Old Bacon Academy

The Second Oldest Continuously Operating Public High School in Connecticut

The iconic large yellow building in the center of Colchester, Bacon Academy, was built in 1801 with funds provided by the estate of Colchester resident, Pierpont Bacon.  Bacon Academy became known as an exceptional school drawing noted students from across the country and beyond.  In 1842, Bacon Academy began to educate women on the third floor and the grammar school children on the lower floors.  Still in the original building in 1954, the Academy’s enrollment was 119 students.

The by laws of Bacon Academy, adopted in 1803, specify, “Negroes and persons of color shall be provided for in a separate building to be provided by the committee.” This unique school attracted students from beyond the borders of the town of Colchester.   For many years, “persons of color” from all over the country came to Colchester to get a quality education. This special school operated independently for 30 years; eventually integrating it’s students with those at Bacon Academy.

Noted graduates from Bacon Academy include Steven Austin, the school’s first graduate, who with Sam Houston, were considered founders of an independent Texas; William Buckingham and Morgan Bulkeley, governors of Connecticut; Lyman Trumbull, governor of Illinois and  friend of Abraham Lincoln; Morrison Waite, Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court; Eliphalet Bulkeley, first president of Aetna Life Insurance Company; and Edwin B. Cragin, eminent surgeon, who financed the building of the Cragin Memorial Library.

To Learn More >>

Current News!


Historic School for Colored Children
Dedication Ceremony & Ribbon-Cutting
Friday, September 15
4:30 pm; Free
Location: Colchester Federated Church

Join the Colchester Historical Society and the Colchester Historic District Commission as the reconstructed  Historic 1803 School for Colored Children is dedicated.  Beverly Morgan-Welch, Associate Director of External Affairs for the National Museum of African American History and Culture with the Smithsonian Institution, will offer the keynote presentation, with ribbon-cutting and catered refreshments to follow.  For more information, email: mail@colchesterhistory.org.

Community Conversation
Saturday, September 16
9 am to noon; Free
Location: Colchester Federated Church

The Colchester Historical Society will offer a panel presentation and discussion moderated by Connecticut’s Old State House director Sally Whipple, featuring Beverly Morgan-Welch, Yale historian Dr. Peter Hinks, and other noted historians and cultural experts on the history and future of the School for Colored Children, which will include a conversation with the audience.  Morning refreshments provided.

This is the first in a series of public discussions that will culminate in a long-term exhibit about the history of the Colchester Historic School for Colored Children to be on display at the Colchester History Museum in 2018, funded in part through a grant from CTHumanities.  For more information, email mail@colchesterhistory.org.

 

Connect with Us