Sunday, March 6, 2011

The History of Our Schools: Pleasant Street School

Maude DeMaranville, photograph, early
20th century.
A young Maude DeMaranville captured
about the time of her graduation from
Middleborough High School in 1905.  The
subsequent year, she entered the public
school system as a teacher and remained
there for nearly half a century.  She was
remembered for "her quiet, gentle ways and
a stern look that captured the attention and
hearts of all her students."  She passed
away on April 10, 1978.
During the 1930s, a series of short informal histories of the various Middleborough school houses were compiled by J. Stearns Cushing, Superintendent of Middleborough Schools from 1927 until 1955.  Mr. Cushing prepared these histories for publication as a series in the Middleboro Gazette beginning on February 24, 1933.  With information culled largely from town reports, the series entitled "The History of Our Schools" sought to provide the community with a better understanding of the past history of its public school buildings. Cushing's history of the Pleasant Street School in North Middleborough is one of the shortest in his series, providing a brief outline of the construction details of the school and a listing of teachers through 1932.  Notable among these women was Maude DeMaranville of Lakeville.  Though Miss DeMaranville taught at a number of Middleborough schools including Thompsonville (1906), Soule (1911-12), Waterville (1912-15), and Thomatown (1915), she was most closely associted with the Pleasant Street School where she taught for 38 years (1917-54).  In 1973, at the behest of the North Middleboro Mothers' Club, the Pleasant Street School was renamed the Maude DeMaranville School in recognition of her commitment to the community's children.   

Pleasant Street School

At the annual [Middleborough town] meeting in 1902 it was voted to build two new houses for the Pleasant Street and Soule schools, and the matter was placed in the hands of the School Committee with instructions to procure plans, advertise for bid and award the contracts to the lowest bidders.  Acting according to these instructions, the contract was awarded for building the Pleasant Street house.  The cost of construction was as follows:

Appropriation  $2,500.00
Sale of property  14.25
Total  $2,514.25

Lot  $70.00
Building contract  1,535.00
Out buildings, etc.  47.00
Cellar and grading  147.42
Desks  124.62
Heating  ventilating  182.05
Curtains  17.66
Blackboards  11.15
Fencing lot  123.74
Plans, surveying, etc.  98.00
Total $2,356.64
Unexpended $157.61

The Committee were able to secure the services of a competent well digger before the winter set in and this part of the work was not completed.

The list of teachers for this school building follows:

Lena M. Baldwin

Lucy E. Merrihew

Alberta C. Remick

Gertrude M. Coombs

Myra A. Andrews

Maude DeMaranville

The roll of teachers following the period covered by Cushing's history is as follows:

Virginia C. Smith

Margaret J. Walsh

Jane A. Olson

Marcia L. Roy

Virginia A. Cahoon

Joan C. Tripp

Throughout much of its history, the Pleasant Street School housed multiple elementary grades, principally the 4th, 5th and 6th grades for North Middleborough.  Continued rationalization of the public school elementary grades, however, resulted in Pleasant Street housing North Middleborough's second graders through much of the late 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s.  In 1974 when the addition to the Henry B. Burkland School was opened in Middleborough, many of the upper elementary grades were transferred there from North Midleborough and Pleasant Street was given over to use as a kindergarten.  It remained in this role until May, 1981, when it was permanently closed.

Cushing, J. Stearns. "The History of Our Schools: Pleasant Street School". Photostatic copy of original manuscript, 1932-33. Author's collection.
Middleborough Town Reports, 1932-81.


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