Redstone (Mary and Her Lamb) Schoolhouse - Sudbury, MA
Posted by: NorStar
N 42° 21.498 W 071° 28.324
19T E 296415 N 4692519
Quick Description: This building, supposedly where Mary and her lamb in the poem attended, was used by Sudbury to teach the employees of Ford's own school for boys near that location and is now used as a live exhibit.
Location: Massachusetts, United States
Date Posted: 5/29/2011 7:53:10 PM
Waymark Code: WMBKCP
In Sudbury, at the corner of Dutton Street and Wayside Inn Road, is a red painted building that is now an exhibit as a one-room schoolhouse. According to plaques around it, it was the very schoolhouse that Mary and her little Lamb had gone to. Though according to another source that it was indeed used as a schoolhouse by the town of Sudbury, its early history is less clear.
It has been stated in the official Wayside Inn that this school is the Redstone Schoolhouse, named because it was originally located on Redstone Hill in the town of Sterling, near Worcester, about 20 miles to the west. The building was used as a school in Sterling from 1798 to 1927, where it was moved to this location by Henry Ford to be included in his collection of buildings by the Wayside Inn. Since then, the building was used by the town of Sudbury to teach grades one through four from 1927 to 1951. Now, it is available for tours from mid May through mid October, where a costumed interpreter will explain school during that time. Check the web site for specific information.
Two plaques installed around the building attest that this building was the very building that Mary and her little lamb went in the poem, "Mary had a Little Lamb." One plaque states:
"In Honor of the Children's Classic
'Mary Had a Little Lamb'
Mary Elizabeth Sawyer-1806-1889-The Mary of the Poem
Rebecca Kimball, the Teacher
John Roulstone, Author of the first twelve lines
Sarah Josepha Hale, whose genius completed the poem
in its present form.
This building incorportes the original 'Redstone' School house,
scene of the poem, scene of the poem, which stood in the second school district of
Sterling Massachusetts. It was in use from 1798 to 1856 and
was removed to this spot for its present preservation by
Mr. and Mrs. Henry Ford."
Another plaque is in the form of a book open to the page where the poem can be read.
Collaborating and Contradicting Information
A short statement in a tour by the Sudbury Historical Society states that the Redstone School in Sterling was torn down, and the wood from that school was made into a barn. Henry Ford bought the barn, disassembled it, then did research to find out the original school dimensions, then built this building according to those dimensions. This would make the building a reproduction. The building was used by the town of Sudbury, however, originally to teach the employees of Ford's school for boys and the Wayside Inn. So, the building was a schoolhouse for this period of time, so its listing as 'original' and the time specified below is for the use by Sudbury.
About Mary - there appear to be three theories as to the origins of the poem. One claim is that John Roulston wrote the poem - or at least the first part of the poem, after an event involving Mary Sawyer. Another claim is that Sarah Hale in Newport, New Hampshire, and that it was a fabrication. A third idea is that the poem is a veiled reference to Mother Mary and Christ Jesus. The link to a blog presents the competing ideas and references the schoolhouse.
So, go visit it, whether or not it is Mary's school.
There is no fee for the tour. Parking is available either at the Wayside Inn or the Wayside Inn Grist Mill down the street.
Original or Re-creation?: Original
Year the school first opened.: 1/1/1927
Year the school closed.: 1/1/1951
Is the schoolhouse still open as a school?: no
10 Dutton Street
Off Wayside Inn Road
Sudbury, MA United States of America
Web Address (if available): [Web Link]
Does the school offer 19th century classroom reenactments or day camps?: no
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