Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Intersection of Route 35 and West Lane
The Peter Parley Schoolhouse, originally set between dirt crossroads in a colonial farming community, is also known as the West Lane Schoolhouse or the Little Red Schoolhouse. It is located at the corner of West Lane and South Salem Road (off Connecticut 35) in historic Ridgefield, CT. In 1756 the Puritan people were strong believers in education. The Ridgefield community decided to build a schoolhouse in which to educate their children. Schoolhouses in New England were often constructed on the islands made by crossroads. Samuel Griswold Goodrich, the writer of the Peter Parley stories, attended the schoolhouse from 1799 to 1803. In the early 1900’s the schoolhouse sustained minor damage when one of those new inventions, the Model T car, failed to make the corner turn and crashed into it. In 1915 the school bell stopped ringing and the flag was taken down. The schoolhouse closed its doors. The town of Ridgefield owns the little red schoolhouse and its grounds. For many years the Ridgefield Garden Club leased the site from the town. In February 2012 the Ridgefield Historical Society took over the lease. The town of Ridgefield continues to maintain the exterior of the building and the Ridgefield Garden Club continues to maintain the ornamental plantings on the site. The Historical Society maintains the interior of the building, oversees the content of the building, and staffs it for open houses and tours.