History of Choate Rosemary Hall
Vision & Leadership 1890-1915
The Founders of Rosemary Hall and The Choate School
In 1890, Mary Atwater Choate established Rosemary Hall, a school for girls, on the family property known as Rosemary Farm in Wallingford, Connecticut, where Mrs. Choate and her husband, Judge William Gardner Choate, spent their summers. In 1896, Judge Choate founded The Choate School for boys.
Located on the NW corner of Christian and N. Elm Streets, Atwater House was the birthplace of Rosemary Hall. The original structure was demolished in 1960 to make way for the present Atwater and Mead dormitories.
The birthplace of The Choate School, Squire Stanley was moved 300 feet back to its present location in 1987.
Headmistress Caroline Ruutz-Rees
In 1890 Mary Atwater Choate hired British-born Caroline Ruutz-Rees to become Headmistress of Rosemary Hall, a position she held until 1938. In 1900, Ruutz-Rees moved Rosemary Hall to Greenwich, Connecticut, where it would remain for the next seven decades before moving back to Wallingford in 1971.
St. Bede’s Chapel
Rosemary Hall girls toted stones from an adjoining farm for the Chapel foundation. Rosemarians conducted daily chapel services in their uniforms, including tams. Names of former graduates are painted in gold on the rafters. The Chapel’s stained glass windows, imported from London, are world class.
Headmaster George St. John
In 1908, Harvard–educated English teacher George St. John became Headmaster of The Choate School, a position he would hold for the next 40 years. By the end of his remarkable tenure, the campus had grown and was distinguished by grand vistas as well as the red brick Georgian-style buildings that are still on campus today.
Hill House was completed in 1911. It was the first substantial institutional building completed for the School under George St. John. In 1913 the Dining Hall was added on to the original building. In addition to dining space, it was used, much as it is today, for special occasions like the Last Hurrah.