Dartmouth College traces its roots to an 18th Century school for Native Americans in a section of Lebanon that later became the town of Columbia.
Moor’s Charity School was founded in 1754 by Congregational minister Eleazar Wheelock to provide a Christian education to Native Americans and to English students who would serve Native American tribes as teachers and missionaries. The school was named after donor Joshua Moor of Mansfield.
Classes moved from Wheelock’s home a year later to a schoolhouse that was remodeled in the 1850s, and today stands a short distance from the church and Columbia’s town hall. The schoolhouse was moved several times, and was placed in its current location in 1948.
Moor’s School had difficulty recruiting students in its Connecticut location, and moved to New Hampshire in 1769.
A plaque near the schoolhouse entrance reads, “Moor’s Charity School, 1755-1769, Columbia, Connecticut. Proudly remembered for 200 years by generations of Dartmouth men as seeding ground for Dartmouth College and and faithful steward of Eleazar Wheelock’s generous and crusading spirit. May 17, 1969.”
The school is also honored with a granite monument in front of the Congregational Church on Route 87. An inscription on the monument reads, “In 1755, Eleazar Wheelock, DD, minister at Lebanon Crank (now Columbia) founded near this spot Moor’s Indian Charity School. In 1769 the school was removed to Hanover, New Hampshire. From this beginning arose Dartmouth College, Eleazar Wheelock, president 1769-1779. Erected by the Connecticut Society of the Colonial Dames of America, 1949.”
Columbia honors its war veterans and other public servants with memorials in its historic town center.
Columbia’s veterans are honored with memorials in front of its Yeoman’s Hall municipal building on Jonathan Trumbull Highway (Route 87), near the intersection with Middletown Road (Route 66).
The largest memorial is a Honor Roll monument, dedicated in 1956, listing Columbia’s World War II veterans. The monument, with an engraved eagle on its southwest face, lists about 120 names on its southwest and northeast faces.
Next to the World War II memorial is a 1919 Honor Roll monument to the town’s World War I veterans. The monument, featuring a bronze plaque mounted on a boulder, lists 18 names. The plaque also bears a dedication reading, “In honored memory of the men of Columbia who served during the World War.”
Near the war monuments, a memorial honors State Trooper Russell A. Bagshaw, a Columbia native killed in the line of duty in 1991 at the age of 28. Trooper Bagshaw interrupted a burglary at a Windham sporting goods store, and was ambushed in his cruiser.
On the nearby town green, a monument dedicated in 1997 marks the 50th anniversary of the Columbia Volunteer Fire Department.