Holyoke’s New School Building for the Highlands Section

by Laurel | January 21st, 2014

21 January 1900

New Highlands School

New Highlands School
Holyoke, Massachusetts

For over a year the plans of Architect W. B. Reid for a school building in the Highlands here have been peacefully resting in his office. the plans were obtained by a competition, being submitted by number only, Mr. Reid’s plan being 3278. The passage of the vote of the Board of Aldermen at their last meetin authorizing the purchase of the Beaven lot, so called, practically carried the who matter through, as the committee had previously approved of plan 3278. The new charter provides quite a course of red tape for the method of procedure in securing a new school building. First of all, the school committee must approve of plans and recommend the purchase of a particular lot. Then the Board of Aldermen are asked to appropriate money for the purchase of the lot and erection of the building; then the Board of Public Works is given in hand the purchase of the lot and the erection of the building according to the plans approved. The one weak link in the plan is that the school board has no money to offer premiums for the plans for a building. This has been gotten over in some way, and the new building will undoubtedly be constructed without any of the “jobs” that have characterized buildings in some places.The building is planned for 16 rooms, the assembly hall being in the third story. Its general style is that of the Italian Renaissance, and it is planned to be built of well “culld” native red brick and Indiana limestone trimmings. In size it iis 110 by 168 feet, the main entrance of the building being triple arched with a balcony giving dignity to the structure. There are two side entrances with bicycle entrance for the convenience of the pupils, the bicycles being stored in special racks in the basement. There are to be eight classrooms 26 by 32 feet on the first floor, all but two being lighted on two sides. Each room has a teacher’s closet and bookcase with plenty of blackboard space. There is a teacher’s room with the toilet room opposite the main entrance. Next to the teacher’s room is a stationery room. The boys’ and girls’ sanitaries are located in ells at the rear about 35 feet from the main corridor. An emergency room is located near the girls’ toilet room to be used in case of illness.

The second floor is planned similarly t the first, only that the room for the principal occupies the relative space of the teachers’ room on the first floor, and there is ample space in the broad hall for a museum, if desired. There are two additional stairways in the rear leading directly to the ground that can be used in case of fire. The assembly room on the third floor is 60 by 75 feet in size, and will seat 600 pupils. The basement is planned to extend under the whole of the building and will be 8½ feet high. A partition runs entirely through it, and may be used as a play-room in stormy weather. Here are, too, the boiler and coal rooms which are conveniently arranged. There is also, a small room for the motor, dustproof, and a lift for the ashes. The cost of the building will be $65,000, exclusive of the finishings, which will cost about $10,000 more.

Adapted from The Springfield Republican.

2 Responses to “Holyoke’s New School Building for the Highlands Section”

  1. Louise Cavanaugh says:

    I taught at Highland School from 1981 until 1991, when it was closed. My father taught at Highland School in the 1950s and was later the principal of the school in the 1970s.
    Highland School was beautiful, with lovely wooden staircases and woodwork and large windows in the classrooms. I remember watching as the school was torn down, which was a very sad time. I’ll be retiring this year after teaching in Holyoke for 37 years, and I will always remember my years at Highland School as my favorite.

  2. Thanks for writing, Louise. You obviously have a lot of wonderful memories about Highland. I too remember when the school was being torn down, and as I continue reading old articles about the opening of the school, the museum that it held and the great source of pride it was for the city, it saddens me even more to think about the loss. You were lucky to have known it all first hand and also through your father, great memories are worth a lot. Congratulations on your upcoming retirement!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.


Suggested Holyoke Books

Mountain Park -- The Holyoke destination we all loved.

Mount Holyoke College

Mount Holyoke College, Postcard History by Donna Albino. Many Holyoke women have attended Mount Holyoke. Author also maintains an amazing MHC website based upon her personal collection.

Holyoke - Chicopee, A Perspective

Holyoke-Chicopee: A Perspective, by Ella Merkel DiCarlo. DiCarlo, a former Transcript columnist offers a fascinating compilation of her essays. Published in 1982, this out-of-print book is worth looking for in the aftermarket.


Holyoke, by Craig Della Penna. The first Holyoke book in the Arcadia series, published in 1997.

Belle Skinner Collection

Belle Skinner Collection, by Ruth Isabel Skinner. Published in 1933, this book is long out of print but copies are still available in the aftermarket.

Mitch Epstein: Family Business

Mitch Epstein: Family Business Published in 2003, available in the aftermarket. Epstein's furniture.