The Winchendon School

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The Winchendon School
Fine Arts Studios, The Winchendon School, Winchendon MA.jpg
Fine Arts Studios
Achieve Academic Success
Winchendon, MA, USA
Type Private, boarding
Established 1926
Head of School John A. Kerney
Enrollment 250
Campus 236 acres (960,000 m2)
Color(s) Dark Green and White         
Endowment $20 million (as of June, 2012)
Tuition (boarding) $42,500, (day) $24,000

The Winchendon School is a private day and boarding school located in Winchendon, Massachusetts. Winchendon was founded in 1926 and is a college preparatory day and boarding school for boys and girls in grades 9 through post-graduate.


Williams College alumnus Robert Marr's seasoned prep school experience at Deerfield and earlier at Vermont Academy provided the perfect combination of skill and energy to take the school into its permanent home. As new Headmaster in Newport during the 1959-60 and 1960-61 academic years, Marr maintained the Hatch tutorial model while introducing his own leadership brand. Finding a new campus location emerged as an increasing focus for the new Head. His odyssey criss-crossed New England, visiting a fabulous farm-estate near Williamstown, potential farm compound setting in the Berkshires, properties in Royalston...while, finally, serendipitously coming across Winchendon’s present 220 acre campus-the former legendary Toy Town Tavern. Marr persuasively took his case to Simplex Time Recorder President Curtis J. Watkins, civic-minded owner of the resort. A lease- purchase option deal was struck. The school moved in summer 1961 to the setting-with its views of Mount Monadnock, Lake Watatic, as well as its own Donald Ross 18 hole golf course. Thanks to a major donation in 1963 by Winchendon's 1962 graduate Walter Buhl Ford, III (1943–2010) great-grandson of Ford Motor Company founder Henry Ford, the school purchased the property and began at this location (1961–2011).

The Winchendon campus' history is also the stuff of local lore—the first farmhouse (the front portion of Ford Hall today) was built in 1786 by Simeon Stearns. The property subsequently became the Wyman Farm before its 1899 acquisition by the town of Winchendon’s world-renowned wooden toy magnate and philanthropist Morton E. Converse, who converted the farmhouse in 1912 into an expanded children-friendly resort, which gained fame throughout the East and attracted such guests as President William Howard Taft, Thomas A. Edison, Joseph P. Kennedy and family from Brookline, MA, and artist Norman Rockwell and wife.

The opening of the freshly relocated and newly renamed Winchendon School in the fall of 1961 seemed seamlessly managed. Teachers like the late Charles Dillaway (Bowdoin graduate and Maine campus hold-over) and English teacher Clifford Eriksen provided colorful teaching in the traditional Hatch mold. The seasoned leadership of Bob Marr and his able Assistant Head (and former Vermont Academy colleague) Frederick L. Zins enabled newly arrived students like me to sense the great traditions of Wassookeag School and Hatch-Newport – while also experiencing the exuberance of a revitalized school and its own setting.

Marr's tenure (1959–1973), was followed by Lewis V. Posich (1973–1982), Stephen V.A. Samborski (1982–1988), J. William LaBelle (1988–2008), and current Head John A. Kerney.

Notable alumni[edit]


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Coordinates: 42°40′28.0″N 72°2′16.3″W / 42.674444°N 72.037861°W / 42.674444; -72.037861