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Two City Councilors aid in restoration of historic Wyben Schoolhouse

Westfield At Large City Councilor Dan Allie presents two historic desks to the Westfield Historical Commission (Photo submitted)

WESTFIELD– City Councilors Dan Allie and Matt Emmershy presented three vintage school desks dating from the 1860’s to 1920’s, to the Westfield Historical Commission as a gift for the West Farms/Wyben Schoolhouse.

The schoolhouse, built in 1861 during the Civil War, is the last remaining one room schoolhouse in Westfield in its original location, that has not been converted to another purpose.

Located on Montgomery Road, the building was last used as a school in 1939, by the Westfield Normal School for the training of future teachers in rural education.

The Westfield Historical Commission with assistance from volunteers is working to save and restore the one-room schoolhouse to its original state. Students at the Westfield Technical Academy and its building trades department will manufacture the Civil War era shutters for the building.

Westfield Historical Commission Chair, Cynthia Gaylord, sits with Westfield At Large City Councilors Dan Allie (center) and Matt Emmershy (right) during a presentation of antique desks to be displayed at the Wyben one room school house (Photo submitted)

The goal is to reuse the schoolhouse during the spring, summer and fall and create a museum that will present what it was like to receive a one-room schoolhouse education to today’s elementary school students.

According to Allie, “People need to remember that when America became a super power, most children were taught in one room schoolhouses. The only model for education that has ever worked is a disciplined student, an effective teacher and involved parents.”

“Wyben and its’ schoolhouse are one of the hidden treasures of Westfield. We are happy to contribute to the efforts of others who love this building, said Allie and Emmershy. We wish to thank Donna Shibley, Scott Priest and Lynn Jemilo, owner of Berkshire Antiques in Blandford for their assistance in locating and obtaining the desks,” continued Allie. Priest also graciously included a slate writing tablet in the purchase. Slate tablets were in use until the 1930’s.

This article was submitted by Councilors Dan Allie and Matt Emmershy.

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