Wykeham Rise History

Founded in 1902, the Wykeham Rise School thrived for most of the 20th century on 27 rolling acres at the center of Washington, CT. Fanny Davies, a Latin instructor at Choate Rosemary Hall, established the school as an academic and cultural bastion for the daughters of well-heeled Eastern seaboard families. Many of them went on to one of the “Seven Sisters” colleges, and to prepare them, the school featured a mix of classical education and a broad range of the domestic and cultural offerings. Among them were cooking, knitting, fencing, riflery, pottery, theater, dance and musical instruction. Core academics included enough literature and math to ensure that many of their alumnae matriculated to impressive colleges, adding the Ivy League to the Seven Sisters as admission policies eventually opened up to women. The school closed briefly after WWII and ultimately shuttered permanently in 1989, but its close-knit alumnae still gather annually in June and in 2009 a group of them toured the former school buildings, voicing their enthusiasm that the premises would again become a home to lifelong learners—a key tenant of Wykeham Rise Inn and its formidable activity programming. The legacy of the Wykeham Rise School lives on through the vibrant women who’ve passed through its doors and through their website, wykehamriseschool.com, which chronicles many of their stories.