The Old Academy

The Old Academy is an unusual Greek Revival temple front structure built in 1837 to replace the original Framingham Academy erected in 1792 as part of Benjamin Franklin’s “academy movement.” It was used by the Framingham Schools from 1851 to 1915 when the classes moved next door to the Jonathan Maynard building.

Framingham's Historic Old Academy Building

The Old Academy was constructed by Dexter and Adam Hemenway to house the Framingham Academy in 1837. It was used by the Framingham School department from 1851 to 1915, and housed exhibits in honor of the Town’s bicentennial in 1900. The Framingham Historical Society has leased the building from the town since 1916. The building was documented in measured drawings and photographs by the Historical American Buildings Survey (HABS) during one of its first surveys in 1934.

The Old Academy is an unusual Greek Revival temple front building with both walls and freestanding columns built of random coursed rubble stone and gable end of flush boarding. Windows have six-over-six double-hung sash. Typical of many traditional school buildings, there are doors on either end of the portico, which could be used to segregate boys and girls or class groups. The doors lead to vestibules that contain a cloak room on one side and staircase on the other. As recoded in the HABS drawings, the interior consisted of a single large classroom space on the first and second floors, with windows on three sides.

On both the exterior and interior, the Academy retains most of its historic integrity, including the blackboards and the light fixtures. Any future plans should include requirements to preserve both the interior and exterior finishes, though temporary partitions could be constructed within the larger spaces.