The beginning of Coldbrook Park School was a one-room country school in Southport known as the Fitzsimmons District. This little country school was located on the corner of Maple Avenue and now Cedar Street. One teacher tried to educate about 45 students in all eight grades. Some of the parents paid the tuition so their children could be educated in the Elmira city Schools.
In the early 1920’s the voters of Southport #3 met to solve the situation in the small school. Of course there were many heated arguments in regard to where and how many schools were to be built. On account of the railroad dividing the area, it has caused many discussions.
Finally after many meetings, in early 1923 the voters decided on building two (2) 2-room schools. On the east side of the railroad track off Maple Ave. on E. Laurentian Place land was purchased from the Wrigley Farm where one school was to be built. And west of the railroad tracks land was bought to erect another school.
Miss Harriett Easterbrook, who was District Superintendent of Schools for the southern part of Chemung County at this time, did a great deal to help the trustees in negotiating and planning for the construction of these two buildings. The Board of Trustees consisted of Arthur Griswold, LaMott Breese and Robert Freeman (all deceased).
Four teachers were hired to educate the students in the two schools. Mrs. Eloise Derry Grace (deceased) was hired as Teaching Principal and Mrs. Marjorie Hamblin Park, Elementary teacher for the building on the east side of the tracks. This school was later called Coldbrook Park School. On the west side of the tracks Mrs. Maude Evenden Johnson was hired as Teaching Principal and Deloris Murphy McCarthy, Elementary Teacher. The school was named Edgeworth.
Edgeworth School was finished September 1924. As Coldbrook Park School was not all constructed, all four teachers taught at the Edgeworth school. The children from the east side were taxied morning and night to the Edgeworth school until mid October 1924.
Although the children from Maple Avenue and area lost their taxi service, everyone was happy to be in their own school.
In 1925 Miss Esterbrook resigned. Mrs. Mededith Cox McWhorter became Superintendent.
For two years the classes steadily increased. In 1926 the voters of Southport #3 voted to build two more rooms on the Coldbrook Park School. In September 1927 two more teachers were hired to teach at the school, Mrs. Julia M. Parsons, 5th and 6th grades; Mrs.
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Maude M. Bach, 3rd and 4th grades. (both deceased). Mrs. Grace was Teaching Principal and taught 7th and 8th grades; Mrs. Park taught 1st and 2nd grades.
As time went on our school was getting more and more crowded. We had to utilize the hall, kitchen and auditorium as classrooms. When the first and second grades reached 50 pupils, Mrs. Park appealed to the Board for help. In 1947 plans were made to build on four new rooms (split level).
Of course it took a few months to build on the four new rooms. Mrs. Marie (Dean) Holly was hired to teach first grade from 12:30 – 3:00 pm and Mrs. Park, second grade from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm, Mrs. Bach third grade, Mrs. Edna Bartlett taught fourth grade in the hall. As Mrs. Parsons was transferred to Edgeworth to become Teaching Principal. Mrs. Alice Gelatt taught the fifth and sixth grades, and Mrs. Grace was still Teaching Principal and taught seventh and eighth grades.
In September of 1949 the four new rooms were completed. Mrs. Holly taught the new kindergarten room, Mrs. Hardis Hardenstine, first grade; Mrs. Park, second grade; Mrs. R. Sly, fifth grade; Mrs. Rhea Bryant, sixth grade. All teachers had one grade with the exception of Mrs. Grace who was Teaching Principal and taught seventh and eighth grades on a departmental bases. Special teachers were hired to teach social studies, art, music, and physical education. These special teachers circulated between Coldbrook Park and Edgeworth schools.
Mrs. McWhorter retired and Carlton Jackson was hired to take her place as District Superintendent of Schools.
Through the fine cooperation of parents, teachers, students and the help of the P.T.A., many fine social events took place all through the years.
In 1958 the City of Elmira and the Southport School District #3 voted to consolidate. This was the end of all one-room country schools and all other schools in the outlying towns east, west and south of Elmira. All this area became known as the "Elmira City School District". Many buses had to be purchased so as to transport all these children from outlying districts.
In time, many of the teachers retired. As new teachers and principals were hired at Coldbrook Park School, it was always a fine neighborhood school.
Five principals guided this neighborhood school for fifty-one years:
Mrs. Eloise D. Grace 1924 – 1964
Mr. John Goodwin 1964 – 1965
Mrs. Betty (Lesser) Hydak 1965 – 1968
Dr. Issiah Reid 1968 – 1970
Mr. Charles Paternoster 1970 – 1975
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The Elmira City School District Board of Education voted to close Coldbrook Park School in June of 1975. Teachers, students and parents were all very disappointed that the doors were to be closed on the excellent neighborhood school. At least "all" had
Happy memories as the principal and faculty were one of the finest.
As of now, the school has not been utilized. It stands as a memory to teachers who taught there and children who attended the school.
Article written by Marjorie H. Park, February 1978
Submitted to the Southport Town Historian, Nelda Holton
Retyped by Southport Town Historian, Virginia McElroy August 2002.
|I believe Bill told me this bell was on the desk of principal, Ms. Grace|
|This is named Eloise's 6th grade but no date or names. It is from Cold Brook Park School.|
|This photo was embedded in a Word document, hence the bad format conversion, and is just called Cold Brook Park school - no date or labels. It appears to be same photo as the one preveiusly sent in for 1939.1939 Class Photo|