Looking Back at Bethlehem District Schools

Before regionalization in 1969, and before Bethlehem Consolidated School in 1926,  Bethlehem (Bethlem) had 9 separate school districts. There is an 1874 map of the Town of Bethlehem in the Town Clerk's office that shows the nine school divisions.  District #9 which was in the Southeast part of town was never used.  The children in this district attended the Woodbury one room school that was almost opposite the exit of Nonnewaug Rd. on the present Rt 61.  Bethlehem parents paid tuition to Woodbury.

A few of these schoolhouses still remain today.

  • Center School - Many residents will remember this building as the town library on Main Street.
  • Hard Hill - Brick schoolhouse that unfortunately was demolished in 1972
  • North Carmel Hill - moved and now part of a home.
  • Burritt Hill (Hayes District) - now part of the Regina Laudis Abbey.
  • South Carmel Hill - now part of a home.
  • Kasson Road - now part of a home.
  • Woodcreek - now used as a wood house.
  • Munger Lane - destroyed in a fire.
  • Ninth District - now part of a home.

Select School (from Bethlehem, Connecticut A Primer of Local History published by Old Bethlem Historical Society, Inc.) The Select School was developed to give students of the District Schools additional education.  The ablest scholars from each were selected to come to the school, which was held on the second floor of the Town Clerk's Office building (now the American Legion Building.)  The school started sometime after the completion of this building in 1839/40 and continued until near 1900.  It is not known if these students paid a fee, or if this was also free public education.