Thorne Memorial School

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Thorne Memorial School

Thorne Memorial School, Millbrook, NY.jpg

South elevation and east profile, 2008
Location Millbrook, NY
Nearest city Poughkeepsie
Coordinates 41°47′9″N73°41′24″W / 41.78583°N 73.69000°W / 41.78583; -73.69000 Coordinates: 41°47′9″N73°41′24″W / 41.78583°N 73.69000°W / 41.78583; -73.69000
Area 3.5 acres (1.4 ha) [1]
Built 1895 [1]
Architect William J. Beardsley [1]
Architectural style Beaux-Arts
NRHP reference # 96001473
Added to NRHP 1996

The Thorne Memorial School building is located at Franklin and Maple streets in Millbrook, New York, United States. It is a brick structure built at the end of the 19th century, considered the most distinctive public building in the village.

Millbrook, New York Village in New York, United States

Millbrook is a village in Dutchess County, New York, United States. Millbrook is located in the Hudson Valley, on the east side of the Hudson River, 90 miles (140 km) north of New York City. Millbrook is near the center of the Town of Washington. As of the 2010 Census, Millbrook's population was 1,452. It is often referred to as a low-key version of the Hamptons and is one of the most affluent villages in New York.


After being challenged by a newspaper reporter's column about the new village's lack of a school, a wealthy local resident had the school built at his expense and donated it to the community. In order for it to be accepted, it was necessary for the village to formally incorporate. [1] It served as its high school until 1962. Today it is used for special purposes and afterschool activities. In 1996 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places along with an adjacent blacksmith's shop.

A municipal corporation is the legal term for a local governing body, including cities, counties, towns, townships, charter townships, villages, and boroughs. The term can also be used to describe municipally owned corporations.

National Register of Historic Places federal list of historic sites in the United States

The National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) is the United States federal government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation for their historical significance. A property listed in the National Register, or located within a National Register Historic District, may qualify for tax incentives derived from the total value of expenses incurred preserving the property.

Blacksmith person who creates wrought iron or steel products by forging, hammering, bending, and cutting

A blacksmith is a metalsmith who creates objects from wrought iron or steel by forging the metal, using tools to hammer, bend, and cut. Blacksmiths produce objects such as gates, grilles, railings, light fixtures, furniture, sculpture, tools, agricultural implements, decorative and religious items, cooking utensils and weapons.

Buildings and grounds

The school's 3.5-acre (1.4 ha) lot is a rectangular parcel located in a residential area at the corner of Franklin (the former route of the US 44 highway) and Maple avenues on the eastern edge of downtown Millbrook. To the north is Lyall Federated Church and some houses; to the east is Maple Avenue East. An access drive in the center divides the developed portion on the west from a grassy field on the east. The school has its original retaining wall on the south side and a parking lot on the north. [1]

Land lot spatially separated part of the earths surface, which is recorded in the land register on a separate sheet of the Land Register

In real estate, a lot or plot is a tract or parcel of land owned or meant to be owned by some owner(s). A lot is essentially considered a parcel of real property in some countries or immovable property in other countries. Possible owner(s) of a lot can be one or more person(s) or another legal entity, such as a company/corporation, organization, government, or trust. A common form of ownership of a lot is called fee simple in some countries.

U.S. Route 44 in New York highway in New York

U.S. Route 44 (US 44) in the state of New York is a major east–west thoroughfare in the Hudson Valley region of the state. Its entire 65.98-mile (106.18 km) length is maintained by the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), with the exception of the Mid-Hudson Bridge, which is maintained by the New York State Bridge Authority. The portion of the route in New York begins at an intersection with US 209 and New York State Route 55 (NY 55) near the hamlet of Kerhonkson and ends at the Connecticut state line near the village of Millerton. The road passes through rural parts of Ulster and Dutchess counties before crossing into Litchfield County, Connecticut.

Retaining wall structure designed to restrain soil to unnatural slopes

Retaining walls are relatively rigid walls used for supporting the soil mass laterally so that the soil can be retained at different levels on the two sides. Retaining walls are structures designed to restrain soil to a slope that it would not naturally keep to. They are used to bound soils between two different elevations often in areas of terrain possessing undesirable slopes or in areas where the landscape needs to be shaped severely and engineered for more specific purposes like hillside farming or roadway overpasses.

The main building is a three-story structure on a limestone foundation sided in buff brick. It is configured as two connecting perpdendicular blocks, with semicircular wings on the south corners. Asphalt has covered the original metal roof, except for the copper trim on the cornice and dormer windows. [1]

Limestone Sedimentary rocks made of calcium carbonate

Limestone is a carbonate sedimentary rock that is often composed of the skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral, foraminifera, and molluscs. Its major materials are the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate (CaCO3). A closely related rock is dolostone, which contains a high percentage of the mineral dolomite, CaMg(CO3)2. In fact, in old USGS publications, dolostone was referred to as magnesian limestone, a term now reserved for magnesium-deficient dolostones or magnesium-rich limestones.

Copper Chemical element with atomic number 29

Copper is a chemical element with symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a soft, malleable, and ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. A freshly exposed surface of pure copper has a pinkish-orange color. Copper is used as a conductor of heat and electricity, as a building material, and as a constituent of various metal alloys, such as sterling silver used in jewelry, cupronickel used to make marine hardware and coins, and constantan used in strain gauges and thermocouples for temperature measurement.

Cornice horizontal decorative molding that crowns a building or furniture

A cornice is generally any horizontal decorative molding that crowns a building or furniture element – the cornice over a door or window, for instance, or the cornice around the top edge of a pedestal or along the top of an interior wall. A simple cornice may be formed just with a crown.

The front (south) facade is trimmed with limestone quoins, beltcourses and architraves. It is pedimented in the center over a Palladian window. Windows are round-arched on the ground floor. [1]

Facade exterior side of a building, usually the front but not always

A facade is generally one exterior side of a building, usually the front. It is a foreign loan word from the French façade, which means "frontage" or "face".

Course (architecture) layer of similar material in a structure, e.g. a row of bricks

A course is a layer of the same unit running horizontally in a wall. It can also be defined as a continuous row of any masonry unit such as bricks, concrete masonry units (CMU), stone, shingles, tiles, etc.

Architrave Lintel beam element in Classical architecture

An architrave is the lintel or beam that rests on the capitals of the columns. It is an architectural element in Classical architecture.

Inside the front block is given over to classrooms surrounding an open stairwell on the first two stories. The third story, originally living quarters for the janitor and his family has smaller rooms in the dormers with a central hall lit by skylights. Walls are plaster over clay tile on the interior wythe; floors are original wood strip except for concrete in the basement, which is used for mechanical purposes. [1]

Janitor street sweeper, janitor, professional who takes care of buildings such as hospitals and schools

A janitor, janitress (female), custodian, porter, cleaner or caretaker is a person who cleans and maintains buildings such as hospitals, schools, and residential accommodation. Janitors' primary responsibility is as a cleaner. In some cases, they will also carry out maintenance and security duties. A similar position, but usually with more managerial duties and not including cleaning, is occupied by building superintendents in the United States. Cleaning is one of the most commonly outsourced services.


A wythe is a continuous vertical section of masonry one unit in thickness. A wythe may be independent of, or interlocked with, the adjoining wythe(s). A single wythe of brick that is not structural in nature is referred to as a veneer.

It connects to the similar basement of the north wing. That wing's ground floor has a kitchen on the east and cafeteria on the west. To their north is a two-story auditorium with exposed iron trusses supporting the ceiling and roof. At the north end are dressing rooms and mechanical rooms. [1]

There are two outbuildings associated with the property. A cobblestone shop near the school was originally used to teach students blacksmithing; it is today a storage facility. It dates to sometime before 1913 and is considered a contributing resource. A bandshell on the north end of the field to the east is of more modern construction and thus non-contributing. [1]


Millbrook had come into existence in 1869, when entrepreneur M. Franklin Merritt bought an old farm through which the Dutchess and Columbia Railroad was slated to be built. He laid out streets and subdivided the land. The village-to-be was named Millbrook, in honor of the nearby estate of G.H. Brown. [1]

The settlement grew quickly, with other wealthy buyers establishing their own country estates outside of town. Those who worked for or sold things to them moved into the growing hamlet. In 1892, a local newspaper, the Round Table, reported the observations of a visitor from Poughkeepsie on what the village, which he praised for its "evident harmony and cooperation between the millionaire population and the unmoneyed people", lacked:

You have fine roads, fine stores, fine churches and no school house! This is un-American. Where the church points to heaven, the schoolhouse tower should guard the earthly estate. These twins of good society should never be separated.

The visitor called for one of the wealthy local residents to rise to the occasion and endow a public school in Millbrook, "a monument that outlasts time". [1]

The next year a meeting was called to consider that possibility. A site was initially selected near the old wooden schoolhouse on Elm Street, built shortly after the hamlet was subdivided. In the autumn of that year Samuel Thorne, a wealthy resident with deep roots in the area, announced that plans were nearly complete for the present school, on a different parcel of land. He would name it Thorne Memorial for his late parents Jonathan and Lydia. [1]

Thorne's school was to be state-of-the-art for its era. The new school was fireproof, long before this became common or mandatory. The Round Table said the new school had the potential to make Millbrook "first in educational advantages among villages of its size in Dutchess County". [1]

No hard documentation exists for the architect or builders, but recent investigation has found that they were likely William J. Beardsley and the Cornwall firm of Mead and Taft respectively. Christopher Gray has found that Beardsley, who established himself later with the 1903 Dutchess County Court House in Poughkeepsie and went on to design many public buildings in the state, lived on the same Millbrook street as Frank Welling, supervisor of the construction for the school board. His 1933 obituary also referred to "a school in Millbrook" as being one of his works. Mead and Taft had recently built nearby Halcyon Hall and were known for their ability to finish such large projects. [1]

It was completed and opened in September 1895. The Thorne family wanted to donate it to the community, but at the time there was no formal entity that could accept the gift. So, at the end of the year, Millbrook voted overwhelmingly to incorporate as a village. [1]

The original school property included a stable and blacksmith shop as outbuildings. The former is no longer extant; the latter is but is used for storage. The school continued to be used as the village's high school until the creation of the present Millbrook Central School District in 1962. There have been very few alterations to it save for the removal of the original flagpole and cupola. It continues to be used for special-interest classes and community event until recently when the Millbrook Board of Trustees decided that the cost of keeping the building open was too great for amount of use. [1]

See also

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 Bonafide, John (August 1996). "National Register of Historic Places nomination, Thorne Memorial School". New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation . Retrieved May 6, 2010.