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Brooks Academy Museum

Brooks Academy Museum

Sidney Brooks was born in Harwich in 1813. He was educated at Phillips Academy in Andover, and went to Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts. After graduation, he taught at Chatham Academy. In 1843 he began plans to establish a private academy in Harwich. There was no public higher education beyond the elementary level in place at that time.

The school was to be built in a pine grove opposite the First Congregational Church. The architect for the project was Sidney’s cousin, Luther Gifford. The plan was for a restrained and elegant Doric-style Greek revival building. After teaching all day in Chatham, Sidney worked, mostly by moonlight, laying out the grounds and walkways and selecting the trees to be removed.

The ceremony laying the cornerstone for Pine Grove Seminary was held August 3, 1844. In the cornerstone, under the northeast corner, was deposited a glass jar containing the names of the building committee, copies of Cape and Boston newspapers, and a list of the original subscribers. Subscribers each had bought shares in the school to finance its construction.


Brooks Academy Museum

80 Parallel Street, Harwich, MA 02645


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