Chapel and Schoolhouse

The chapel served the village in threefold manner: a place of worship, a meeting place, and a school. The building was constructed in two sections. The first section (the entrance of the building) was constructed of old, recycled wood in 1832 in order to construct it quickly. The second section of the church was completed in 1836 and was made out of new wood; it was able to support the weight of the belfry. Most churches have the belfry at the front of the building, so it is unusual that our chapel has it on the back.

The church at the Howell Works was an Episcopal church, but it was not mandatory for the villagers to attend this particular church. The Reverand Tanser was hired, in 1836 for one year, by Mr. Allaire, not only for religious serves but also to serve as school master, for which he earned $500 a year. He lived in the skilled workers row house where the museum is today.

The church also served as a school. All the children of the village were required (free of charge) to attend school up until the age of 12. It was unusual for school to be free and to admit girls during the 1830s. The students were educated during the Lancasterian System that was developed in England by Joseph Lancaster. This system worked by the instructor teaching the older students and they, in turn, teaching the younger ones. It is akin to peer tutoring today. Children attended school three days a week from sun-up to sun-down. They would also work three days a week, most likely in the screw factory that once stood near the blacksmith shop. Their small, little fingers were very good at working the machinery in that factory. On Sundays, the children would go to church with their families and work around the home.

Today the Chapel still serves as a school for some of our school tour programs. We also host over 100 weddings a year, thus sometimes the chapel is not open for tours.