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The original Wolfeborough-Tuftonborough Academy opened in 1821.
Courtesy of Wolfeboro Historical Society

Soon after 1800, residents of the Wolfeboro area created school districts and erected small schoolhouses to provide an education for the children living in each district. The small amounts of money appropriated to support these schools made it necessary for the pupils to cut wood, tend the fire, bring water, sweep the floor, and do other chores that were considered "duties."

The district system did not address itself to higher education, and by 1820 there was increased interest in establishing an academy. On May 4,1820, a meeting wus held in Ichabod Libbey's tavem, where it was voted to raise five thousand dollars and build an academy building. The academy was incorporated in June and a charter granted under the name of Wolfeborough and Tuftonborough Academy. An acre of land where the town hall now stands was deeded, and a large pillared building with a bell tower was constructed on the site. The bell tower boasted a bell cast by the son of Paul Revere. When the present town hall replaced the academy, the selectmen requisitioned the hell for the town clock.

Forty four students enrolled when the school opened in September 1821. Tuition was $3.50 per term, and hoard was $1.25 per week. The academy continued with varied success until 1866, when the property was leased by the Christian Institute. In 1873 the Christian Institute moved to Andover, New Hampshire, and became Proctor Academy. The trustees reopened the academy but in 1878, the building was turned over to the town school district tor use as a high school. Eventually, the old building was moved back and renamed the Pickering School. Brewster Memorial Hall was built on the original site.

In 1887 the charter was amended and, as directed in the will of John Brewster, the name of the school was changed to Brewster Free Academy. A new campus consisting of forty acres of land sloping from Main Street to the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee was the site of the a new building. In 1890 the south wing of the new academic building was completed. Principal Edwin H. Lord and a faculty of two moved across the street to hold classes at the new location.

Brewster's business partner, Arthur Estabrook, was not to be outdone. In addition to a one hundred thousand dollar trust, he gave Estabrook House and four annex houses on Main Street, including Kimball House and Lord House. Additional acreage wa.s added with the acquisition of the Pavilion, later called the Kingswood Inn. The 250-room lakeshore hotel was razed to provide an unobstructed view of the lake.

The Academy Building was only four years old when it was destroyed by fire on November 3, 1903. The interior of the building was a mass of flames when the fire was discovered at 3:40 a.m. The building was a total loss, but the school did not miss a session. Temporary quarters were found in the town hall, library, Kimball House, and a remodeled icehouse moved up from the old Pavilion to be used as a chapel.

Work began immediately on the new building, and on November 1,1905, the present Academic Building was dedicated. Over the years a modem athletic field was added (1928), a new gymnasium constructed (1954), the Furber House purchased (1958), the Carpenter estate acquired (1966), the new library dedicated (1979), three new dormitories completed (1986), a fourth completed (1987), and a fifth (1988). In 1939 a tuition charge of two hundred dollars was approved, and Brewster was no longer a "free" academy. In 1965 Brewster returned to the status of an independent school. The old academy began its second hundred years with excellent facilities and a tradition of providing the best possible education for the young people who attend.