The stone schoolhouse

A Brief History of Stonehouse Hill

The old stone school house sets the tone as it proudly resides not far from the entrance to Schoolhouse Lane. It's builder, Nathanial Percy, was a local farmer who worked much of the adjacent land and owned what is now the Stonehouse Hill barn. He and his neighbors built the stone schoolhouse in 1838; it remained active until 1929. The building was also used as a town meeting hall and a church. In 1945, Richard and Jane McLanathan purchased it from Nathanial Percy’s son, also named Nathanial, and made it into a rustic summer escape from their busy lives in Boston and New York.

Richard was an art historian, museum curator, and author; Jane was a textile designer. In the 1960’s they built the stucco addition and the screened porch. In the dappled shade of large old trees, amidst ledges and rock outcrops, they created a beautiful rhododendron plantation and encouraged Nature to develop her own carpet of ferns, wildflowers, lichens, mosses, and delicate groundcovers. They cherished all this natural beauty that surrounded them and wished it to be preserved.

The McLanathans passed away in 1996 and 2004, and, having no heirs, they willed that all proceeds from the sale of their possessions and the land benefit the Phippsburg Fire and Rescue. The McLanathans’ spirit lives on in the old schoolhouse, the barn, and the natural beauty of the land. And most truly, it resides in the hearts of the new owners, Tom and Helena Wirth, and in their love for Nature and Art. (You can read more about their restoration of the stone schoolhouse on the Philosophy page.)