Object of the Month: June 2013 – Elsie Calder’s History of the #4 Primary Schoolhouse

To celebrate the start of summer – and end of the school year – June’s Object of the Month is Elsie Calder’s History of the #4 Primary Schoolhouse from the manuscript collection of the Hanson Historical Society.

Former Hanson Historical Society secretary Elsie Gertrude Calder (1895-1991) compiled a booklet which detailed the history of the current home of the Hanson Historical Society: The #4 Primary Schoolhouse (formerly the #7 Primary Schoolhouse).

Primary Schoolhouse #7 was built in 1845 on Elm Street in Hanson. In 1867, it was moved to Main Street, just north of Elm St. and renamed Primary Schoolhouse #4. In 1939, it was moved to the east side of the L.Z. Thomas School on Main Street where it is currently the headquarters of the Hanson Historical Society. Read about HHS’s acquisition of the schoolhouse here.

#4 Primary School House, headquarters of the Hanson Historical Society, 565 Main Street, Hanson, MA. Photo courtesy of Mary Blauss Edwards.

#4 Primary School House, headquarters of the Hanson Historical Society, 565 Main Street, Hanson, MA. Photo courtesy of Mary Blauss Edwards.

Click here to view the full manuscript:

Elsie Calder's History of the #4 Primary Schoolhouse in Hanson, MA

Elsie Calder’s History of the #4 Primary Schoolhouse in Hanson, MA

The following is a transcription of the document:

History of Schoolhouse #4 (originally Schoolhouse #7) Booklet

Written by Elsie Calder

[The first several pages are a list of the Primary School#7/#4 teachers, the Hanson school committee, and the Hanson school superintendant from the years 1845-1961. See our exhibit From the Archives: The Teachers of Primary School #4/#7 (1845-1960) for more details]

Special High Lights

1871. Mention of “Beals Hill” is made in the location of schools

1873. Perfect Attendance at #4: Albert Josselyn, Austin Josselyn, and Linnie Josselyn [children of Benjamin and Lucy A. Josselyn],  Crissie Josselyn and Everett Josselyn [children of David A. Josselyn and Sophronia F. Dean, and siblings to Clara F. Josselyn, the Schoolhouse #4 teacher in 1873], George Thomas [son of Elihu Thomas], Clarence Augustus Ford [son of Noah A. and Ellen J. Ford].

1881. A diphtheria scare kept more than ½ the children at home during the second term

1883. Roll of honor at #4: Josie Chamberlain, Tom Chamberlain, Frank Keene, Harry Keene, Clarence Livermore, Stella Pratt, Marion Spencer

1884. Regular music instruction is included in the school studies and the singing hour is awaited with eager and longing anticipation under the direction of Mary F. Perry

1885. Mrs. Edward Churchill becomes the music instructor as Miss Perry resigned.

1890. An evening school is opened at South Grammar School with 25 young men and women in attendance. It was in session 13 evenings but during the bad weather so many dropped out that it was deemed advisable to discontinue.

1892. A strip of land 2 rods or more in width were purchased on the easterly side to enlarge the play ground area at #4 school ($50).

1893. The town now pays tuition to Whitman High School

1897. $150 was appropriated to dig a well at the North Grammar and at #4. Due to the large amount of rain fall, the well at #4 was not dug.

1905. Voted to place water in #4 and be paid from the Contigent Fund.

1914. The District Police orders all doors on school buildings to swing outward and supplied with Yale locks or locks which cannot be locked from inside.

1921. A new floor is laid at #4 and oiled.

1922. #4 is painted on the outside.

1923. #4 is reseated with individual seats and desks.

1924. The town votes to sell one-room school houses and lots that were to be replaced by the new 4-room school building on the North Grammar School lot. The property was sold at public auction on July 5, 1924 by C. O. Davis, auctioneer.

#6 house and lot to Nettie L. Keene, $1,050.00

#1 house & lot to Edgar C. Smith, $650.00

#2 house only to Albert H. Hall, $295.00

#5 house only to Nettie L. Keene, $235.00

North Grammar School house only to Elmira Ladouscour, $235.00

Paid C. O. Davis (auctioneer, commission and expenses) $178.17.

1929. #3 and #4 school houses have been closed. Grace E. McClellan is transferred to the South Grammar as Grade 2 teacher. Mary Rowell has Grade I.

1932. #4 is re-opened in September for a 4th grade.

1937. The enrollment at the Special Class has become less than the ten required by the statue and the school has been closed

1939. #4 is moved and annexed to the L.Z. Thomas School to provide a classroom for Grade 4.

1951. With the opening of Indian Head School on Sept. 10th it was possible to eliminate the use of the two portable buildings at both the Washington St. School and L.Z. Thomas.

1953. L.Z. Thomas portable reconditioned, floor sanded, walls painted to take care of the crowded conditions

1954. The Department of Public Safety gives only temporary approval of our portable building and Mr. Bradley say we should be getting out of the portable buildings.

1960. The Department of Public Safety inspector reports that he can no longer approve our two portable buildings. When assured that we were to move out of them early in 1961 and that the School Committee had voted to release them back to the Selectman for removal from the school grounds he did renew the inspection certificate for another short period.

1961. 3/6. The town votes that the Moderator appoint a Committee of Five to make a study and report recommendations as to the best interest of the town in relation to the two portables now declared by the School Committee to be of no further use. This committee recommended that #4 be moved from its present location to the west side of the L.Z. Thomas grounds, and donated to the Hanson Historical Society for a meeting place and museum.

Committee: Elsie G. Calder, Ralph K. Harley, Roy Lawson, Daniel J. Lewis, Norman D. MacLellan.

[Posted by Mary Blauss Edwards, Hanson Historical Society Curator]

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