Levi H. Atwood, Pittsfield resident, built Blue Hill School, to be sold for $75


HOUSATONIC — The old wooden school house known as the “Blue Hill School,” which has been the subject of much comment since the voters of the town authorized the board of selectmen at the annual meeting to dispose of it for the sum of $75, has an interesting history and brings to light many facts regarding Blue Hill and Monument Valley. Outstanding among the many facts revealed in a search for information is that John D. Rockefeller’s grandparents were residents of this section, residing in a large red house which has since disappeared. Hugh Comstock of Main Street, Housatonic, who was born here in the house now owned by the Engold estate, near the school building, has in his possession a picture of Rockefeller’s grandmother, who was known to residents as “Grandmother” Rockefeller.

The subject of selling the school building was brought before the board of selectmen about four months ago, when Michael Navin made an offer of $75 for the structure. The voters authorized the sale at the annual town meeting held recently, although no action, aside from several inquiries has taken place.

The general opinion is that the structure is considerably older than it is. In fact the structure was built in 1888, the year of the great blizzard. There had, however, been another building located on the same site. Phineas Atwood was educated there in the old building, as were his four children, dating back as early as 1840.

The present school house is located south of the former Comstock farm on the Blue Hill highway. The building had become dilapidated and the necessity of a new one was felt in 1888. Bids were called for by town officials and three carpenters responded with figures. Levi H. Atwood, oldest son of Phineas Atwood, then a resident of Pittsfield, was awarded the contract. According to his memory, the structure cost between $425 and $450. Present day building of this type would cost nearly $3000, it is said.

Levi Atwood was assisted in the building by a Mr. Manning of Great Barrington. The frame work was made at the Brewer lumber yards in Great Barrington. The frame was then moved by a team to Blue Hill and completed. Because the school house is located high on the hillside, the only door is located in the south end.