At the corner of Roxbury and Westover Roads is a small white building that shows evidence of multiple additions to create the building seen today. One part of this structure was once the Bangall School--the last of Stamford's one-room schoolhouses to remain in use.
It is believed that the little schoolhouse, originally less than 20 x 38 feet inside, was built on a different parcel of land sometime between 1838 and 1851. Around 1876, the schoolhouse is thought to have been moved to its present location after the Bangall Baptist Church was torn down.
Archeological research performed by Judith Abraham in the late 1980s revealed that the Bangall School may have been put down right on top of the Bangall Baptist Church's foundation.
Over the years, the Bangall School added cloakrooms to the front of the building and a lean-to "library room" in the back. Blackboards were put up to cover the walls and an oil heater eventually replaced the pot-bellied stove.
This photo from the shows the class of 1911 with their teacher, Sarah B. Stevens, outside the Bangall Schoolhouse.
The essay “Backward Country Schools Near Big Cities," gives a vivid picture of the Bangall School in 1904. Author Adele Marie Shaw describes Stevens as a "city teacher" who brought a positive influence to the rural school, reporting that "among this group of country children, cruelty to wild things has practically stopped. 'I haven’t killed a single bird this spring' one boy announced."
The improvements to the students' education included "a fortnightly lesson from a drawing instructor and another from a singing-teacher...Traveling libraries of fifty books each give each school access to several hundred good books every year."
In June 1949, Bangall School closed, deemed too expensive too maintain. The 11 students were to be transferred to the Willard School and taken there by bus. Both the Stamford Advocate and the New York Herald Tribune covered the sad students' final day at the school.
The Stamford Religious Society of Friends, organized by John De Forest, bought the property for a Meeting House on Jan. 19, 1951. A meeting room was added to the structure, including a fireplace faced with bricks from the Bangall School's chimney. The old schoolhouse continued to be used as a classroom for First Day School (Sunday School).
The Stamford-Greenwich Friends Meeting recently closed and the space is currently rented by two local organizations: Grace Church Stamford and the Fellowship for Jewish Learning.
Special thanks to Esme Ingledew of Greenwich for sharing the records that made this story possible.