The History of Schools In Town of Andover, Allegany County, NY
ANDOVER SCHOOL SYSTEM - NOTES TAKEN FROM ANDOVER NEWS, THE ANDOVER SESQUICENTENNIAL BOOK,
HISTORY OF ALLEGANY CO. 1806 – 1879 AND ALLEGANY AND ITS PEOPLE SUBMITTED BY WILLIAM GREENE.
PICTURES FROM ROBERT A. BAKER COLLECTION
Before we start this article, I want to tell you that there are some changes that will have come about after looking up this history. Stories were not researched to there fullest. I want to thank Robert A. Baker for his information and the many discussions we had, trying to make this story right.
The first classes were taught in the home of Luther Strong in 1819, where there were four pupils taught by Mr. Strong’s daughter, Lois. Unfortunately we don’t know where Luther Strong lived. As the village expanded, a bigger school was needed. In 1822, a log cabin school was built on the farm owned by Asa Allen, who was the village’s first merchant. According to history book “The History of Allegany County 1806 – 1879, page 188) the school was located on Main St. At this time there were three log houses and one frame house, which belonged to Mr. Allen. The first record of the school was made by Luther Strong, clerk. At this time they had three trustees. The first teacher, of which there is any record, was John S. Baker, who taught in 1826 for a term of three months at $11.00 per month.
It is written in the 1974 Andover Sesquicentennial Book and the Andover High School 1905 – 1906 year book that another school was to be built around the year 1849. According to the sesquicentennial book it was built on the corner of where Rt. 21 and Elm St. used to meet. This is not true because we have written records stating that particular building was a horse and carriage barn built by the Cannon family, and they didn’t get to Andover until 1872, fifty three years after the school was built and three years after it was closed. The only thing we have that proves the school was built is an 1854 map of Andover, showing a school located on First St. near West Center St. (see map). According to old county records, in 1849 Thaddeus Baker sold land in the village to school district #1, for what isn’t stated.
The length of the school session varied from year to year. In 1839, it was voted by the trustees to have a four- month session and to employ a male teacher, but the next year the number of school months was reduced to three. In 1842, it was voted to have a four-month winter term employing a male teacher and a five-month summer term employing a female teacher. Teachers were hired for wages and found the practice whereby the teacher stayed with one family for a period of time and then moved to another home. The teacher usually acted as janitor for her school, building her own fires and cleaning the room.
In 1868, a new school site was purchased, and a new school was erected at a cost of $4,000. County records show that property was sold in1871. The land was purchased from Benjamin C. Brundage on East Center St.; John Prest was paid $15.00 to draw up the plans.
~ ~ ~This photo shows the Andover Graded School as it is believed to have looked.. An original photo of the complete building cannot be found. This artist’s rendering of the school was done by current (2013) Andover Central School art teacher, James Ninos. It represents the best combined opinions of the way it looked based on small sections of the school shown in other photographs. Should anyone find a photo of this building and wish to share it with us please contact William A. Greene or Webmaster. ~ ~ ~
The school was located about where the Earl Allen and the Charles Joyce properties are now located. (see map) The school was finished in the summer of 1869 and opened on Aug. 31, 1869. On the first day of school there were 150 students and by Oct. 7, 1869 there were 200 students. The building was two-stories high, painted white with a cupola, for which a bell was later purchased. The school housed ten grades. There was a high board fence around the building, and the playground was in front of the school. There was a plank walk along the northern side, which led to the rest rooms, labeled “Girls” and “Boys”. Water was obtained from a green painted pump, with a tin cup tied to it and shared by all. A plank tilted from the pump to the ground helped to soften the splash of the overflow water.
This school was divided into three departments: Primary, Intermediate and Higher, with two teachers receiving $7.00 per week. The tuition for non-residents was $3, $4, and $5. The teachers were allowed to attend Teachers’ Institute held in Belmont for one week, although the complete session lasted two weeks.
The first school census was taken Oct. 7, 1879, showing 288 children aged 5 to 21 years. This same year an Academic Department was established, and the school became known as a Union Free School.
It is interesting to note that, in 1886, the first patent seats were purchased and the first music teacher was hired. This teacher taught music not only to the students, but also to the grade teachers In December 1891, the principal, T. H. Armstrong, placed the school under the visitation of the Regents, and in 1892 the school was granted a High School Charter. By 1894, Andover had a Union Regents and a high school department under Regents. There were six faculty members and a school commissioner. The first graduation class under Regents was composed of four members.
A postgraduate course was added in 1893, to allow the graduated to return to school and pursue more advanced subjects. There were five members the first year, which was considered very successful. One pupil earned himself a scholarship to Cornell University in a Competitive examination, standing first in a class of seven.
Commencement exercises of 1893 were held in the Prest Opera House, which is where the old hardware on East Greenwood now stands. The Opera House burned to the ground on April 9, 1908. There were fifteen graduates that night.
In 1901, two women were elected to the School Board, they were Mrs. Roxie B. Burrows and Mrs. Mary Church. Salaries in the early 1900s ranged about $700 for the principal and $8.00 per week for teachers. The report of the truant officer of 1903 showed 211 resident scholars and 27 non-resident and seven teachers.
In the spring of 1903 it was voted on, and passed, to build a new school building to be located on the present school grounds, on the corner of Center St. and East Ave., but not on the same position of the lot as the present building. It will be in the southeast corner of the lot an equal distance back for both streets. This building will be brick veneer, 60X70 feet, three stories and a basement, with 4,200 square feet of floor room, almost twice the size of the old school. The cost of this building was $20,000, and was built by Oak Duke Lumber Co. of Wellsville.
Work began in May of 1903. In the basement were the heating and ventilating plants, two closets, two playrooms and a wheel room with an inclined floor from the rear of the building. On the first floor were four schoolrooms, for the first thru seventh grades; on the second floor were two study rooms, one schoolroom for the eighth grade and high school, two recitation rooms, a Library room and the Principal’s office. On the third floor was the gym.
In July 31, 1903 Andover News reports, “The Oak Duke Lumber Company, contractors, will have to tear down their work”. Architect and inspector of the construction of the new school building, Mr. J. H. Pierce reports finding the sand good, the mortar good and the stone good, but rather small. “The walls, however are so improperly built on account of the voids left in them that they are condemned,” and the contractors are required to take them down to the line of the basement sill and rebuild them according to specifications. Everything must have been made right as school opened Aug. 31, 1903. Cost of the project was $20,000.
In Sept. of 1904 the old school house was sold to a Mr. Arthur M. Burrows of Andover for $525. He subsequently sold the lumber to Mr. Guy Wood, who used it to build a house on Church St. It is the third house on the left from East Greenwood St.
In 1906, a training class was organized under direction of Miss Sara Riley (later to become Mrs. James Cannon.) In 1913, a kindergarten class was added.
In 1927 it was voted on to add a brick addition to the school. It was added on to the northern end towards Elm St. of the school. This building was dedicated on April 16, 1929. L.C.Whitford was the contractor. The cost of this project was $86,020. The gym was housed on the main floor along with boys and girls’ shower rooms, on the second floor were 3 or 4 high school rooms, a library and a science lab.
At the annual school meeting in 1938, the issue of Centralization was voted on, 527 for and 226 against. Shortly thereafter the site of the present school was purchased for $10,500.
Before the school could be built, houses and barns had to be moved or torn down. Two houses were moved to Barney St. and a barn was made into a house, which now stands on the left hand corner of East Ave. and East Greenwood St.
L. C. Whitford built this building at a cost of $263,800, of which 45% was paid by grant obtained by WPA (Works Project Administration). A Mr. Duane Layman designed this beautiful structure. The building was dedicated on June 26, 1940.
In 1941, the Steuben Silk Mill moved into the old school building with the option to buy if they desired. With the centralization of the district, all of the little country schools of the outlying districts were closed. We will talk about them later.
In 1959, an addition was made to the school, providing more classrooms, a shop, cafeteria expansion and a swimming pool. Again L. C. Whitford built the structure with Mr. Duane Layman doing the designing. The cost was $450,000; 36% was direct cost to the district.
In 1962 the old school that stood on the lot between Elm St. and Center St. was torn down to make building lots. James Kessler and Charles Joyce built houses on these lots. Mr. and Mrs. Joyce still live there and Mr. and Mrs. John Hyland now live in the Kessler house.
On April 11, 1990, ground was broken for a $5.6 million renovation / construction project. The renovation would involve replacing the heating system, installing new windows, major improvements to the electrical and plumbing systems and other general interior projects. The new construction added 11 classrooms and a new gymnasium. General contractor of the project was DiMarco Constructors of Rochester.
In the summer of 2001, more upgrading projects were going on around the high school. The project consists of technological updates having to do with the computer systems and wiring, a music suite, industrial arts shop, classrooms, athletic field improvements, and upgrading of the old gym to an auditorium status.