Education was a priority for the early settlers of New Hartford. One of the first schools was a small schoolhouse built on Seneca Turnpike in the early 19th century on land given by Joshua Palmer. The first teacher of record was Samuel Dakin who came from New Hampshire in 1815 when New Hartford was larger and more bustling than Utica.
In 1865, the school was located on the village green near South Street (now Oxford Road). The building, and Id home, was a plain, wooden two-story structure. The children were taught separately; upstairs for the girls, downstairs for the boys. This New Hartford school had one teacher and 40 pupils.
In 1869 it was replaced by a new brick building. The new building cost $5,000 and; two teachers were employed by the district. This school was also on the village green and later became the fire station.
By 1884 the population was growing steadily and a large home on Pearl Street, owned by the Chase family, was converted to a school. The first principal of the Pearl Street School was Miss M.L. White. It had four teachers and 160 scholars.
First High School
In 1890, Mr. A.M. Scripture was the principal and a professor at the Pearl Street School. He believed New Hartford needed Regents supervision and in 1893 New Hartford became a member of the University of the State of New York. Mr. Scripture succeeded in getting the school raised to senior grade by 1898 and to a full high school with college preparatory courses by 1899. New Hartford High School was approved by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction in January of 1899. At that time New Hartford had 400 students and 11 teachers.
When New Hartford was chartered in 1899 by the Regents as a high school, it met the requirements of the State Education Department and offered biology, physics, and chemistry in newly enlarged laboratory facilities. Vocal music and physical culture were new instruction courses. Other typical courses taken by students in the early 1900s were English, algebra, geometry, foreign languages, spelling, drawing, civics, economics, typewriting, and history, with an emphasis on ancient Greece and Rome.
Graduates were able to meet the requirements for admission to college including medical, dental, veterinary, and law schools. The course work required to enter these post secondary programs was available to students at New Hartford.
The Point School
On January 15, 1901, the taxpayers approved an appropriation of $22,000 for a new, badly needed building, due to the population boom in New Hartford. The Romanesque-style building still stands in the heart of the village of New Hartford on a site the older people of 1901 referred to as the "Golden Place." It was a two-story structure built to suit 600 pupils. The plan for the new school contained cathedral glass transom lights and arched openings over the entrance doors. The outside was composed of red brick trimmed with Indiana limestone and a slate roof. The hallways contained porcelain two-jet sanitary drinking fountains and two large wardrobes for coats that led into a well proportioned assembly hall. Every room in the building was equipped with electric lights and bells connected to the principal's office. The classrooms contained libraries with easy access to bookcases offering books adapted to each grade level. The plan for the new school was overseen by Principal Scripture and a Clinton architect, Mr. A.L Easingwood. The Clinton Courier noted that school experts pronounced it to be "the best found in the villages of the Empire State; and excelled be only a very few of the city buildings, which cost much more."
Oxford Road Building
The second New Hartford High School building opened officially for students on September 11, 1932, at a cost of $250,000. It housed a grade school, junior, and senior high at the time of its opening. The supervising principal was D.C. Grover and president of the board of education was Atemus B. Sheldon. The school had a staff of over 35 teachers and administrators.
Local Utica newspaper reports about the new colonial-style school mention that modern equipment was part of the design including radio, telephone, heat, and ventilation systems; state-of-the-art in its time! The attractive Oxford Road facility accommodating between 600 and 700 pupils also contained a gymnasium and auditorium, both with "loud speakers."
The forward-looking school board approved a construction design that could easily be enlarged. The teachers' lounges including fireplaces to relax and warm oneself; there were two, one for women, the other for men. Lockers in the 10-foot corridors took the place of the traditional coat rooms.
Present Day Buildings
By the late 1940's, enrollment growth had reached the point that a new, combined elementary and junior-senior high school was proposed to be built on Oxford Road. When the $1.6-million facility officially opened for classes on April 21, 1952, the old bell, for the Point School, was dusted off and rung again. From 1897 to the early 1930s the bell had been rung to note the start of school. That bell is now displayed in the front entrance to the Bradley Elementary School (formal1y the Oxford Road Elementary School.)
The "Dream School" adjoined the 1932 high school and included an elementary school wing along with a gymnasium, bus garage, separate technology shop, and service buildings. The "L" shaped, sprawling ranch-style building was referred to as a symbol of sacrifice and hope.
Two new elementary schools were built after this school. Myles School on Clinton Road opened in 1958 and Hughes School on Higby road opened in 1960. The latest addition to the district schools, Ralph Perry Junior High, opened in September of 1964.
The New Hartford Central School District has come a long way since the 1900s. The district has an enrollment of 2,670 students, a staff of 241 full-time teachers, 106 non-instructional staff, and 13 administrators. The district operates three elementary schools, a junior high, and a senior high school on 110 acres of developed sites. These sites include two complete athletic fields, an all-weather track, a competitive-sized swimming pool and a smaller teaching pool. Most recently the district approved the $25 million Triple A Project which will include a new all-weather playing surface for the Don Edick Field and new lighting for the field. The Triple A Project also includes renovations of the existing Oxford Road Auditorium and music facilities, and the addition of new Science classrooms and labs at the High School that will create a Science, Math and Technology center within the High School facility.
New Hartford has grown to a community of 25,OOO and its citizens still place a great value on education. New Hartford Senior High offers comprehensive academic and extracurricular programs. A strong traditional college preparatory program and dedicated faculty are hallmarks of the school. The college preparatory program includes 14 Advanced Placement courses. Students participate at five times the national average. Student performance results on A.P. and Regents exams make New Hartford one of the strongest performing schools in the state of New York. Over 90% of the graduating seniors go to college. New Hartford High School has also been recognized by Newsweek as one of America's best high schools four times since the year 2000.
Today's comprehensive educational program inc1udes significant extracurricular involvement by students. The school's marching band, the Marching Spartans, has won six state championships since the 1980's and remains consistently in the middle to top of its class. The 1997 hockey team was the first team in New York state history to win a state championship both in the field and in the c1assroom for the highest team academic average in the state. In 2005 the boys varsity lacrosse team became the district's first team to win a league title and in 2006 they were the first area lacrosse team to win a section championship. There have been numerous All American and Academic All American Students in swimming. A number of students have distinguished themselves at state forensic events and several have qualified to compete at national events. One of the very special characteristics about New Hartford is that a tradition continues which emphasizes academics first and excellence in extracurricular participation.
The tremendous help and cooperation received from a group of dedicated individuals contributed significantly to the success of the New Hartford Senior High School Alumni Directory. Some of these people provided reunion lists, while others helped New Hartford Senior High School and our publisher track down hard-to-find alumni information. All "went the extra mile" to make the New Hartford Senior High School Alumni Directory as complete and accurate as possible.
On behalf of New Hartford Senior High School and the Bernard C. Harris Publishing Company, Inc., we extend a most gracious "Thank You" to the enthusiastic supporters listed below and to everyone else whose efforts have made our directory a very special volume.