22 June 2017

Clover Hill School

According to Edla Sutphin Bellis the thing that made Hillsborough Township's Clover Hill School unique was that the desks were not bolted to the floor. In 1991 the 94-year-old former teacher/principal recounted in a remembrance she wrote for the Courier News how this made it possible to move the desks and chairs, remove the blackboard that served as a partition dividing the two rooms, and make one large space for meetings, dinners, and entertainment. This was something that few schools had at the time.


Detail from, the 1860 Farm Map of Hillsboro'
 showing the schoolhouse east of the village.

The school was built in 1918 to replace an older one-room school that had been at that location east of the village since before 1850. Mrs. Bellis was the very first principal and also taught grades 5 through 8. Her mother, a former teacher who hadn't taught in 30 years, came out of retirement to teach the younger grades. She recalled that by putting on plays and holding suppers they raised enough money to have an oil stove installed in the cupola where the older girls made soup each day for the children's lunch. The community was also able to raise enough money to install electric lights, but water still had to be retrieved at the pump outside and brought in in pails.



The Clover Hill School in 1991

Because of its location at the far western end of Hillsborough near the Hunterdon County border, many 8th grade graduates in the 1920s and 30s went on to Flemington High School instead of Somerville.


1923 admission ticket for "Always in Trouble", from my collection

The end for the Clover Hill School came in August 1950 after the Hillsborough Consolidated School (now HES) was inspected and approved to be opened that September. Actually, August 9, 1950 saw the sale at auction of three Hillsborough schools, as the Neshanic and Pleasantview Schools also had their bell towers on the chopping block. The Clover Hill School was sold to contractor John Dietz for $5,000 and was soon set up by Walter Dietz as a carpenter shop. The school was converted to a residence in 1976, and stands proudly today in its original location on Amwell Road.




The Clover Hill School as it looked just a few years ago.

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