When Lawrence Academy purchased The Country Day School of the Holy Union, the acquisition represented, in a sense, a return to campus. The latest property to join the Lawrence Academy campus is located at 14 Main St., abutting the Lawrence Academy property at the eastern edge. It was originally the homestead of Dr. Oliver Prescott, Revolutionary War veteran and prominent Groton physician. When his house burned in 1815, he offered the property to his grand-niece, Miss Susan Prescott, who built the current Prescott residence in 1820. Susan Prescott, who attended Groton Academy (as LA was first known) starting at the age of eight, was hired by Westford Academy in 1819 as an assistant teacher in the “young ladies’ department.” She was then hired as a preceptress at Groton Academy and served from 1821 to 1823. At the end of her tenure, she approached her alma mater and new neighbor asking to create a young ladies’ school; having received a formidable education at Groton Academy herself, she was a firm believer that education was a “beneficial activity” for young ladies. Upon approval, she then built a second building at her home on Main Street to use as the school and opened her academy in 1823. Miss Prescott’s Ladies’ Seminar attracted young women from all over New England for study in the languages, music, and the arts. Among the notable students was writer and transcendentalist Margaret Fuller, whose family had recently moved to Groton. Fuller wanted to attend George B. Emerson’s School for Girls in Boston, but her parents opted for Miss Prescott’s. Ms. Fuller later said of Prescott in her autobiographical story, Marianna, “I really love and admire her, though I did not intend to like her at all.”
Existing buildings as they stand today.
Miss Prescott’s school operated until Prescott married John Wright and moved to Worcester in 1833. A series of homeowners occupied the residence after that, but the property returned to academic use in 1901. The Lowthorpe School of Landscape Architecture opened under the leadership of Mrs. Edward Gilchrist-Lowe, teaching women landscape architecture, gardening, and horticulture, until it was absorbed into the Rhode Island School of Design program in 1945. The new building that Prescott built as her school was moved from this site to another spot on Hollis Street in Groton, where it stands today as a private home; the residential house she rebuilt in 1820 still stands, at the front of the Country Day School campus. After the Lowthorpe School was incorporated into the RISD system, the house and outbuildings that Gilchrist-Lowe built were used as a convent for the Holy Union Order, which opened the Sacred Heart Country Day School. The Country Day School, educating children in grades K-8, operated until 2016. Sources: Mass. Historical Commission Inventory Form B; Jubilee of Lawrence Academy at Groton, Mass, July 12, 1854; The History of Lawrence Academy at Groton, 1792 to 1992; Margaret Fuller: A New American Life by Megan Marshall
School moved to Hollis Street; now a private residence.
FALL 2018 LAWRENCE ACADEMY 11
Lawrence Academy's annual alumni magazine.