Sarah Porter MemorialMiss Sarah Porter, for whom the building is named, was the daughter of Noah Porter, pastor of this church from 1806-1866, and the sister of Noah, Jr., president of Yale College. While attending the Farmington Academy her father had helped to establish, she tutored young students with their studies and thus set the pattern she was to follow all her life. After teaching school in Springfield, MA for ten years, she returned to Farmington. In 1843, at the age of thirty, Miss Porter opened her own school for young ladies in the upper floor of the stone store, now located on Mill Lane. In 1850, the hotel that was built to accommodate passengers traveling on the Farmington Canal closed. Sarah Porter bought the hotel and relocated her school. Miss Porter's School continues to flourish today, attracting students from all over the world.
Upon her death in 1900, her former pupils, wanting to create a suitable memorial to her, contributed enough money to erect this building. In the program for the opening service held on October 28, 1902, appeared this statement: "This building is erected by her pupils, in honor of her wise, unwearied and noble endeavor to make real to them the Life Eternal."
In 1913, some 300 former students attended a celebration held in honor of the 100th anniversary of her birth. An article about the festivities in the Hartford Courant made clear that the building was erected "to the end that the residents, particularly the youth, of that community, may be led to strive for the ideals of citizenship and education taught and exemplified by the life of the said Sarah Porter." To this day the Porter Memorial is used not only by the church but by many other groups in town, just as she would have wanted. Do you think her portrait, hanging in the main room, has a look of satisfaction?