From the Mansfield Historical Society Newsletter, Vol. 53, No. 2, September 2017
In September 1890, Susan and John Dunham of Tolland sold “a piece of land on the north side of the highway known as Dog Lane” to the fourth district for a schoolhouse. They were paid $50 for it. The Dog Lane School served the Storrs community until 1930 when the new Storrs Grammar School opened (now the Audrey Beck Municipal Center). In 1993 Harold W. Weigold and his sister Miriam Barlow each wrote down their memories of attending the one-room school on Dog Lane. Below are a few excerpts.
“I started school in September 1926 at the one-room school that was located on Dog Lane… This one room school was a primary school for the first three grades for children in the Storrs area plus the kids living in the Mansfield Four Corners area and children that lived on North Eagleville Road out to what is now known as Club House Road. Some children that lived on Route 195 down as far as the Town Hall on Spring Hill also attended the school. The children that attended the Dog Lane school were children of people connected with the College. The other children in the Spring Hill area went to school at the Mansfield Hollow school or the Spring Hill school. Most children walked to school except those that lived at Mansfield Four Corners [who came by bus].
Our house was on Hanks Hill Road just a short distance in from Rte. 195. We walked back and forth to school cutting through the farm lots belonging to William Farrell and onto the college property. The Warrens and Nichols also walked cross lots.
The school wasn’t very large. There was a wood shed attached to the east side of the building. There were also two outhouses in the rear of the school. There was a front door with a large step stone in front of the door. There was also an entrance through the wood shed.
In the front of the room there was a platform, one step above the rest of the floor, where the teacher’s desk was located – I suppose so the teacher could see the students better. There was a stove on the right side of the platform. I can remember the teacher making cocoa on the stove so we could have something hot to drink at lunch time…
…Quite a few children came from families that didn’t have much income. There were also some children from families that had recently come to this country and whose parents didn’t speak much English. There were also children whose parents were college faculty members who were better off financially.”
Miriam (Weigold) Barlow:
“The one-room Primary School on Dog Lane held Grades 1-3, when I became a first grader in 1927. The school was a white frame clapboarded building with a small ell that was a combination coatroom and woodshed. You could enter the schoolroom through the front door or the ell. The front door had a large flagstone step with a woven metal mat to clean off the dirt from our shoes.
The schoolyard wasn’t large – under a half acre it seemed. Just west of the left boundary was an open area which extended to the state road and contained some wild flowers including wood betony. Behind the school were outhouses, as the only indoor plumbing the school contained was a tiny sink in one corner that had a cold water tap. In the opposite front corner was the big round wood-burning stove. On very cold days the teacher gathered us together at the front of the room and read to us while the stove warmed things up a bit…
All the desks were attached to the floor – smaller ones on the right side. One hoped to graduate to a larger one that had a top which lifted up to get at the storage space inside.
… At recess the teacher came out with us and often we played such games as “Go in and out the Window” or “Here We Go Looby Loo.” I thought they were fine. We sang with these games too. At lunch time we usually played what we organized ourselves: “Hilly Over,” which involved throwing the ball over the roof of the ell, and “Steal the Capitol” were the favorites. Girls might also have hopscotch marked out on the bare ground, or play “Jacks” on the stone step…
… One event that was much looked forward to was the picnic at the end of the school year in June. We took our lunches and walked down the main road less than a half-mile to the South Eagleville Road. On that road a few hundred yards in was a collection of boulders good for climbing on called Eagleville Rocks. It was as exciting as going forty miles to the shore or to some state park would be now.”