Chester Chatter: Lessons from one-room school houses

By Ruthie Douglas
© 2017-Telegraph Publishing LLC

Chester at one time operated more than 20 one-room school houses. Once those schools served an important part in our outlying areas in hamlets such as Gassetts, Popple Dungeon and Smokeshire.

They offered education and a meeting place for social gatherings. The teachers of these schools opened the door with a glimpse of the world beyond and gave the students a look at life.

It was an effort for a child to walk through all kinds of weather to attend school, carrying their lunch pail and be away from home where they were often needed to help with chores.

It was a precious accomplishment to gain an education and often simply impossible to be able to attend high school.

The very backbone of Chester, those who molded and built our town, attended these little one-room schools that dotted our countryside.

Many of these students went on to become successful business people, doctors, nurses and merchants.

People around the region

Bud and Marlene Ingalls enjoyed a visit from their son Dennis and his family, who live in Colorado. Dennis is a chef for a private school.

Click photo to enlarge.

A three-day bachelor party was held last week for Ben Bolaski, who was set to be married on Saturday, July 29. He and his friends camped at Coolidge State Park. They had a great time, campfire and good food.

Friends of Ronnie Park are saddened to learn of his passing. Well-known and well-liked, Ronnie will be missed.

The American Legion Post 67 Auxiliary  were volunteers for the recent blood drive held at the NewsBank Conference Center. The ladies made everyone feel welcome, making and serving refreshments.

Mark and Debbie Phelps and Mark’s parents spent two weeks camping in the northwest. They went to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, seeing Old Faithful and other scenic sites.

Betty Stowell, Elaine Amsden and Eva Kendall spent some time at Hampton Beach, N.H., this past week.

  • This week’s trivia question: Who was Norm Stevens?
  • Answer to last week’s trivia question: Wilma’s Lunch was located on Route 11 west, near the Rod & Gun Club. It is now a used furniture shop.

Street Talk

What is your favorite ice cream?

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Filed Under: Chester ChatterCommunity and Arts Life

About the Author: Ruthie Douglas is originally from Springfield but has called Chester her home for 58 years, and has been writing the Chester Chatter column for more than 40 of those years. Ruthie is also a longtime volunteer throughout the community.

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  1. Alton Clark says:

    Norm Steven was assistant & Principle of CHS & GMUHS.

    Hello Ruth,
    This is Al Clark, Bernice Clark’s son from Chester/ Andover road. I was getting excited at hearing a name I knew. I was hoping the story was about YOU writing a book. I’d buy it in a minute. Be Well.

  2. JeanFreeman says:

    Hi Ruthie….Bob says Norm was principal of GMHS from ? 1978 or ? 79 to 1982 or 83.

  3. Deb Stearns says:

    Norm was the assistant principal at Chester High then principal. 1960s.