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.

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Ghoulchester: A Graveyard Tour into the Past
Location: tour begins at Hayward Fire Company Museum on South Main Street
Friday, October 13, 6 pm to 7:30 pm
*(Rain Date: Sunday, October 15, 4 pm to 5:30 pm)*
$10 CHS members / $15 non-members / $25 families
Fortune-teller cost: $10 for 10-minute reading (optional; pay at Colchester History Museum)

Formerly known as the “Spooky Cemetery Tour,” the Colchester Historical Society’s newly-named “Ghoulchester” is still the same great popular program! During this tour of the Colchester Burying Ground, visitors will meet notable characters from Colchester’s past–as if they’ve just risen from their graves to share their stories!

Tours are guided and recommended for both adults and families with children. All children 16 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Please wear comfortable footwear, dress for the weather, and bring a flashlight to enhance your experience. Tour space is limited and advanced reservations are strongly recommended.

After your tour, meet a fortune-teller (extra cost; purchase tickets in advance of your tour, as tickets are limited) and enjoy free baked goods and apple cider refreshments at the nearby Colchester History Museum.

*If rain date is necessary, decision will be made by 12 noon on 10/13. Check Facebook and/or CHS E-Blast for notification. Event will be cancelled in event of heavy rains; light percipitation will not cause event to be cancelled; dress appropriately.*

The historic Colchester Burying Ground, located behind the Old Bacon Academy, is one of the finest graveyards in eastern Connecticut housing the remains of many prominent citizens, and featuring exquisitely carved historic headstones. For more information, email: mail@colchesterhistory.org.

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