The History of the Building Known as Congregational Church, Ashby Academy, Watatic Hall, Town Hall, The Grange
- ca. 1818 - The theological debate between Calvinists and Arminians reaches a head when the town hires an Arminian minister over the objection of the Calvinist members of the First Parish Church. A large number of church members leave the First Parish to form the Calvinistic Congregational Society.
- 1820 - The Calvinistic Congregational Society builds a church on the site where the Library now stands.
- 1835 - The original church building being too small, the Congregationalists build a new church at its current location on the east side of the Common.
- 1836 - Ashby Academy is established by private citizens who raise $800 to purchase the original Congregational Church building. It is moved to its current location next to Schoolhouse #1. A teacher is hired for $400 per year. Ashby Academy provides education beyond the 8th grade for those who can afford it. The cost per term is $3 for basic English, $4 for Latin and Greek.
- 1856 - The town votes to appropriate $200 for Ashby students over the age of 12 to attend the Academy for 1 term (11 weeks). This is the first town appropriation for education beyond the one room schoolhouse.
- ca. 1860 - Ashby Academy closes.
- August, 1860 - The Watatic Academy Association is organized and takes over the building. It becomes known as Watatic Hall.
Map of Ashby Common in 1850 by Geo. Hitchcock
- 1864 - Ashby votes $250 to rent a portion of the building. Town offices are located in the basement. ($250 probably covers student tuition as well as rent)
- 1864-1889 - The town appropriates various sums for Ashby students to attend the Academy.
- 1890 - Watatic Hall purchased by the town.
- 1895 - Calendar of Courses is earliest mention of Ashby High School as a municipal school. It provides 40 weeks of instruction and 4 grade levels.
- 1898 - The first graduating class from Ashby High School.
- 1903 - The new central school (Lyman Building) opens serving grades 1 through 12. Watatic Hall’s first floor serves as a gymnasium, basketball court and town hall. The Grange occupies the second floor and town offices are in the basement.
Students at Watatic School in 1890
- 1950 - Basketball team begins use of gym at the school in Townsend
- 1953 - The elementary school built with a gymnasium.
- ca. 1960 - The town offices move to Library.
- ca. 2010 - The Grange disbands and ceases use of building.
- 2020 - The building that has housed the Congregational Church, Ashby Academy, Watatic Academy, Ashby High School, the Town Hall and the Grange will be 200 years old.