Hoosick Township Historical Society

Newsletter - June 2003

Editor: Phil Leonard
Museum Curator: Charles Filkins
Louis Miller Museum (518) 686-4682

Old Stone School House
You pass it on Route 7 in front of the Stewart's Shops. Few schools were built of stone and very few remain. Another exists in Bolton Landing on Lake George.
What is the history of this landmark? It was built in 1842 through the efforts of Mrs. George Tibbits, wife of the largest land owner in the area at this time. They had ten tenant farmers on their land. Mrs. Tibbits felt that the children of these farmers should have some formal education. She choose the crossroads in "shingle hollow" since it was the center of the working farms.(Route 22 & 7) She hired John Grant, a stone mason, who had settled in the area when he came over from Ireland in 1840. His great grandson was William Cronin, the oldest and longest serving member of the Hoosick Falls Fire Department. Bill died at 95 last October. The school was a private school becoming District #16 by 1854. The last classes were held in 1917 with Belle (Prebble) Webster, Rudy Marshall and Charles Prebble a few of the students in this school. In the 1920s, a band of gypsies occupied the building during the summer. Madame Lillian told fortunes, ,at the school, for a fee. The group stopped coming in the early 1940's. The school was empty until 1976 when it was used as a tourist information booth for two years. It has been restored in the last few years

Harriet Hoctor
Harriet Hoctor was born in Hoosick Falls on September 25, 1905. Her family lived at 148 Church Street. She started dancing at a very young age. Ms. Hoctor was double jointed and could take her hair ribbons off with her feet. She danced all over the country in vaudeville and shared billing with performers like Jack Benny, George Jessel and George and Gracie Allen. During the 1920s, Harriet Hoctor appeared on Broadway as a ballet dancer in several plays. In the 1930s, she appeared in Billy Rose's Night Club and received rave reviews. Ms. Hoctor started a ballet school in Boston in 1945 and ran this school until 1974. The school was internationally known. Ms. Hoctor appeared in two movies "The Great Ziegfeld" and in 1937 danced with Fred Astaire in the movie "Shall We Dance". She died in 1977 in Virginia where she had retired and is buried in the St. Mary's Cemetery, Hoosick Falls.

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