Nash Hill School
Nash Hill School in Williamsburg, Massachusetts, was built in 1786. When it first opened its doors, students were between 3 and 21 years old. Some students walked as far as 5 miles to reach the school. The school day be- gan at 9 a.m. and began with a passage of Scripture, recitations, and singing. Students had two 15-minute recesses and a one-hour lunch break. The school
day ended at 4 p.m.
Nash Hill School served area students until 1917. In 1971 it was given to the Williamsburg Historical Society, and over the course of fifteen years it has been restored.
It was reopened to the public in 1986 (which is exactly two hundred years after its
Williamsburg’s history has been influenced by an industrial disaster that took
place in 1874. The town was a busy mill town, and early in the morning on May 16 an
earthenworks dam on the Mill River broke and flooded the town with a wall of water
that was 20–40 feet high and 300 feet wide. The flood destroyed almost everything in
its path. Houses and factories were swept off their foundations. People and livestock
were sucked into the swirling water. In all, 139 people were killed by the floodwaters.
In one hour the flood destroyed four villages and deposited their contents down-river. This flood brought about legislation in 1875 that dealt with reservoir design,
construction, and liability.
Today, the schoolhouse is located at 117 Nash Hill Road in Williamsburg. The
town of Williamsburg is in the Berkshire Mountain foothills and is considered part
of metro Springfield. It has a population of about 2,500 residents. It was incorporated
in 1771 and is a part of Hampshire County, which was incorporated in 1662. Williamsburg is located northwest of Northampton, Massachusetts, and is easily accessible from Interstate 91 via Massachusetts Route 9.
The Berkshire Mountain Range is a highland range located in western Massachusetts and Connecticut and is part of the Green Mountains. More than a range
of mountains, the Berkshires are made up of twenty-one towns that provide a vacation destination where visitors enjoy art galleries, attend concerts, hike, bike, and
more. The area is full of campgrounds, bed and breakfast establishments, motels,
1. thebige.com/sv/programs/Schoolhouse ToursRel.asp
4. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hampshire_County,_Massachusetts Endnote #4
Photo: Bill Johnson Photography
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