Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Rotary Mill, 1935


The Rotary Mill, Middleborough Rotary, Middleborough, MA, advertising
card, 1935.
Built about 1932 and named for the newly-constructed rotary upon which it was situated, the Rotary Mill with its distinctive windmill quickly became a landmark for passing motorists, as well as a convenient stopping place for lunch.  This card produced in early 1935 clearly sought to appeal to motorists, advertising the restaurant's convenient location on routes 28, 18 and 101 (the predecessor of present-day route 44).  Later that same year, the establishment was acquired by Howard Johnson's who continued to operate it under the Rotary Mill name.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

View from Barden Hill, 1915


View of Middleborough Center from Barden Hill Standpipe, Middleborough, MA,
photograph by G. W. Davidson, 1915

One benefit of the construction of a new concrete standpipe on Barden Hill in 1915 was the vista which it afforded from the catwalk which circled it partway up its side.  At that time, this photograph picturing the view towards Middleborough center was captured.  Still recognizable today are Middleborough Town Hall and the Central Congregational Church.  The steeples of both the Central Baptist and Methodist Churches also provide handy landmarks, although these have since been replaced or redesigned.  Most noticeable is the Barden Hill standpipe's predecessor, the Forest Street standpipe, which is the cylindrical tower which interrupts the skyline in the distance.

A new standpipe to replace the existing one then situated on Forest Street had been contemplated as early as 1892 when Dr. Edward S. Hathaway offered to sell a lot on his highest ground in the proposed Fairview subdivision (which appears as the large cleared area just left of center in the photograph) to the Fire District. Though initially receptive, Middleborough's Water Commissioners the following year demurred, remarking that “it is possible that when a location is finally made it may be best to accept a lot offered by E[verett] Robinson, Esq., located near Wareham street, at the top of the hill.”  The Robinson lot was 34 feet higher than the base of the Forest Street standpipe and thus presented the opportunity to construct an equally effective reservoir but of limited height. Clearly sensing an opportunity, Robinson had Chester Weston survey the lot during the spring of 1895.

Eventually, the Barden Hill site was acquired from Robinson on January 18, 1896, and a 12-inch water main extension constructed from Fairview Street up Wareham Street to the top of the District’s lot. “We have a lot, all paid for, and we have a 12-inch pipe carried up the hill and into the lot, all paid for, which is of but little service, except with [a] … reservoir” to supplement Forest Street.  Despite these preparations, it would be nearly another twenty years, however, before the Barden Hill standpipe was constructed. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The History of Our Schools: School Street School


"School Street School, Middleboro, Mass.", postcard, John H. Frank, publisher,
Middleborough, MA, c. 1910

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. Of all the schools documented by Cushing, the School Street School was perhaps the best known to his readers, having served the downtown Middleborough area for over three-quarters of a century.  Notably, the School Street School history is the sole history among Cushing's work to consider not only the existing building, but its predecessor as well

School Street School

The present School Street schoolhouse is now serving its twenty-fifth anniversary year.  I believe however that any historical sketch of the building should not omit its predecessor which served so prominently in education in our town.  Therefore, I shall give a brief history of the Old School Street building as a preface to that of the new school.

The old School Street building at one time contained all the public schools maintained in Middleboro [center].  The building represented the consolidation of three schoolhouses, one located at the corner of Wareham and Wood Streets, another on South Main Street near the site of the residence of the late Hon. M. H. Cushing, and the third on North Main Street on the land now belonging to the Peirce estate and known as the "Orchard Lot".

The report of the school committee for 1850-51 contains the following record of the change: "District No. 37 and a portion of No. 1 have be united to No. 18 the past year.  They have unitedly built a large and commodious schoolhouse, which, with the grounds an improvements cost more than six thousand dollars, making it one of the best schoolhouses in this section of the state.  The house is intended for grade schools, with departments for the primary, intermedial, and grammar grades.  The winter schools commenced in the new house with the Misses Potter as teachers in the primary and intermedial departments, and Ephraim Ward, Jr., in the grammar department, who was succeeded with expiration of engagement by John Willis, whose term has not expired."

The committee reported in March, 1852, that the whole number attending school in District No. 18 during the summer term was 173.  The primary classes were taught at this time by Miss Sarah T. Holmes, who was succeeded the following year by Miss Mary L. Tinkham who completed thirty years of teaching in the School Street building resigning in 1880.  Other teachers whose names are connected with the period when the School Street School building was the only one at the Center are Amos Sherman Jr. who had charge of the grammar department in the late fifties and won much popularity; Ichabod F. Atwood, late of Rock, who was principal about 1861; Matthew H. Cushing about 1867; and Miss Harriet C. Barden who was teacher in the intermedial and grammar departments for about sixteen years, from 1860 to 1876, when she became the wife of the late Joseph E. Beals.  Misses Marion G. Pratt (afterwards Mrs. David G. Pratt), Annie A. Lovell and Lucia A. Drake were also among the teachers in the  different grades in the building.

Upon the completion of the Union Street building in 1875 the primary grades were removed to that building and in 1887 when the High School was completed the grammar grades were removed leaving only the intermediate grades.  In 1888 the front entrances were altered, the winding stairs removed, and the entrances to the upper and lower floors made entirely separate; a furnace was also substituted for stove.  In 1895 the first and second grades were transferred from the Union Street School to the School Street building and the third, fourth and fifth from it to Union Street.

During the period that the new School Street building was under construction the old house was moved to the rear of the lot and fitted to hold three grades while the remainder of the pupils were placed in the two rooms fitted up in the [Congregational] Chapel building.  Later [the old school] building was moved o its present location on Center Street and is known as the Briggs block.

In the report for the year 1906 we find the following report of the new building: "The most important action by the town the past year in the matter of school accommodations was the appointment of a committee to investigate the need of better school accommodations and the subsequent action voting to erect an eight-room brick building on the site of the old building on School Street.  The committee having charge of the erection of the new building consists of Hon. David G. Pratt, William A. Andrews and William M. H.  The committee succeeded in placing the contract so as to keep within the appropriation and the building in every way well equipped for school purposes and an ornament to the town, will be occupied at the opening of the fall term in September  The building is being erected by the firm of F. P. Cummings Co., of Boston according to plans and specifications of Cooper & Bailey, Boston architects"

"It will be an eight-room brick building, with stone trimmings and slate roof, 80 x 85 feet, each room being 28 x 32 feet, 12 feet in height, and capable of seating 48 pupils."

"The teachers' entrance will be in front, the boys' entrance being on the left side and the girls' entrance on the right.  The blackboards will be of the best slate.  The building will be fitted for gas and electricity and a complete system of telephones and electric bells will be installed.  The Fuller-Warren combination furnace and steam heat and ventilation will be used, the rooms being heated by hot air, and the corridors and teachers' rooms by steam.  In order to have the work satisfactorily performed, the building committee secured Mr. John A. Jackson of Brockton as local supervisor."  The building was finished in April 1907 but was not used until September of that year.

Space will not permit the printing of the names of all teachers who have served in this building so the names of the Principals will be here listed.

1907-09
Carl D. Lytle

1910
R. L. Taylor, Jr.

1911-13
Frank E. Perkins

1914
Harry L. Edgcomb

1915
Fred N. O'Coin

1916
Howard Wilbur

1917-18
William L. Bailey

1919-20
Ralph B. Low

1921-23
George N. Hazard

1924-26
George W. Emerson

1927
Russell B. Marshall

1928-32
Lottie N. Lang

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

1933-39
Lottie N. Lang

1939-42
Donald T. Welch

1944-46
Samuel L. Abbott, Jr.

1946-57
Edward Sawicki

1957-86
Robert W. Gross
(In 1961, the School Street and Union Street Schools were unified as the Central School District of Middleborough at which time Gross was named to serve as principal of the district).

1986-91
Jeffrey C. Stevens


Sources:
Cushing, J. Stearns. "The History of Our Schools: Pleasant Street School". Photostatic copy of original manuscript, 1932-33. Author's collection.
Middleborough Town Reports, 1932-90.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The History of Our Schools: Thompsonville


Facade, Thompsonville School, Thompson
Street, Middleborough, MA, photographed
by Mike Maddigan, March 18, 2011
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. As far as can be ascertained, the Thompsonville School on Thompson Street was built some time about or before 1854, and it was the oldest serving schoolhouse at the time Cushing penned his history in 1932-33.  Under the present ownership of the East Middleborough 4-H, the "little red schoolhouse" remains Middleborough's best preserved one-room schoolhouse open to the public for events and meetings.

Thompsonville

The Thompsonville school building is the oldest building now [1933] in use in the school system.  Built in the early fifties this building [has] served the children of the Thompsonville section for about eighty years. Although the records do not show particulars as to the building of this school we find in the report of 1881 that "The house was built about twenty-seven years ago, and has the same desks and seats (forty in number) with which it was then furnished.  It is thought, however, that they will answer for some time to come.  The ceiling needs to be replastered at once, and also a part of the walls.  It greatly needs paint within and without, which will doubtless be received during the next vacation.  A good woodhouse is not wanting, and the enclosed yard is all that could be desired."

The school was one of the largest at the time and according to the records was one of the best if not the best school in the town.  From the report of 1855 we find that "This is one of our largest and best schools and with the deep interest taken in the school by the parents we trust it will continue."  That interest evidently did continue for in 1859 we find that "This school reflects great credit upon both its teachers and amply vindicates its right to the high reputation it has long had.  Singularly fortunate in its teachers, this school has few equals, and no superior in town."  Again we find in the report of 1866 that "The pupils show that they appreciate the value of a common school education by remaining in school at a more advanced age than in any other school in town."

The Summer term of 1854 was taught by Miss Adeline V. Wood who was "aware of the duties and obligations of a teacher and endeavored to perform them."

The Winter term was taught by Mr. A. H. Soule whose methods evidently were progressive and a radical change from the older method of teaching for the reports tell us that "the progress of the school was impeded for a time, in consequence of a part of the parents and scholars having prejudged their teacher, and some made objection that his method of teaching was new, that they could not understand it, did not see the use of it etc.  The method that he pursued was to teach his pupils to give a reason for each process, to tell what they knew and how they knew it, thereby teaching them principles, developing the reasoning powers, and educating the whole mind, instead of burdening the memory with abstract rules."

The following year, 1855, the Summer term was taught by Miss Julia M. Caswell and the Winter term by Mr. John Nutting.  No report or record can be found of the teachers of the next two years but beginning with the year 1858 the teachers of the school have been as follows:

1858
Elizabeth King
Emery White

1859
Miss A. M. White
Frank M. Sprague

1860
Mattie Lane
Frank M. Sprague

1861
Mattie Lane
Henry L. Clapp

1862
Augusta W. Williams
John T. Prince

1863
Lucy S. Higgins
Emma C. Brownell

1866
Phebe W. Tracy
Robert P. Harlow

1867
Mary E. Thompson

1868
Phebe A. Alden
W. D. Cornish

1869
Lida J. Parker

1870
Lucretia G. Osborn

1871
Mary E. Thompson

1872
Mary E. Thompson

1873
Mary E. Thompson

1874
Mary E. Thompson

1875
Mary E. Thompson
Ella S. Thompson

1876
Ella S. Thompson

1877
W. Anna Harding

1878
Cora F. Ellis

1879
Clara A. Hagen

1880
Celia F. Stacy
Ida E. Andrews

1881
Annie E. Leach
Gertrude Blackmar

1882
Charlotte C. Nichols
Laura L. Harden

1883
Estelle L. Whitney

1884
Estelle L. Whitney
Hattie L. Blandin
Emma C. Sprague
Annie B. Parker

1885
Annie B. Parker
Nannie M. Morse
Mary A. Livingstone

1886
Mary A. Livingstone
Annie H. Weston

1887
Annie H. Weston
Gertrude M. Robinson

1888
Gertrude M. Robinson
H. Gertrude Holmes

1889
H. Gertrude Holmes

1890
Susan M. Pattangall
Jenny M. Clark

1891-1902
Mary E. Deane

1903-04
Helen A. Hammond

1905
Alice B. LeBaron

1906
Maude DeMaranville

1907
Mabel Morey

1908
Dorothy Shaw

1908-09
Mertie A. Shaw

1909-10
Alice S. Howes

1911
Agnes Fenno

1912-13
Edith M. Eldridge

1914
Mabel E. Stearns

1915
Flora A. M. Moore

1916-17
Mary D. Begley

1918
Mildred I. O'Donnell

1919
Elisabeth W. McGlone

1919-20
Mary E. Deane

1921
Lillian G. Powers
Consuelo R. Goodwin

1922
Ruth S. Sanford

1923-28
Blanche K. Howell

1929-32
Leah M. Boutin

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

1933-34
Leah M. Boutin

1934-36
Marianne Medeiros

1936-38
Florence L. Giberti

The Thompsonville School was not reopened following the 1937-38 academic year "due to the lack of sufficient number of children ...and [that it] could not be economically continued in use."  Though its closure at the time was reported as only being temporary, the school in fact never reopened.


Sources:
Cushing, J. Stearns. "The History of Our Schools: Pleasant Street School". Photostatic copy of original manuscript, 1932-33. Author's collection.
Middleborough Town Reports, 1932-38.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The History of Our Schools: West Side School


West Side School, West End Avenue, Middleborough, MA, cabinet card, 1890s.
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. Much can be added to Cushing's history of the West Side School, including its closure and subsequent rehabilitation as a private home by William Fuller of Middleborough.  For the moment, in addition to a few short background notes, Cushing's brief consideration of the only school ever to be located on the West Side will need to suffice.  In the future, it is hoped that more on the school's history can be shared.

Although not a part of Cushing's published history of the West Side School, the following notes were included with his manuscript and provide a timeline of the town's actions in building the school. 

April 1, 1893 Voted: that a schoolhouse be built on the west side of the Old Colony railroad and completed before the fall term.  Also Voted: that the School Committee be authorized and instructed to procure plans, specifications, and estimates and have them ready at the adjourned town meeting.

April 15, 1893.  The chairman at the school committee meeting made a verbal report ad presented plans or the schoolhouse to be built on the west side of the railroad and presented the following proposition in regard to lot [upon which the school was ultimately built] from Eugene P. LeBaron.

"To the School Committee of the Town of Middleboro

I propose to sell and convey to the town of Middleboo, for the sum of one dollar, a certain lot or parcel of land situated about 315 ft. south of Center Street, between West End Avenue and Warren Avenue, with a frontage on both avenues of 120 ft. and 250 ft. between avenues containing 30,0 square feet of land.  The condition of the sale is, that said land is to be used for school or other town purposes and should said land be used for any other purpose than above specified then the said land shall revert back to me or my heirs.

I would request that all surplus soil or gravel may be deposited on a lot belonging to me within 100 feet of said schoolhouse lot at the expense of the town or builder.

Eugene P. LeBaron"

Voted: that if the town accept the proposition of Eugene P. LeBaron to convey to the town a certain lot or parcel of land for a schoolhouse the School Committee be authorized to purchase for the town the two lots on the southerly side at an expense not exceeding $250 each.

Voted: that the town accept the proposition of Eugene P. LeBaron.

Voted: that the School Committee proceed to build, etc., at a cost not to exceed $6,500.

Voted: $1,000 for heating and furnishing.

At a special Town Meeting Dec. 9, 1893 Resolutions wee written into the record on the death of Mr. LeBaron.

West Side School

During the years just prior to 1894 there was a decided growth of population west of the railroad tracks and the station property.  This growth necessitated the building of a schoolhouse to accommodate the pupils of that neighborhood.  Accordingly the town voted to build a building, the same to be ready for occupancy in September 1894.

The building was completed as specified.  The following description of the building and dedication comes from the records of the School Committee of hat year, John C. Sullivan, Augustus H. Soule, Adeline V. Wood, Augustus Pratt, Ebenezer Pickens, Charles M. Leonard

"It is a wooden structure, two stories in height.  Its exterior dimensions are 54 x 50 feet.  It has four school rooms two on each floor, entirely across one side of the building, with a staircase and teacher's room at each end.  It is heated by two furnaces, has a modern system of ventilation, and is well lighted.  The rooms are furnished with adjustable desks and seats.  It is well adapted for school purposes, and credit is due to the members of the building committee, Messers. George E. Wood and John C. Sullivan, for the manner in which the work was done an the good results obtained."

"The building was dedicated, with appropriate exercises, Friday, October 19, at 2 o'clock P. M.  The corridors and rooms were appropriately decorated with autumn foliage and the national colors.  A large and enthusiastic audience was present, and many availed themselves of the opportunity to inspect the building at the close of the exercises.  Hon. Frank A. Hill, Secretary of the State Board of Education, was the principal speaker."

"Mr. Hill spoke at length, expressing at the outset his embarrassment in adapting his talk to his audience, since there were before him all stages of life from the cradle to the grave.  He congratulated the town upon the completion and equipment of so commodious an edifice.  The dedication of a public school building is a suitable event for the flaming up of an interest that ordinarily is quiet steady, and devoid of the sensational.  The enthusiasm of this occasion will, of course, subside since no zeal can be kept at a white heat and endure, but the people's interest may be trusted to keep on in its old undemonstrative but effective way."

The Order of Exercises at the dedication of the building follows:

Singing - Thrice Hail Happy Day, Pupils of the Primary School
Invocation, Rev. M. F. Johnson
Singing - Song for Our Union, Pupils of the Grammar School
Delivery of the Keys to the Building Committee by the builder, B. F. Phinney
Acceptance of the Keys and their transfer to the School Committee by George E. Wood, Chairman of the Building Committee
Acceptance of the Keys by Mr. Ebenezer Pickens of the School Committee
Singing - Song to the Flag, Pupils of the Primary School
Address - Hon. Frank A. Hill, Secretary of the State Board of Education
Singing - Star Spangled Manner, Pupils of the School
Remarks - Rev. Charles W. Wood, Supt. Asher J. Jacoby, and A. T. Savery
Singing - America
Benediction

The following Principals have served the school since its dedication.

1894-96
Eva M. Hopkins

1897-1903
Frances M. Perry

1904-05
Henry F. Wilson

1906
George L. Weeks

1907-08
Carl D. Lytle

1909-10
Cyril F. Randall

1911-15
Mermie S. Miller

1916-20
Mary H. Head

1921-32
Nellie B. Sawyer

In 1920 there was a congregation of pupils in the Center and a two room portable building was erected at the rear of this building.  The building was paid for by the Peirce Trustees and cost upward of $8,000.  Although this building was intended to be a temporary structure it has now served thirteen years.

The principals of the West Side School following the period covered by Cushing's history are as follows:

1933-38
Nellie B. Sawyer

1938-53
Mary R. Hammond

1953-67
Louis J. Rando
(Following 1961, the West Side School was incorporated into the Northern Elementary School District which included the Pratt Free, Plymouth and Pleasant Street Schools, and later the Flora M. Clark School.  Principals subsequent to this date served as principal of the entire district).

1967-71
Robert E. Desrosiers

1971-88
Franklin E. James

1988-91
Jeanine R. Washburn

During its early years, the West Side School developed a role of being a safety valve for the remaining central schools, taking in pupils from the overcrowded Union Street and School Street Schools. In 1901, crowding in the Main Street grammar school (housed in what was later known as the Bates School on South Main Street) prompted a decision to send all local seventh grade students to the West Side School where there was a vacant room, and to regrade the school. This move was made effective at the opening of the winter term, January 2, 1902.


The West Side School, like the other large central schools, was expensive to maintain, and the 1901 School Committee report remarked that the school had demanded a large expenditure for heating and plumbing, and the following year because of heavy use over the previous nine years the school was deemed as being in need of "some renovation".

The West Side School continued to absorb additional students from the center district schools.  In the autumn of 1904, it took some of the fifth and sixth graders who had before attended the Union Street School in an effort to eliminate overcrowding there.  That same year, the West Side was again noted as being in need of interior renovation.

Because of the school's role in taking in pupils from the other central schools it, in time, became crowded itself, its enrollment increasing fifty percent in the few short years between 1901 and 1904.  The School Committee report for 1905 noted: "The West Side school must be regraded to accommodate even the present membership .... This will nearly fill every seat in these rooms, leaving but little room for pupils to be transferred from the other Central schools. We cannot look to much relief to the West Side building for the overcrowded Central schools, as we have for the past four years."  Three years later, the problem remained: "The membership at the West Side school is rapidly increasing and soon the building can only be used for primary and intermediate grades."

Crowding continued throughout the latter period covered by Cushing's history, and as he notes, a two-room portable building was ultimately purchased and erected at the rear of the building.  Initially intended as merely a stop gap measure, the portable building soon became permanent.  It continued in use until 1938 when the new Union Street School was opened, at which time a hurricane fortuitously destroyed the portable building, thus "solving the problem of how to dispose of it."  The increasing number of students during the next fifteen years, however, warranted the construction of a four-room addition to the school, which was opened March 30, 1953.

The West Side School continued in use until closed in the 1991 centralization of the Middleborough schools.

Sources:
Cushing, J. Stearns. "The History of Our Schools: Pleasant Street School". Photostatic copy of original manuscript, 1932-33. Author's collection.
Middleborough Town Reports, 1932-90.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The History of Our Schools: Thomastown


1903 Map of Middleborough, detail showing the intersection
of Chestnut and Purchase Streets with the location of the
Thomastown School, from New Topographical Atlas of Surveys:
Plymouth County Together with Town of Cohasset, Norfolk
County, Massachusetts (Springfield, MA: The L. J. Richards
Co., 1903).
 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. The Thomastown School was located on Chestnut Street near its intersection with Purchase Street.  Though the school accomodated a large geographic area, it remains historically one of Middleborough's least known one-room schools.  

Thomastown

In 1871, the School Committee consisting of Elbridge Cushman, A. H. Soule, and E. W. Drake reported as follows:

"At the last annual town meeting, $1,500.00 was placed in our hnads to meet continge nt expenses, and we were authorized to build a school at Thomastown.  We have united the Thomastown and Rocky Meadow schools, and shall have no further use for the old houses for school purposes.  The town will dispose of them as they see fit.  In their stead we have erected a new house on Chestnut Street, 25 x 36 feet, capable of seating fifty-six scholars, with a cellar for wood.  The cellar was built by the day.  The house was built under contract by Mr. James P. Sparrow, in a manner highly satisfactory to your committee.  In locating the hose, we endeavored to consult the wishes of interested parties as much as possible, but as might be expected we found 'many men of many minds',  We kept in view the greatest good to the greatest number, and the majority of your committee believe the house to be located on the most convenient and most eligible site.  It is furnished with ample blackboard, accommodations, the seats are of an approved and improved pattern, and withall it is a commodious and pleasant school-room.  We trust it may be used and not abused, and that the people of that section will cheerfully aid other schools in securing equal advantages."

In the same report we find an itemized report of the expense of the house.
Expense of Cellar.
Arad Thomas     $10.00
Josiah Thomas     18.00
S. Wrightington     27.00
Freeman T. McLathlin     2.00
George Bennett     36.00
J. P. Sparrow     14.68
Eliab Wood     2.59
Total     110.18

Expense of House.
Jas. P. Sparrow, per contract     $1,300.00
extras     3.98
B. L. Boomer, Painting     85.22
Desks     188.00
Freight     5.00
G. H. Doane, stovepipe, etc.     16.50
Subtotal     $1,598.70
Freeman T. McLathlin, lot     10.50
Total expense of house    $1,719.38
Total  $2,061.41

During the sixty-two years that the building has been in use there have been fifty-two different teachers in service there.  The names and dates of service follow:

1871
John B. Thomas
Lucia A. Thompson

1872
John B. Thomas
Mary E. White
Ellen Braley

1873
Judith T. Norton
Ella Thompson
Minot Hartwell

1874
Helen Harlow

1875
Lottie E. Hammond
W. Anna Harding

1876
W. Anna Harding

1877
W. Anna Harding

1878
Endora Lawrence
Irene A. Bent
Lena A. Chubbock

1879
Irene A. Bent
Clara Leonard
Mary E. Hammond

1880
Mary E. Hammond

1881
Abbie A. Mills

1882
Abbie A. Mills
Jennie Hammond

1883
Jennie Hammond
Lura B Bisbee

1884
Sara E. Paine
Rose M. Eastman

1885
Rose M. Eastman

1886
Almeda B. Eldridge
Irena S. Nightingale

1887
Laura M. Pease
Ella F. Kilbreth

1888
Ella M. Kilbreth
Mary L. Osborne
Florence L. Deane

1889
Florence L. Dean
Sadie O. Morse

1890
Sadie O. Morse

1891
Sadie O. Morse

1892
Sadie O. Morse

1893
Sadie O. Morse

1894
Eva M. Hopkins
Bessie Churbuck

1895
C. Augusta Thomas

1896
Frances M. Perry

1897
Bertha E. Bryant

1898
Bertha E. Bryant

1899
Lucy E. Merrihew

1900
Lucy E. Merrihew

1901
Lucy E. Merrihew

1902
Lucy E. Merrihew

1903
Isabelle C. Butler
Annie Hill

1904
Ethel Roberts

1905
Ethel Roberts

1906
Ethel M. Harvey

1907
Josie L. Russell

1908
Alice M. Ward

1909
R. Kenney

1910
R. Kenney

1911
Daisy E. Stenhouse

1912
Alma A. Knowlton
Fred N. O'Coin

1913
C. Harold Striley

1914
C. Harold Striley

1915
Grace E. Bailey
Bertha A. Snell
Maude DeMaranville

1916
Freda S. Goodell

1917
Freda S. Goodell
Anne R. McFarlin

1918
Dorothy A. Hulbert

1919
Dorothy A. Hulbert
Elena Manley

1920
Myrtle Perkins

1921
Olive M. Kidd

1922
Olive M. Kidd

1923
Olive M. Kidd

1924
Margaret E. Croutworst

1925
Elena Manley

1926
Elena Manley

1927
Elena Manley

1928
Elena Manley

1929
Elena Manley

1930
Elena Manley

1931
M. Louise Nutter

1932
M. Louise Nutter

The Rocky Meadow house, the underpinning stone, and the outbuilding was sold to S[ylvanus] Hinckley for the sum of $40.25.  The old house at Thomastown together with the lot was sold to Z. Leonard for $87.00 during that year.

The school at the present time [1933] is the smallest in membership of the Suburban schools and one of the very few that have five grades.

The teachers who served in the period following Cushing's history were:

1933-39
M. Louise Nutter

1939-41
Nathalie T. Crowell

Due to its small enrollment, the Thomastown school was closed at the conclusion of the 1940-41 academic year.  In 1945, the schoolhouse lot, including the schoolhouse, was sold at public auction to L. Frank Long of North Street, Middleborough, for $400.  By 1967, the building was in such an advanced state of decay that it was condemned by town officials.  When the owner at the time failed to contact the town, the Middleborough Board of Selectmen ordered the building burned as a public health and safety nuisance.

Sources:
Cushing, J. Stearns. "The History of Our Schools: Forest Street School". Photostatic copy of original manuscript, 1932-33. Author's collection.
Middleboro Gazette, August 15, 1941; September 21, 1945; October 19, 1945; "Condemned Houses to be Demolished", June 29, 1967:1; "Board to Have Buildings Burned", August 10, 1967.
Middleborough Annual Town Reports, 1933-41.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Carrie E. Soule (1839-1911)


Carrie E. Soule, George T. Putnam,
photographer, Middleborough, MA,
1880s
Caroline ("Carrie") Elizabeth Soule was born May 3, 1839, the daughter of Otis and Irene (Cushman) Soule of the Soule Neighborhood of East Middleborough.  Miss Soule never married, devoting her life to public school teaching.  The bulk of her career in Middleborough public schools was spent at East Middleborough, and she was serving as the teacher of the Soule School when she retired in May, 1903.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The History of Our Schools: Soule School


Original Soule School, Winter Street, Middleborough, MA, photograph,
1902.
The photograph depicts the original Soule School which stood on the
south side of Winter Street nearly opposite the site where its successor
would be built in 1902.  This is presumably the last class to have attended
school in this building.  The teacher is Carrie E. Soule who spent many
years teaching in the school and who retired after a year in the new
building.

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. The Soule School on Winter Street which served the Soule Neighborhood was perhaps one of the least well known schools in Middleborough, situated as it was in the remote northeastern corner of town.  Even Cushing's history gives little information beyond the construction costs.

The Soule School was built in 1902 to replace a smaller, earlier structure.  On November 12, 1902, the new school was officially dedicated with ceremonies recorded for posterity in the pages of the Brockton Times. 

"The dedication of the new schoolhouse in the Soule neighborhood took place yesterday afternoon. There was a large attendance. An interesting program consisting of memory gems, recitations by individuals and by the school in concert, as well as songs arranged by the teacher, Miss Carrie E. Soule, was successfully carried out.

"The exercises opened with a prayer by Rev. W. C. Litchfield, chairman of the school board. This was followed by remarks by Supt. Of Schools C. H. Bates, Augustus H. Soule and William Parnell. Supt. Bates met a number of the pupils’ parents.”

Soule School

Altho' the appropriation had been made [for the Soule School] at the same time as that for the Pleasant Street school no bid was received by the Committee which could be carried out and keep within the appropriation.  The specifications were revised and a new bid accepted which it was hoped would keep the cost within the limit, and the contract was awarded.

The cost of the building was as follows:

Receipts
Appropriation  $2,000.00
Sale of old house  25.50
Total  $2,025.50

Expenses
Lot $20.00
Building contract  1,575.00
Building fence etc.  17.00
Foundation and grading  73.20
Heating & Ventilation  169.62
Desks  93.38
Blackboards  9.41
Curtains  8.80
Plans, Surveying etc.  95.00
Total  $2,061.41

Overdrawn  $35.91

The Committee reported that a fence must be built on the line of the lot adjoining Mr. Ward, and that a well should be dug.

The list of teachers who have served in this building are:

1902
Carrie E. Soule

1903-08
Mary E. Deane

1909-10
Etta W. Toothaker

1911-12
Maude DeMaranville

1913-14
Mary C. Azevedo

1915-16
Blanche G. Carey

1917
Mary R. Warner

1918
Vernette L. Perrin

1919-21
M. Alice Jones

1922 Constance A. Sellers

1923
Esther A. Zeman

1924-25
Mary W. Hammond

1926-27
Winifred S. Carver

1928
Lillian M. O'Neil

1929-35
Margaret Sullivan

The school was not re-opened for the 1940-41 school year.  In 1945, the schoolhouse and lot were offered at auction and disposed of by the town.

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

1935-38
Mildred K. Bowman

1938-40
Elsie LeBlanc

Sources:
Brockton Times, "Schoolhouse Dedicated", November 13, 1902.
Cushing, J. Stearns. "The History of Our Schools: Forest Street School". Photostatic copy of original manuscript, 1932-33. Author's collection.
Middleborough Annual Town Reports, 1933-40.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The History of Our Schools: Union Street School


Union Street School (1875), Union Street, Middleborough, MA, photograph,
early 20th century.
Though construction of a new schoolhouse on Union Street in 1875 helped
ease congestion in the nearby School Street School, its plain appearance was
was severely criticized immediately following its construction.  Poor
conditions within the building following the turn of the century and a fire on
October 11, 1916, caused by an overheated furnace added to the school's
woes.

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.  The Union Street School was built in 1875 to relieve congestion in the School Street School, then the sole school serving Middleborough Four Corners.  While the new school accomplished this goal, many residents at the time criticized the structure for its lackluster appearance which paled in comparison to the more ornamental School Street School which had been erected nearly a quarter century earlier.  Cushing quotes at length the School Committee's rebuttal at the time which placed blame for the school's appearance squarely upon the town's voters whose appropriation for the building was barely sufficient to cover the cost of its construction.

Union Street School

In the reports of the School Committees of the years previous to 1875 the plea for a new school house in the Center was constantly and insistently urged to relieve the Primary and Intermediate grades.  Pupils were promoted just to get rid of the crowding in these lower grades and the Committee report that "none of these classes were qualified for promotion, and consequently the grade of all the schools has been lowered".  The Committee go on to say that "the only objection to building a new school house is, of course, the expense.  But the money view of the matter is not the only, nor the chief one.  Too much economy in educational matters is the worst of economy.  The good of the schools should be the paramount consideration."

The town meeting of that year voted to build a new house on the present site and the Committee consisting of S. Chapin, A. H. Soule, and J. F. Shurtleff supervised the construction.  When the house was completed there evidently was more or less criticism as to its appearance and in the year 1876 the same Committee report as follows: "During the past year a new school-house, so long needed in District No. 18, has been built, and is now occupied, enabling us to relieve the Primary school of its superabundance of scholars.  This house has been the subject of much unreasonable and unjust fault finding.  Unreasonable and unjust, because the Committee built just such a house a the town authorized them to build.  The town had full power to build whatever kind of house it pleased, small or large, cheap or costly, plain or ornamental, of brick, stone, iron, rosewood or hemlock.  It had only to vote for it, and appropriate money to pay for it.  The building committee were, for the time being, the servants of the town, and it was their duty to build such a house as the town ordered for the money which the town appropriated, and they had no right to build any other.  The town voted to build a plain, two-story, wooden house, not to cost over $6,000, including the land.  The committee obeyed orders implicitly, built such a house as the town ordered, and kept the expenses within the appropriation.  We cannot see, therefore, how the voters of the town can justly blame anybody but themselves if the house does no suit them.  If they wanted the house ornamented to the extent of $500 or $1,000 they could have had it by voting for it.  But they voted for a PLAIN house, and appropriated barely money enough to pay for it, and carefully instructed the committee not to exceed the appropriation, and then blamed them because they did not build an ornamental house which would inevitably have cost several hundred dollars more than the appropriation.  Consistency is a jewel.  The only reason why the committee put in no ventilating apparatus was because they knew of none worth putting in.  There is a great deal of ventilating apparatus in the market, very nice, very expensive, and very useless - most of it.  e have some fine specimens of such in this town, and the committee did not care to have more."

"The house is a good-looking, substantial building, thoroughly good in every part, of good material and good workmanship, with large, convenient, comfortable, and very pleasant school-rooms, and ample entries and stairways."

"The rooms were made large enough so that when the increase in the number of scholars shall require it - as will probably be the case in a few years - a small addition can be made to the rear end of the house, and a recitation room made for each classroom, each teacher to be allowed an assistant, and enough scholars put into each room for the two teachers.  Thus the house will accommodate the equivalent of four schools."

In 1878, two years later, these rooms were found to be more than full and in the following year the addition proposed was built.  The report of 1883 tells us that "this enlargement was built, as voted in town meeting, but, contrary to the wishes of a majority of the school committee, and though serving to furnish rooms for the pupils for a time, has been a constant source of annoyance to committee, teachers, and scholars, for besides the confusion made by the continued passing of scholars from one room to another, the form of the rooms makes them models of inconvenience, being thirty-four feet wide by fourteen and one half long.  This places the teacher in the middle of a long row of pupils, and, until teachers can be found who have their eyes located like birds, we shall fail of the best results."

Six thousand dollars was appropriated for the erection of this Union Street building including the cost of the lot.  W[arren] H. Southworth was the contractor and builder and the total cost of cellar, house, and furniture totaled $4,783.51.  The entire cost of the lot was $1,857 but Union Street was cut off from the lot and sold to the town for $498, also the committee promised a piece of this land to a Mr. Lucas [who resided in a house on the present site of the Church of Our Saviour] which reduced the cost of the lot several hundred dollars more.  Thus the building came within the appropriation provided.

In the year 1916 there was considerable agitation regarding conditions in the building and the toilets were overhauled and placed in excellent condition, new floors were laid, the walls painted, ceilings kalsomined, furniture varnished, and the entire building put into first class condition.  On October eleventh of that year, after seven days of school, a fire broke out between the partitions badly damaging the building.  The report of the fire says "It broke out just before the opening of school in the morning.  The teachers are to be commended for their coolness in the situation in getting their pupils out of the building in an orderly manner and avoiding that dread of all school-house fires - a panic.  It was a good illustration of the fire-drill training."

"After a consideration of the matter as to the repairs to be made the Peirce trustees offered to finance the cost of repairs in the building and to install a heating and ventilating system.  The building has been restored to as good a condition as before the fire, and an excellent heating and ventilating system installed.  The toilets and corridors are heated and 14 radiators distributed over the building insure comfortable rooms in the coldest weather.  Electric lights have been placed in the basement and each teacher's desk is also thus equipped."

This building now [1933] houses two first and two second grades.  The rooms, with the exception of the one room on the lower floor, are all small and not well adapted for Primary grades where there should be space for group work and reading activities.

Space does not permit the listing of the numerous teachers of this building from the time of its occupancy but I shall include those of the last forty years.  Some of the names found in the early years previous are those of John I. Rackliffe, Sarah L. Arnold, Lizzie J. Wilson, Annie A. Lovell, Henry L. Armes, Austin Turner, Emma W. Osborne, Abbie F. Brett and many others.  Beginning in the year 1892 the teachers of the school have been as follows:

1892
Julia M. Barry
Carrie E. Alden

1893
Julia M. Barry
Eleanor A. Barden

1894
Laura J. Blaisdell
Eleanor A. Barden

1895
Florence E. Thompson
Eleanor A. Barden
Edith A. Roberts

1896
Ruth D. Stevens
H. Gertrude Holmes
Susan E. White

1897
Mabel L. Prevear
Sophie S. Hammond
Lucy P. Burgess
Emma N. Phinney

1898
Carrie D. Peterson
Sophie S. Hammond
Lucy P. Burgess
Emma N. Phinney

1899
Carrie D. Peterson
Mrs. W. J. Taylor
Lucy P. Burgess
Emma N. Phinney

1900
Alma L. Hodgdon
Bessie B. Gibbs
Mattie M. Bennett

1901
Florence L. Dean
Laura A. Holmes
May L. Stone
Mattie M. Bennett

1902
Florence L. Dean
Laura A. Holmes
Cassie M. Brehaut
Mattie M. Bennett

1903
Florence L. Dean
Calista F. Hathaway
Catherine M. Brehaut
Mattie M. Bennett

1904
Florence L. Dean
Calista F. Hathaway
Catherine M. Brehaut
Mattie M. Bennett

1905
Florence L. Dean
Veretta F. Shaw
Effie D. Williams
Maude D. Perry

1906
Karin L. Ekman
Veretta F. Shaw
A. Delle Alden
Maude D. Perry

1907
Lucy P. Burgess
Lottie N. Bessie
A. Blanche C. Dudley

1908
Lucy P. Burgess
Lottie N. Bessie
A. Blanche C. Dudley

1909
Lucy P. Burgess
Lottie N. Bessie
Ruth W. Holloway

1910
Lottie N. Bessie
Bessie B. Bailey
Faye H. Deane
Alice M. Ward

1911
Eleanor A. Barden
Laura A. Bump
Lottie N. Lang
Bessie B. Bailey

1912
Eleanor A. Barden
Laura A. Bump
Lottie N. Lang
Bessie B. Bailey

1913
Eleanor A. Barden
Laura A. Bump
Lottie N. Lang
Bessie B. Bailey

1914
Eleanor A. Barden
Laura A. Bump
Lottie N. Lang
Bessie B. Bailey

1915
Eleanor A. Barden
Laura H. Hudson
Lottie N. Lang
Alice M. Ward

1916
Eleanor A. Barden
Laura H. Hudson
Lottie N. Lang
Alice M. Ward

1917
Eleanor A. Barden
Laura H. Hudson
Lottie N. Lang
Alice M. Ward

1918
Eleanor A. Barden
Laura H. Hudson
Lottie N. Lang
Alice M. Ward

1919
Eleanor A. Barden
Sara E. Thurston
Lottie N. Lang
Alta E. Battles

1920
Eleanor A. Barden
Sara E. Thurston
Lottie N. Lang
Alta E. Crosby

1921
Eleanor A. Barden
Sara E. Thurston
Lottie N. Lang
Alice R. Begley

1922
Eleanor A. Barden
Sara E. Thurston
Lottie N. Lang
Alice R. Begley

1923
Eleanor A. Barden
Sara E. Thurston
Lottie N. Lang
Esther M. Thomas

1924
Eleanor A. Barden
Lottie N. Lang
Louise C. Shankle
Sara E. Thurston

1925
Eleanor A. Barden
Lottie N. Lang
Bessie B. Bailey
Marjorie McClusky
Lillian W. Tinkham

1926
Eleanor A. Barden
Lottie N. Lang
Bessie B. Bailey
Marjorie McClusky
Lillian W. Tinkham

1927
Eleanor A. Barden
Marjorie McClusky
Sara E. Thurston
Eva Grant

1928
Eleanor A. Barden
Marjorie McClusky
Sara E. Matheson
Eva Grant

1929
Eleanor A. Barden
Marjorie McCluskey
Sara E. Matheson
Mabel I. Guidoboni

1930
Eleanor A. Barden
Marjorie McCluskey
Sara E. Matheson
Mabel I. Guidoboni

1931
Eleanor A. Barden
Marjorie McClusky
Sara E. Matheson
Mabel I. Guidoboni

1932
Eleanor A. Barden
Marjorie McClusky
Sara E. Matheson
Mabel I. Guidoboni

It is surely fitting at the close of this article to pay a just tribute to the service of the present Principal of the school, Miss Eleanor A. Barden. After her first year teaching in Waterville she transferred to this school where she taught for the next three years. Then serving faithfully in other schools of our town for the next few years she returned to Union Street as Principal in 1911 which position she has held since that date. Her service has been one of devotion to her work and efficient in execution always an inspiration and help to those teachers who have worked with her within the school. The town surely should be proud and thankful for such service.

The original Union Street School was demolished and replaced by a modern brick structure built in 1937.  Lumber salvaged during the demolition was later used to help construct the bleachers at Battis Field.

Sources:
Cushing, J. Stearns. "The History of Our Schools: Forest Street School". Photostatic copy of original manuscript, 1932-33. Author's collection.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The History of Our Schools: Plymouth Street


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.  Like Cushing's history of the Pleasant Street School, his coverage of the Plymouth Street School is brief and is here supplemented by additional background on its history.

The Plymouth Street School was built in 1903 to replace an earlier school building which was described in the 1901 School Committee report as being in poor condition.  At the time, the school house on Pleasant Street was also in need of replacement, and the idea of unifying the two into a single district was pressed: "The consolidation of both schools at North Middleboro, the Pleasant street and Plymouth street schools, into a new two room building would give to the citizens of that section of the town better graded and more efficient schools.  The need of better accommodations is imperative.  The question as to whether it would be better to erect new buildings on the lots now occupied by the old, or to erect a new two-room building at some central point, from an educational point of view, can have but one answer, and that is the last proposition should be carried out.  With a two-room building the primary grade would occupy one room and the intermediate the other, while the upper grades as now would enter the Pratt Free School.


News item, Middleboro Gazette, September 6, 1918.
The annual fall opening of Middleborough's schools,
including suburban schools such as Plymouth Street and
Pleasant Street were typically noted in the local newspaper.
Here, notice is given that going forward the two schools
would each house only five grades.  In time, this
duplication of services was eliminated and the North
Middleborough schools (including the Pratt Free School)
re-graded.
 Contrary to the recommendation of the Committee, a decision was made to build separate schools, with Pleasant Street receiving priority, and a building committee for that school being named in 1902.  Despite its prioritization of Pleasant Street, the School Committee still believed "the school building at Plymouth street is in very poor condition and should be replaced with a new one, or the old one should be thoroughly repaired."  Superintendent of Schools Charles H. Bates emphasized: "Attention is called to the condition at Plymouth Street .... Plymouth Street building is badly out of repair."

Accordingly, Article 23 for the Annual Town Meeting was drafted: "To see if the town will build a new schoolhouse at North Middleborough on Plymouth Street, raise and appropriate money for the same, and act thereon.  (On petition of Warren S. Gibbs and fifteen others).)"  The article was approved and a building committee consisting of David G. Pratt, William C. Litchfield, and Chester E. Weston was named.

The new Plymouth Street School was a one-room schoolhouse capable of accommodating 30 pupils.  $2,500 was appropriated by the town, and $25 was received for the sale of the old building.  The school was designed by architect Eugene L. Clark (for $75) and built by Frank E. Pierce at a cost of $1,525, the total cost of constructing and furnishing the school, including a fence, being $2,468.31.

Plymouth Street

The present Plymouth Street building was built during the summer of 1903  the appropriation for the same having been made at the annual meeting of that year.  For many years previous to that date the Committee had repeatedly recommended a new building there, but only necessary repairs had been made from year to year.

The report of 1904 states: "The new building for which an appropriation was made at the annual meeting in March was finished and ready for occupancy at the opening of school in September.  It is similar in design to the one at Pleasant Street, excepting it has no basement and the furnace room is in the front part of the building.  It is well lighted, heated and ventilated, equipped with modern furniture and in every way an attractive modern suburban school building.  At the dedication exercises in November, a pleasing feature was the presentation to the school of an organ by Hon. David G. Pratt, a member of the building committee.  A well has been driven, which gives a good supply of pure water."

The building at the time of its erection contained all nine grades and a total of 24 pupils.  At the present time the house serves only the first three grades of the children in that section of the town.

The names of the teachers who have taught in the present building are as follows:

1903-04
Bessie L. Thomas

1905
Lillian F. Smith

1905-06
Annie M. Holt

1907
Alice B. LeBaron

1908-09
Grace A. Tinkham

1909
Myrtie A. Shaw

1910-1923
Elsie (Landgrebe) LeBlanc

1923-45
Dorothy (Robinson) Bradford

As had been the case with the Pleasant Street School, continuing rationalization of the Middleborough school system and consequent re-grading eventually reduced the number of grades housed in the Plymouth Street School, and during much of the period from the 1950s through 1983 it was the home to North Middleborough's first graders.  At the start of the 1983-84 school year, the lower elementary grades at North Middleborough were consolidated at the Pratt Free School, and the morning kindergarten sessions conducted at Plymouth Street.  In 1990, financial considerations closed the remaining suburban schools, including the Plymouth Street School.  It was since sol by the Town of Middleborough and has been remodelled into a private residence.

Teachers serving the school in the period following Cushing's history were

1945-74
Marjorie C. Huntley


1974-75
Elaine Emanuelson


1975-76
Elaine Hammond


1976-1980
Mary Ann Fisher


1980-81
Mary Lou K. Orr


1981-82
Mary Ann Fisher


1982-83
Judith A. Whynock


1983-87
Beverly J. Atwood


1987-90
Janice M. Warner

Sources:
Cushing, J. Stearns. "The History of Our Schools: Forest Street School". Photostatic copy of original manuscript, 1932-33. Author's collection.
Middleborough Town Reports, 1932-44
Plymouth County Registry of Deeds, Book 1920, Page 424.

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:

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

Expenses
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:

1902
Lena M. Baldwin

1903-09
Lucy E. Merrihew

1910
Alberta C. Remick

1911
Gertrude M. Coombs

1912-16
Myra A. Andrews

1917-54
Maude DeMaranville

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

1954-56
Virginia C. Smith

1956-71
Margaret J. Walsh

1971-72
Jane A. Olson

1972-74
Marcia L. Roy

1974-78
Virginia A. Cahoon

1978-81
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.

Sources:
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.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The History of Our Schools: Waterville School


Waterville Schoolhouse, Plymouth Street, Middleborough, MA,
photograph early 20th century. 
The 1877 schoolhouse pictured above was constructed on the site of the
original Waterville school which occupied the quarter acre of land at the
junction of Plymouth and Carmel Streets acquired in 1854 by Middleborough
School District No. 2 from William S. Eddy.  Following its closure in 1944 and
sale in 1946, the school was turned 90-degrees to face Carmel Street and was
converted to residential use. 
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. Today's offering features the Waterville Schoolhouse at the corner of Plymouth and Carmel Streets in the Waterville section of East Middleborough.

Waterville

The School Committee in 1877 consisted of S. Chapin, J. F. Shurtleff, and W. H. Southworth.  In their report of that year they state, "The house for School No. 2, Waterville we think needs to be repaired by 'substituion'; that is, the old house should be removed and a new one substituted for it.  The old house if repaired will need new shingles, plastering, floor, doors, windows and window frames, and when that is done it will leave a schoolroom only seven and two-thirds feet high, (or rather low) having been built at different times, and not well adapted for school purposes.  We commend this subject to the immediate attention of the town, as the present house must be repaired or a new one erected before another Winter."

At the annual town meeting a committee was chosen to examine school house No. 2 and report at the adjournment in April.  This committee reported in favor of repairing the old house, and were instructed to expend for that purpose a sum not exceeding three hundred and fifty dollars.  After commencing the work it was the opinion of the committee that the house would prove inadequate to the wants of the school, and a town meeting was called, at which the action of the former meeting was rescinded and the school committee was instructed to erect a new house.  The materials already bought by the repair committee were turned over to the School Committee as shown by the cost of construction report.

Amount appropriated, $1,200.00
Paid Jas. P. Sparrow [builder], as per contract $800.00
For desks and furniture 102.90
For freight and carting furniture 4.36
J. Chandler, underpinning 12.65
G. H. Doane, stove and pipe 10.18
C. C. Tinkham, moving old house 14.00
L. W. Savery, grading 16.78
7M shingles rec'd from repairing committee 31.50
Total $992.31

Jas. P. Sparrow, was also paid for shingling outbuildings and removing old furniture to the village, $12.80.
Received of J. P. Sparrow, for doors and windows purchased by repairing committee, $10.10.

Four years later we find the following comment, "This district is much better provided for than No. 1 (Soule).  The house, having forty sittings, was quite recently built at an expense of about $800.00, upon a spacious lot, which within the present year has been better graded, at an expense of $20.  he members of the district have manifested a commendable pride in their new building and have spared no pains to make it pleasant inside as well as out.  They have furnished an expensive clock, good curtains, many wall ornaments, and quite recently, a new settee.  With such good care and special attention, there is now wanting nothing inside or outside to make this one of the pleasantest schoolhouses in town."

Among the names of teachers who served in this school we find many who have or are serving in the Central schools.  he list of those who have taught in the present building are:

1877
Mary F. Hagan

1878
Mary F. Hagan
Abbie A. Gurney

1879
Abbie A. Gurney
Emma F. Darling

1880
Emma F. Darling
Harriet F. Hart

1881
E. Abbie Ward

1882
E. Abbie Ward

1883
E. Abbie Ward
Lillie H. Thornton

1884
Mary H. Blackman
Cora P. Lobdell

1885
Cora P. Lobdell
Elizabeth Ahern
Harriett Bartlett

1886
Harriett Bartlett
Mary B. Richards
Lucia F. Keith

1887
Lucia F. Keith
Lillie H. Thornton

1888
Lillie H.Thornton
Carrie E. Alden

1889
Carrie E. Alden
Lizzie H. Drew

1890
Lizzie H. Drew

1891
Lizzie H. Drew
Fannie C. Stetson

1892
Fannie C. Stetson
Eleanor A. Barden

1893
Eleanor A. Barden
Florence L. Jefferson

1894
Florence L. Jefferson
Lydia E. Holmes
A. Belle Tenney

1895
A. Belle Tenney
Carolyn H. Parker

1896
Carolyn H. Parker

1897
Delia R. Kingman
Mattie M. Bennett

1898
Mattie M. Bennett

1899
Mattie M. Bennett
C. Florence Hathaway

1900
C. Florence Hathaway

1901
Lizzie Wade
A. Delle Alden

1902
Millie F. Caswell
Bessie B. Bailey

1903
Bessie B. Bailey

1904
Bessie B. Bailey

1905
Bessie B. Bailey

1906
Christina Pratt

1907
Christina Pratt

1908
Belle Prescott
Clara B. Cushing
Mary E. King

1909
Clara B. Cushing
Elsie Landgrebe

1910
Erna L. Cornish

1911
Marion F. Dunham
Alta E. Battles

1912
Maude DeMaranville

1913
Maude DeMaranville

1914
Maude DeMaranville

1915
Maude DeMaranville
Abby S. Westgate

1916
Abby S. Westgate

1917
Abby S. Westgate

1918
Abby S. Westgate
G. A. Murphy

1919
G. A. Murphy

1920
Gertrude L. Robbins

1921 Elena Manley

1922
Elena Manley

1923
Elena Manley

1924
Elena Manley

1925
Bernice C. Shaw

1926
Bernice C. Shaw

1927
Bernice C. Shaw

1928
Bernice C. Shaw

1929
Bernice C. Shaw

1930
Bernice C. Shaw

1931
Bernice C. Shaw

1932
Bernice C. Shaw
Helen K. Fagan

This school at the present time [1933] houses only the fifth and sixth grade pupils of the East Middleboro section of the town and has an enrollment of about twenty pupils.  The building is however located upon a dangerous corner with present day traffic and as soon as possible the playground should be fenced for the safety of the pupils there.

The corner mentioned in the above history by Mr. Cushing was the corner of Carmel and Plymouth Streets which then together comprised part of Route 44 between Middleborough and Plymouth which passed along Plympton Street to Eddyville, south on Carmel Street to Waterville, thence eastwards along Plymouth Street to North Carver.  Given the increasing volume of auto traffic which used the route, Cushing's concerns were justified.

The Waterville School remained in use for educational purposes through the May, 1944, and was during that period also used for a number of other purposes including mid-week services by the First Congregational Church which also made similar use of the Soule School on Winter Street.

"Owing to the small number enrolled in the Waterville School that building was not opened in September [1944]."  By vote of the town meeting the Middleborough Board of Selectmen was empowered to sell the Waterville School property, doing so on June 10, 1946, when the schoolhouse and lot were purchased b Dean B. and Barbara E. Jennings and converted into a residence.  The Waterville Schoolhouse may still be seen in its original location.

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

1933
Helen K. Fagan

1934
Leah M. Boutin

1935
Elsie LeBlanc

1936
Elsie LeBlanc

1937
Elsie LeBlanc

1938
Bernice C. Shaw

1939
Bernice C. Shaw

1940
Elsie LeBlanc

1941
Elsie LeBlanc

1942
Elsie LeBlanc

1943
Elsie LeBlanc

1944
Elsie LeBlanc

Sources:
Cushing, J. Stearns. "The History of Our Schools: Forest Street School". Photostatic copy of original manuscript, 1932-33. Author's collection.
Middleborough Town Reports, 1932-44
Plymouth County Registry of Deeds, Book 1920, Page 424.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The History of Our Schools: Flora M. Clark School


Flora M. Clark (formerly Forest Street) School, Forest Street, Middleborough,
MA, photograph, c. 1900.
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.  In the coming days, Recollecting Nemasket will republish several of Cushing's short histories transcribed from the Superintendent's original copy and notes.  Today's installment features the schoolhouse which presently houses the offices of the Middleborough School Department and which was formerly the Flora M. Clark School and still earlier the Forest Street School at the corner of Forest and Arch Streets.  The article originally appeared in the Middleboro Gazette on June 16, 1933.

Forest Street School

In the town meeting of 1899 the School Committee called the attention of the citizens to the overcrowded condition in the one elementary school in the center as the Union Street building was far to small for the number of pupils then attending.  The condition was discussed in that town meeting and after long deliberation it was finally voted to build a new schoolhouse on Forest Street.

A special committee was appointed to put the vote into effect.  This committee consisted of the following members: George H. Shaw, M. H. Cushing, D. D. Sullivan, J. Addison Shaw, Arthur H. Leonard, Fred C. Sparrow, John C. Sullivan, W. A. Andrews, and W. C. Litchfield.  Subsequently this committee chose a sub-committee consisting of J. Addison Shaw, John C. Sullivan, and Fred C. Sparrow to attend to the details of the work.

The report of 1900 tells us the following story.  "The building, after plans drawn by Hiram Whittemore, is a one-story wooden structure 44x57 feet, and contains two schoolrooms, each 28x32 feet, two small teacher's rooms, a large entrance hall in front with coat and hat rooms, and a small entrance in the rear."

"The school rooms are well lighted. The windows are massed on two sides of each room, making possible the seating of the rooms in such a way as to admit the light from the left and rear of the pupils.  The color of the walls is a light green and the ceilings are white.  Each schoolroom is furnished with Eclipse adjustable desks and seats.  Abundant blackboard surface is provided."

"The basement contains two furnaces and fuel and toilet rooms.  Part of it is available for playrooms on stormy days.  The exterior walls as the roof are shingled, and are stained moss green.  The trimmings are white."

"The building is well adapted for school purposes, and forms a notable addition to the best schoolhouses in town.  Much credit is due to the committee who had the building in charge for the good results obtained."

This building was ready for occupancy at the beginning of the winter term in 1900.  Both rooms were occupied and all pupils in the first to grades between the westerly side of Pearl Street and the railroad went to this building.

There have been only three Principals in the building during its thirty-three years of service.  Lizzie B. Lucas was the first in 1899-1900, A. Belle Tenney from 1900-1906, and Flora M. Clark from1906-1933.

The death of Miss Clark during the past school year has saddened the hearts of many and it would seem proper to include in this history the resolutions passed by the School Committee at its last meeting.

Resolution on the Death of Flora M. Clark

Once more the shadows have passed over our school year due to the death of one of our beloved leaders and teachers.  Flora M. Clark died on May 6th at her home on Forest Street.  Her going was sudden and therefore a distinct shock to her host of friends and pupils.

She has gone from us all but like all truly great teachers she has left an influence that shall always remain.  For thirty-one years she has poured out her goodness and character to the little children entrusted to her care.  For twenty-six years she has bee Principal of the school she loved so well and to which she devoted her energies and had dedicated her life.

Character, goodness, tenderness, cheerfulness, loveliness, thoughtfulness, love, all were outstanding qualities in a truly Christian life.  Few teachers have left such powers of lasting love i the hearts of their pupils as she.  The strength of the parent organization in the school, the membership of which is made up not only of the parents of the present pupils but of former pupils themselves, was an indication of he devotion of those to whom she had ministered.

In respect of the memory of Flora M. Clark, whose teaching here is o'er and who has gone to meet the Great Teacher of us all, be it resolved that these sentences be inscribed upon the records of the School Committee and that a copy be sent to the family of the deceased to whom at this time of great bereavement the heartfelt sympathy of the Committee is sincerely tendered.

(Signed)
Allen R. Thatcher, Chairman
Priscilla S. Alger
Kendrick H. Washburn
Fred B. Alger
Forest E. Thomas
Dr. R. G. Butler

In 1935, two years after Superintendent Cushing compiled the above history, he presented an address on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of the Forest Street School which was renamed in Miss Clark's memory.

Parents and Friends:

Thirty-five years ago the School Committee of that year called the attention of the citizens of the town to the over-crowded condition then existing in the elementary schools at the Center.  After the usual town meeting discussion it was voted that a building be built on Forest Street to relieve the situation.  This is the building.

A special committee was appointed, the plans dawn by Hiram Whittemore, the building erected under the direction of J. Addison Shaw, John C. Sullivan, and Fred C. Sparrow, and turned over to the School Committee ready for occupancy at the beginning of the Winter term in 1900.

It is however not because this is the thirty-fifth anniversary of the building of this place of learning, but rather because of the fact that for thirty of those years it was occupied and supervised by one whose charm and personality caused her to be loved by young and old, that we are now here assembled.

During these thirty years nine hundred and eighty of our children came under her tender care, were mentally nourished, physically cared for,and spiritually taught.  Many of you here were in this group that were fortunate enough to begin their school life under such a leader.  Nothing we may do here nor nothing we may say here in tribute, can too highly extol her virtues.

The passing of a child from her grade to an advanced step in education did not lessen her great interest in that child.  She followed her children through their school life and their life career, ever ready to help and share their burdens.  During the last year of her life she came to me and asked permission to copy from the rolls of the last thirty years, the names of all children who had been in her classes.  This was a tremendous task but she wished to list them all that she might place against their names their station in life, their success and their failures.  Her interest was still in those she called "he children".

The Parent organization of the school became her particular joy.  Here and through this medium she could keep in close touch with both former pupils and the parents of those then under her keeping.  She laboured hard that this organization might succeed and it is most fitting and proper that we do here today express our sincere and heartfelt appreciation.

The name Flora M. Clark will always be remembered by those whose fortune has been to know her and to love her, and no insignia, plate, or memorial need be erected to perpetuate her memory.  Your act of today however give[s] outward expression of the esteem and gratitude in which her memory is held.

Cushing concluded the address by reading the resolution passed by the Middleborough School Committee upon the death of Miss Clark in 1933.

Sources:
Cushing, J. Stearns.  "The History of Our Schools: Forest Street School".  Photostatic copy of original manuscript, 1932-33.  Author's collection.