The text below is excerpted with permission from
Page 1 - INTRODUCTION
This is the story of a city school system, and how it started over 162 years ago through the efforts of a businessman who had a driving desire to see children grow up in his adopted city with free public education. It is a simply told story of how this system progressed from the days of small wood schoolhouses heated by stows, with students taught by teachers who had little more by today's standards than an elementary education, to the large, modern, comfortable buildings that we now have with their sophisticated equipment and well educated, trained staff. It is the earnest wish of the author, who was educated in Buffalo Public Schools and lived his career in their employ, to share the memories of a great school system that were rekindled in writing this story of our School Days of Yesterday .
Page 20 - THE STORY OF THE HIGH SCHOOLS
Grade levels of the early schools were called departments. Until 1846, there were two departments, primary and grammar .As the school system progressed, so did the learning needs of students. Subsequently, the first high school, known as the third department, was started on the third floor of School 7 on South Division Street in 1848. As enrollment in this third department grew, another school was used to handle the increase. Number 8 on Franklin Street was utilized for the same purpose. Students south of Main Street went to School 7 and those north of Main Street went to School 8.
In 1851 a large mansion located at Franklin and Court Streets was purchased from the Burt family and converted the following year into the first school building used solely for the third department. Initially called Central School, it was shortly after renamed Central High School. Additions were built in 1869 and in 1889, making it quite a large and impressive building. It was Buffalo's only high school until 1897 when Masten Park High School was opened, followed several years later by Lafayette High School.
Student enrollment in Buffalo Public Schools had grown from about 6,000 when Central High opened to over 55,000 when Lafayette High opened. Of course, the percentage of students attending school as far as the high school level was much less than it is in present times. Even so, the three existing high schools were extremely crowded. To compound the problem, Masten Park was destroyed by a fire on March 12, 1912, rebuilt on the same foundation and reopened in September, 1914. Use of the school was lost for over a year resulting in students having to be split up between two other schools.
The need for a school in the downtown area lessened as commercialization increased and more government buildings were constructed. A replacement school for Central High School was built not far away on land donated for this purpose by philanthropist and former Common Council member, Edward H. Hutchinson. It was opened in 1914 and named Hutchinson Central High School. Central High School was utilized for other educational purposes until closing in 1921.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page by Chuck LaChiusa
1 INTRODUCTION Page
2 THE HISTORY of BUFFALO SCHOOLS 1807 to 2000
Oliver Steele, The First Superintendent
The First Teachers and Salaries
The Early Years
Black Rock Annexation of 1854
Map of Buffalo School Districts 1899
The Twentieth Century
3 THE SUPERINTENDENTS AND THE MAYORS
The History of the Superintendents
The Buffalo Mayors
4 THE HISTORIES OF THE SCHOOLS AND THE PRINCIPALS
The Story of the High Schools
The School Numbering System
School Histories and Principals
The Vine Street School for the Colored
The Truant School
Other Buildings and Services
Principals' Longevity Records
Buffalo Plan for School Desegregation
19 5 BUFFALO PUBLIC SCHOOL TRIVIA
Dates of Significance
What Happened to the Fifteen Original Districts?
What Happened to the Schools of Yesterday?
Excerpts from Superintendents' Annual Reports
The Picture Gallery
84 6 COMPLETE SCHOOL REFERENCE CHART 104 7 CONCLUSION 111 8 APPENDIX OF PICTURES 112 9 REFERENCES 114
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