The original Wolfeborough-Tuftonborough
Academy opened in 1821.
Courtesy of Wolfeboro Historical Society
Soon after 1800, residents of the Wolfeboro
area created school districts and erected small schoolhouses
to provide an education for the children living in each
district. The small amounts of money appropriated to support
these schools made it necessary for the pupils to cut wood,
tend the fire, bring water, sweep the floor, and do other
chores that were considered "duties."
The district system did not address itself
to higher education, and by 1820 there was increased interest
in establishing an academy. On May 4,1820, a meeting wus
held in Ichabod Libbey's tavem, where it was voted to raise
five thousand dollars and build an academy building. The
academy was incorporated in June and a charter granted under
the name of Wolfeborough and Tuftonborough Academy. An acre
of land where the town hall now stands was deeded, and a
large pillared building with a bell tower was constructed
on the site. The bell tower boasted a bell cast by the son
of Paul Revere. When the present town hall replaced the
academy, the selectmen requisitioned the hell for the town
Forty four students enrolled when the school
opened in September 1821. Tuition was $3.50 per term, and
hoard was $1.25 per week. The academy continued with varied
success until 1866, when the property was leased by the
Christian Institute. In 1873 the Christian Institute moved
to Andover, New Hampshire, and became Proctor Academy. The
trustees reopened the academy but in 1878, the building
was turned over to the town school district tor use as a
high school. Eventually, the old building was moved back
and renamed the Pickering School. Brewster Memorial Hall
was built on the original site.
In 1887 the charter was amended and, as directed
in the will of John Brewster, the name of the school was
changed to Brewster Free Academy. A new campus consisting
of forty acres of land sloping from Main Street to the shores
of Lake Winnipesaukee was the site of the a new building.
In 1890 the south wing of the new academic building was
completed. Principal Edwin H. Lord and a faculty of two
moved across the street to hold classes at the new location.
Brewster's business partner, Arthur Estabrook,
was not to be outdone. In addition to a one hundred thousand
dollar trust, he gave Estabrook House and four annex houses
on Main Street, including Kimball House and Lord House.
Additional acreage wa.s added with the acquisition of the
Pavilion, later called the Kingswood Inn. The 250-room lakeshore
hotel was razed to provide an unobstructed view of the lake.
The Academy Building was only four years old
when it was destroyed by fire on November 3, 1903. The interior
of the building was a mass of flames when the fire was discovered
at 3:40 a.m. The building was a total loss, but the school
did not miss a session. Temporary quarters were found in
the town hall, library, Kimball House, and a remodeled icehouse
moved up from the old Pavilion to be used as a chapel.
Work began immediately on the new building,
and on November 1,1905, the present Academic Building was
dedicated. Over the years a modem athletic field was added
(1928), a new gymnasium constructed (1954), the Furber House
purchased (1958), the Carpenter estate acquired (1966),
the new library dedicated (1979), three new dormitories
completed (1986), a fourth completed (1987), and a fifth
(1988). In 1939 a tuition charge of two hundred dollars
was approved, and Brewster was no longer a "free"
academy. In 1965 Brewster returned to the status of an independent
school. The old academy began its second hundred years with
excellent facilities and a tradition of providing the best
possible education for the young people who attend.