District No 9 Dogtown – Fish Hatchery School
5574 Lacy Rd.
In 1857 the Fitchburg District board voted to build a District 9 schoolhouse measuring 20 by 26 feet. To pay for the school they established taxes to generate $125 for the building and $30 to pay a female teacher for 3 months during the summer. The building was erected one house north of Lacy at the northwest intersection of Lacy and Fish Hatchery Roads. Joseph Jenkins, a farmer and butcher lived on the southwest side of the intersection. He would throw out bones for dogs. Because of the gathering of dogs, the school was nicknamed Dogtown.
In September 1872, the Fitchburg Town Board voted to locate a schoolhouse further north than the Dogtown school. In the spring of 1873 Edward Sweeney sold a lot to the district and a school was “relocated” about a half mile north. The use of the word “relocated” was ambiguous enough to question whether the original school was moved or a new school was built. As the school board spent $359.41 that year, a price that was reasonable to build a new school, it is more likely a new school was built. This school building, whether the original or new, was named the Fish Hatchery school after the state Fish Hatchery just up the road. Sometime before 1911 the school was lengthened by four feet. It should be noted that this building was placed on the side of a hill.
In 1919, a new school was built at a cost of $5,500. As with the older school, there is a question as to where it was located. The 1931 plat map shows the District 9 school near the location of the older school, a half mile north of Lacy Rd. A record stated that this 1919 school was located down the hill, another ambiguous description that could describe either just south of the old school or anywhere down to Lacy Rd. A third piece of evidence stated that when the last school was built on the northwest corner of Lacy and Fish Hatchery Rds., the school board obtained the land from the Lydon family by exchanging parcels of land. It is thus likely that the 1919 school building was located just south of the old Fish Hatchery school. This school was modernized before 1937. In 1937 a dairy delivery man noticed flames coming from the school. He drove to a farmhouse and reported the fire. The firemen were able to get the fire under control but ran out of water. The fire burst out again and consumed the building and the contents inside including the desks and library.
The last Fish Hatchery school was built on the northwest corner of Lacy and Fish Hatchery Rds. It was built of cinder blocks and stucco. The new school was used until 1962 when the state mandated the end of one room schools. The building was eventually torn down.
The old Fish Hatchery school that had been replaced by the 1919 school was used as a storage facility for 70 years. In 1989, Fish Hatchery Rd. was rerouted so the old school building had to be torn down or moved. Lyman McKee who owned the land agreed to donate the building and Gary Gorman agreed to head an effort to move the building to his property on Whalen Rd. and restore the building as a monument to one-room schools. The building was restored both inside and out and can be seen on Whalen Rd. about a half mile east from Fish Hatchery Rd.
In 2001, the Fitchburg Historical Society in conjunction with the City of Fitchburg erected an historical marker on the northwest corner of Lacy and Fish Hatchery Rds.
The map below shows the location of the moved and renovated Fish Hatchery School