Cornwall sells historic Bingham Street schoolhouse

CORNWALL — Cornwall’s historic one-room schoolhouse at 114 South Bingham St. is being sold to someone who has become quite familiar with the building during the past several years.
Addison Central Supervisory Union Business Manager David Boucher confirmed on Thursday that the former school building has been sold to Allison Quinttus — who happens to reside next to the building.
“She respects the property, and I know she understands the historic significance of the building,” Boucher said.
Quinttus, who could not be reached for comment as the Addison Independent went to press on Friday, submitted the highest of five bids for the property, according to Boucher. That winning bid was $30,240 — money that will flow into Cornwall’s school district coffers. Quinttus was required to put down a deposit of 20 percent of her bid at the time she submitted the offer; the balance is now due by Oct. 15.
It was in 1847 that the Cornwall school district acquired the land on which the South Bingham Street schoolhouse is located, according to some local historical facts provided by Cornwall Town Clerk-Treasurer Sue Johnson. There was a brick schoolhouse on that piece of land at the time of this sale, a structure that burned and was replaced by the current wooden version in 1890, Johnson said. The school was used for all grades until 1951, after which schoolhouse No. 5 (as it was known) was used only for grades 3 and 4. The building ceased to be used as a school when Cornwall’s Bingham Memorial School opened its doors in 1960, according to Johnson. After that, the Cornwall Fire Department used the structure as a meeting house for around 20 years.
So the South Bingham Street School has not been used regularly for decades, resulting in it falling into disrepair.
Cornwall voters at their annual meeting this past March gave the school district permission to dispose of the schoolhouse as they saw fit. The district put the building up for sale in June, but there were no takers.
That’s when school officials enlisted some local residents to help them put out a second call for bids for the South Bingham Street property. Those residents included attorney Benj Deppman and Realtors January Stearns and Ingrid Punderson.
“They guided us through the process,” said Cornwall School board member Sarah Kemp.
The second call for bids generated five offers by the Sept. 15 deadline, ranging from a low of $1,250 to a high of $30,240 offered by Quinttus. According to town meeting minutes, the assessed value of the property in March was $22,600.
It remains unclear as of this writing whether Quinttus plans to remove the building or preserve it. School officials said the small amount of property on which the building sits (1.6 acres according to town meeting minutes) is not well suited for hosting the septic and water systems that would be required to put the structure to any substantial use.
Kemp said she and her colleagues will soon discuss how the revenues from the schoolhouse transaction could be best used to benefit Cornwall students and taxpayers.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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