verge of demolition and have it now almost completely restored and ready to educate our youth once again, only this time to show our children what life was like at a school in another era.

The community also should be thanked for their generous support through purchases made at the town recreation "Snack Shack." Without them, this project would have been difficult or impossible.

Norm LaJoie

Town of Hartland Historian

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