Three schools have occupied the site in Canajoharie known as Academy Lot. The first school built there was The Canajoharie Academy, built in 1824. Notable women’s rights advocate Susan B. Anthony worked there as preceptress from 1848-1850. That school burned down and then a limestone building was constructed. The present building, third on the site, was built in 1892 using some of the same stone from the previous building. E.J. Ellithorpe was the contractor and J.R. Sloan the mason. This building served as a school for over 100 years. Because a new high school had been built, the last high school class graduated from this school in 1929. The building is on the National Register and overlooks downtown Canajoharie.
Up until recently, the school pictured here was used for some elementary classes. Today, a new addition has been added to the modern elementary school located on the eastern side of the village and the old limestone structure is no longer occupied by children.
West Hill School Timeline
1824-1876: The Canajo-harie Academy in existence as a private school
1848-1850: Suffragette Susan B. Anthony serves as director of the Canajoharie Academy’s Women’s Department.
1876: Local officials vote to consolidate the school into the public school system.
1891: Because of growth, vote to erect new and larger school at the site.
1892: West Hill School, designed by noted architect Archimedes Russell, built for about $20,000. It serves as the village’s high school
1896: School appointed by the Department of Public Instruction to conduct a teacher’s training class, which provides many teachers for the local one-room schoolhouses.
1929: Construction completed on new Erie Boulevard high school. West Hill serves as an elementary school
1944: Canajoharie School District centralized.
1952: East Hill Elementary School opened.
1996: CCS District voters approve construction of $1.4 million middle school addition to East Hill Elementary.
1998: Construction of Canajoharie Middle School adjacent to East Hill Elementary School completed, decreasing the number of grades and classes housed at the West Hill Elementary School.
1998: CCS District voters OK plans to build a $17.3 million high school above the East Hill School.
1999: Groundbreaking takes place for new Canajoharie High School.
Fall 2001: State Education Department OKs voter-approved plans for construction of new bus garage and East Hill School addition to house the remainder of grades at West Hill School.
Fall 2002: First classes held at new Canajoharie High School.
November 2002: Erie Boulevard high school is razed.
June 2002: Announcement that West Hill School has been named to the state and national Registers of Historic Places.
December 2002: With completion of East Hill School addition, kindergarten classes move out of West Hill School, ending its service as a public school building.
2004: West Hill School sold to private owner, Schoolhouse Lofts.
2005: West Hill School sold to private owner George Czachor.
West Hill School or “Canajoharie Academy”
What is now known as the West Hill School was first the Canajoharie Academy. The academy was first incorporated in 1826. The first building was wooden. The stone building was built in 1892 and designed by Archimedes Russell in the modified Romanesque revival style. It is representative of his institutional designs of this period. Susan B. Anthony was a teacher and head of the female department at Canajoharie Academy from 1846-1851. Her uncle Reed, a prominent Palatine-Canajoharie businessman and trustee of the school, helped secure the position for her. During this time, she became involved with the temperance movement and interested in abolitionism though not yet involved actively. One of students at the academy while she was a teacher was Senator James Arkell. Eventually, the school became a public school for the town of Canajoharie.