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The Palmer School, also known as the District No. 2 Schoolhouse, is a historic 19th-century one-room schoolhouse.  It is a single-story wood frame structure with a gabled roof. It has very minimal Greek Revival styling reflective of its construction date in 1845.  It was used as a school until 1931 when it was donated to the town and relocated to 33 Main Street.  The schoolhouse was intermittently used for several municipal functions. In the late 1960’s the last kindergarten class attended the Palmer School, and the building has been vacant since. 


Fifty years of neglect have left their mark on the schoolhouse. The exterior envelope has been compromised and both the outside and the interior of the building is at risk of irreversible damage.  Recognizing the dire condition of this iconic landmark, the request for design funds for the Little Red Schoolhouse (LRSH) project was overwhelmingly approved (unanimous voice vote) by Boxford voters at the 2021 Annual Town Meeting.  In the year since, the project has been put under the aegis of Boxford's Permanent Building Committee (PBC).  The Little Red School House (LRSH) project will be undertaken in 2 phases.  Phase 1 will focus on the exterior building envelope with the work performed in FY 2023.  Phase 2 will focus on the interior, ADA compliant ramp and landscaping with the work performed in FY 2024.


The Plan to Save a National Historic Landmark

The PBC, in partnership with the Friends of the LRSH have consulted with the Historic District Commission, the Select Board, and the Community Preservation Committee (CPC) — gaining their support along the way.  Ken Savoie of Savoie Nolan Architects LLC in Ipswich has been retained to provide the construction drawings and specifications for the restoration of the LRSH.  


The Essex North Shore Agricultural and Technical School has agreed to accept the Little Red School House as one of its Community Projects.  Through their Construction Academy, the LRSH can provide the students with authentic work experiences who in turn, under the supervision of a teacher/licensed tradesperson, can perform the carpentry, electrical, masonry and any demolition work required to restore the building with the Town providing the materials.

The PBC has applied for a CPA Historic Preservation Grant. The next step is for the town to approve the funding for the construction phase of this project at our May 10th Town Meeting. If the warrant article passes the work will begin in the Fall of 2022. For the first time in the 21st century the Little Red Schoolhouse will be used, once again, to help educate the children of Boxford.

The Friends of the Little Red Schoolhouse was created in 2000 to preserve the last one-room schoolhouse in Boxford; a building that tells the story of the development of education in America. 


We are the fundraising and educational body for this project.  Our members are former educators, architects, realtors, civic leaders, members of the Historic District Commission, the Community Preservation Committee and the PTO.


Activities, events and fundraising for this historic gem have been vigorous, well-attended and popular amongst every demographic in Boxford. The Friends have committed to raise funds for this project in order to help offset the Town’s contribution.

Donate by Check

Please make checks payable to:

Town of Boxford “Little Red Schoolhouse”

and mail to:

Town of Boxford

Attn: Treasurer

7A Spofford Road

Boxford, MA 01921


Donate Online

To make a donation online:

Choose “Online Payments”

Select Donation under Bill Type

Click Little Red Schoolhouse

follow the directions

to make your donation!

Thank you!

The Little Red Schoolhouse Team:

Our esteemed team is dedicated to the restoration and preservation of this landmark building. We are united by the belief that the Little Red Schoolhouse and its subsequent contribution to the foundation of Boxford deserves to be saved.  The varied backgrounds and talents of these professionals ensure that this project will be completed within budget, on schedule, and to the specifications of a historic rehabilitation.

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