It has been over 130 years since a successful entrepreneur, reflecting late in life upon his wealth and the education of the young, set about establishing the first free kindergarten in the United States.
Social vision was not a product of Samuel L. Hill's accumulated wealth. When he first came to the Florence meadows in 1841 at the age of 47, he immediately joined the Northampton Association of Education and Industry, a short-lived cooperative effort of the young community. The association failed, but Mr. Hill continued to manufacture silk, organizing the Nonotuck Silk Company.
Through the years, courses were changed and new ones added to meet the interests of the students. While interest in the Domestic Science program has diminished, sewing, weaving and woodworking have remained in popular demand. In the past twenty-five years, there has been a revival of interest in handicrafts. At Hill Institute, classes have been offered on metal work, basketry, cake-decorating, hammered aluminum, net weaving, smocking, rug braiding, spinning, macrame and crewel.
Hill Institute is a private school located in Florence, MA.