There were eight rural one room schoolhouses in Chesterfield Township. Each school was its own school district with a board of education comprising of three men including a superintendent and treasurer. Each school district developed a nickname. Chesterfield School District no. 1 was named Weller School; no. 2 Chapel School, no. 3 Old Town Hall School, (Both Chapel and Old Town School were incorporated into the Hatheway Institute) no. 2 Matthews later Milton School, no. 3 Bates School, no. 4 Salt River School, no. 5 Burdon School, no. 6 Jones later Green School, no. 7 Brooks School and no. 8 Quick Road School (25 Mile Rd).
Many of these schools existed as informal log cabin schoolhouses decades before they were formally established as districts. For example, Salt River School District was established in 1861 but there are published reminisces of teachers teaching there in the early 1840s. Matthews School in Milton can be dated to before 1834 and was the location of the first township government meeting in 1842.
How old is Weller School?
There are no existing records to give us the exact date Chesterfield District Number 1 was established but we know that District no. 2 was created on March 25, 1848. The original school was probably a log cabin and built in the late 1830s to early 1840s. A more improved school structure would have replaced this cabin. It is presumed that the existing schoolhouse was built around 1891 replacing an earlier frame school building. Classes were taught continuously in this school until 1954.
With school consolidation, Weller School became part of the L’Anse Creuse School District along with other “one room schools.” In 1954, the school district combined the students of Weller, Hartway, Bates, Milton, and several other schools in the newly built Chesterfield Elementary School on 23 Mile Road. The Odrobina family owned the schoolhouse for almost forty years and used it as a real estate office.
In 1996, the Odrobina family donated the Weller schoolhouse to the Chesterfield Historical Society. The school and the outhouse were moved from the original location of Gratiot and 22 Mile Road to the Historical Village in August 1996. The outhouse from the school has been rebuilt and stands alongside the school building. An annex was added to the back of the schoolhouse for a furnace, restroom and storage. The bell tower was rebuilt in 2021 in honor of the 25th anniversary of the schoolhouse move.
Why it the school nicknamed Weller?
Elisha Weller owned the land on which Chesterfield District Number 1 Fractional School was situated. In May 1831, Weller purchased three 80 acre parcels of farmland in what would become Chesterfield Township from the United States Government.
1933 students and teacher, Chesterfield School District No. 1
Weller School at the original location, Gratiot and 22 Mile Road
Weller School being moved to the historic village in 1996