Schoolhouse author Melinda Elliott to talk at Peter Parley

The author of a book on historic Connecticut schoolhouses will appear at Ridgefield’s stellar example — the restored Peter Parley schoolhouse on West Lane — on Sunday, Nov. 12, from 1 to 4.

Melinda Elliott, director of the Bullitt Hill Schoolhouse in Southbury and author of Connecticut Schoolhouses through Time, will share her knowledge of historic Connecticut schoolhouses at the open house sponsored by the Ridgefield Historical Society. The event was rescheduled from Sunday, Oct. 29, due to severe rain and wind conditions.

Elliott’s book — which will be on sale and which she will sign — features photos and information on 100 one-room schoolhouses from around Connecticut, including two in Ridgefield: the Peter Parley schoolhouse, which is set up with old-fashioned desks, chalkboards and other artifacts of early American schooling, and the Branchville schoolhouse, which stands intact off Old Branchville Road and is used by the town for storage.

Ridgefield once had 14 neighborhood schoolhouses, and eight still stand in one form or another. Three remain in town ownership: the Peter Parley and Branchville schoolhouses and the former Titicus School off North Salem Road, which now serves as American Legion Hall.

The other five remaining Ridgefield schoolhouses are privately owned. Four are homes and one serves an art studio.

The Peter Parley Schoolhouse dates to 1756. It was closed in 1915.

Peter Parley is the pen name of Samuel G. Goodrich, who lived from 1793 to 1860, grew up in Ridgefield and attended the schoolhouse. He wrote more than 170 books, many of them aimed at children, illuminating lessons in history and natural science with colorful anecdotes. His work is considered significant in the development of the school textbook.

—Macklin Reid