Fulton Hill Elementary School

From elementary school to Schoolhouse at Artisan Hill

This beautiful building opened in 1917 as elementary school, named for inventor and artist Robert S. Fulton. Years after it closed as a school, art patron, sculptor and Fulton Hill resident, Gus Garber, took possession, with a dream to create an artists’ haven. It survived for years as a boho underground studio and practice space for painters and bands.

After Gus’ death in 1992, one of his musician tenants, Margaret J. Freund and her partners, bought the school and set to work on its first major renovation. Her vision was Fulton Hill Studios, which opened in 1997, retaining all the schoolhouse charm — giant, mullioned windows, miles of blackboards, heart pine floors and terazzo hallways. For two decades, the majestic schoolhouse was home to more than 50 artists’ studios and small, creative businesses. Those tenants received many a visit from former students who wanted to see their old classrooms and tell stories of their school days.

2018 marked the start of another transformation, both for the building and the Greater Fulton community. Artisan Hill Apartment Community was conceived, adding new construction across the old, cobblestone street to create a larger campus, with the original schoolhouse becoming unique apartments and, of course, more artists’ studios on both sides of the project. Part of the restoration included a new slate roof — designed, as Margaret says, “to last the next 100 years.”