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Mansfield High School Buildings and Their Transitions to Our Present

Mansfield High School and its Buildings

 
   

The  picture above shows the east side and front old schoool built as the Graded School in 1881. It was referred to locally as the Brick School because it replaced an older elementary school which stood across from the normal school (now called MU) and which was called the White School. This school was converted to the new high school's use in 1912 at which time the elementary students went to The Model School on the MSNS Campus. Many now know the former Model School as Belknap Hall.. The Brick school was torn down in 1938. In its place now stands the larger part of the present High School. This was  where the present music or band room is located.

The photo above was taken after the remodeling that changed the window pattern and reduced the number of chimneys.

The photo below shows the west side of the building in a colorized postcard before the ca 1912 remodeling.

The following excerpts describe the lot on which the brick school was built in 1881 and on which the present secondary school stands.
Wellsboro Agitator, July 20, 1875, p.4
Sheriff's Sales

brick
#73 - A lot of land in the borough of Mansfield; bounded on the north by the Wellsboro road, on the east by Isabel Smythe, J.P. Morris and Delos Mann, on the south by C. Smythe, and west by the Tioga river; containing four acres more or less, with a few fruit trees thereon, all improved, and two old frame buildings thereon. To be sold as the property of Henry G. Smythe and A.S. Brewster, administrators of Terrence Smythe, deceased.

Wellsboro Agitator, April 27, 1880, p.3
Some of the people of Mansfield object to the proposed site of the new school building - the Smythe property near the Park

   
This is a summer view taken before1912 when the building was converted to High school use. Although it is labeled High School, it does not show the remodeling that took place about 1912.

Remember, Mansfield did not have an acredited high school prior to 1912. We do, however have fragmentary evidence of higher level courses offered in the higher grades. There were grades up to 12, but they were not accredited as a high school, only a graded school.
brick2
  William R. Longstreet, who had formerly been county Superintendent of Schools, was the first high school principal.
This lovely winter scene of the Brick School is by photographer, Vedder. It is one of the nicest we have found.

Observation: The pattern of windows in this shot AND in the 1927/1938 shot below differs from the others indicating a remodeling along the way. Since the Mansfield Advertisers from 1912-1929 are mostly missing, we can't research that there. The pictures themselves give us the clues we need by looking at the postmark dates on the backs of the cards.

btick3
This view circa 1910 shows the horse-drawn school busses and the children. In 1910 this was a twelve level graded school.

Picture the present high school band/music room and the slope to orient yourself to the present. That slope is still there ending in the drive in front of the senior wing of the school.
bus
This charming photo by photographer Bert Bates shows a softball game west of the brick school where the present senior high school wing stands. We have three or four versions of this same game.

The absence of the gymnasium addition dates this as pre 1927. The card label of Boro School indicates that it as pre 1912 as does the pattern of windows and chimneys that was altered ca 1912..
ball
Compare the window pattern and the number of chimneys in this photo to the one above. We can guess that the remodel took place about the time the building was converted for high school use in 1912.

This softball scene, also by Bates, is postmarked 1914, confirming our theory above.
windows

Manscript 1933, pp.6-7

History of Mansfield’s Schools 

Our town is known as a College town. Therefore it seem sonly fitting that this history of education should begin with the college. The building of a small seminary was completed February 15, 1857, on the site where our college now stands. It open its doors to students January 15, 1857, under the supervision of the Methodist Church. This did not prove entirely satisfactory, so finally the State took it over, and it was reorganized into a State Normal School, December 11, 1862. The buildings formerly used were enlarged and improved, and the attendance grew until in 1927 it was made a State Teachers College. It has become very well known, especially for its work in Music and Home Economics.

A Soldiers’ Orphan School was no doubt the next organized. Its name signifies the type of school it was. The main building was on the site where Shepard’s men’s clothing store now stands, on the corner of Main and Wellsboro Streets. There were various other buildings belonging to the school, such as dormitories. The Boys’ Dormitory was directly across the street from the main building. The children did a great deal of good under the supervision of Professor Allen, who at the same time was President of the Normal School for which he accomplished some remarkable things. Later the main building of the Orphan School burned.

Besides these schools, the one used for more general purposes was the Academy, situated across from the college on Academy Street, named after the school. This took the place of other schools until the building we now use for a High School was built in 1882. It was then called the Borough School and was graded, being used for all grades, from the highest to the lowest. It was large enough to serve in this capacity for there were few pupils to occupy it, and small one room school houses accommodated the people of the outlying communities. As time went on the population increased and the people’s ideals advanced until more and more pupils attended school.

 Alumni Hall at the Normal was used for some of the pupils, until in 1914 the Training School was built. The Borough School was still used; it was an individual choice as to which school the pupil wished to attend. The Seniors of the State Normal School taught in the Training School. In the Borough School one teacher was hired for each grade. Finally the grades were divided between these two schools, the elementary grades remaining at the Training School and the Junior and Senior High School grades using the Borough building. Soon the Borough school was made into a High School, and the eight grades of grammar school used the Training School.

n 1926 a still further division was made with the erection of the beautiful Junior High School building. This made ours the six-three-three system of school division – the first six grades in the Training School; seventh, eighth and ninth in Junior High School; tenth, eleventh, and twelfth in Senior High School. Our High School building is a fairly large one, situated in a beautiful spot beside the Tioga River. It was greatly added to and the education advance when in 1929 the building to be used as gymnasium and auditorium was erected. We are still using the same old edifice built in 1882. It has been improved and somewhat remodeled on the interior and still serves its purpose courageously. We would not have wished for any other, for we now love it dearly. We hope, however, that future generations may enjoy a new building the same beautiful site and spacious grounds as our dear Alma Mater.

A SHORT HISTORY OF MANSFIELD SCHOOLS 

one page typed article "A Short History of Mansfield Schools" circe 1934. Author unknown.

                The first school was held in Mansfield in the winter of 1821-22 in one room of a plank house occupied by John Kelts, which stood near where the electric substation now stands. The school was taught by Susana Allen,  great ,great aunt of Miss Elizabeth Allen. From 1822 to 1826, school was held in a house built by Alpheus Button for a dwelling in 1815,which stood near the Smythe Park entrance about where the telephone building now stands.

                In 1826 the first school house was built and stood just south of the present bridge over the railroad. There was no railroad at that time and no out.

                The old white schoolhouse was built in 1837 near the corner of Academy and Sullivan streets and served the community until about 1882 when because of overcrowding and the need of extensive repairs,  a new brick schoolhouse was built on a plot of ground purchased from Smythe. The building was located about where our present music room is now located.

Mansfield Borough and Richmond Township  formed one of the first joint schools in Pennsylvania in 1912 and the joint board hired W.R. Longstreet as Principal and established a high school with a four year course. In 1920 the Junior High School was formed and occupied the first floor of Alumni Hall and became a teacher training institution. In. 1927-28 the combination gymnasium-auditorium was built. Professor Longstreet retired in 1928 and Willard Ackley was elected Principal. Mr. Ackley resigned in 1930 and Warren Miller was elected Principal. The Vocational Agriculture building was built in 1933-34 under CWA. In 1934 Mr. Miller was elected Supervising Principal and was also high School Principal. 

  Mansfield High School's First Faculty
gym In 1927, the gymnasium was added east of the Brick School. This section survives as the auditorium.

Prior to the erection of this building, high school basketball was held in the Tioga Valley Grange building that had been built in 1917 on the corner of West Wellsboro and Sassafras Alley.

This photo shows clearly the spacial proximity to a structure we know and the original building that is gone. It was taken between 1927 when the gym was built and 1938/39 when the Brick School was razed.
bridge This view of the high school from the old iron bridge shows both the original brick school and the attached new gymnasium which was added in 1927.

Mansfield Advertiser, 17 March 1937, p.1

Mansfield Needs New High School Class Room Building 

The Mansfield School Board are planning to build a new class room building to replace the present building. Several good reasons are given for starting the project at this time. In the first place the present building is fifty-eight years old, and the bricks which were made in Mansfield, are soft and have been crumbling for some time. The rear wall bulged so much that it was necessary to put in steel trusses some years ago. There is not doubt that in a few years the building will be declared unsafe and then the town will be forced to build. 

Just at this time the government is giving grants, outright gifts of forty-five percent of the total cost for erecting and equipping of buildings, and school buildings have been favored. Several hundred have been built in Pennsylvania. 

It is also true, that building costs are low, but are beginning to go higher. Bonds have been floated at a low rate of interest but these rates are beginning to go higher. The Board feels that if they can get an outright gift of forty-five percent of the cost, and finance the rest of the project at a low interest rate it is time to build. 

If the present plans go through it will not be necessary to raise the mill rate to finance the project. The Board has paid for the $38,000 gymnasium-auditorium in nine years and they have reduced the mill rate five mills during the time. At the same time a vocational building was built and next fall that bill will be paid. 

Mansfield is primarily a school town and the educational facilities should be the best it is possible to provide at a reasonable cost. We believe we have good schools but our old building does not provide many of the facilities which are practically necessary in a modern system of education. The time seems right to improve those facilities and the voters will have an opportunity to express themselves at a special election for a bond issue to put this project over. 

The erection of the new building depends upon the approval of the bond issue by the voters April 20th, and securing a grant from the government. 


Mansfield Advertiser, 21 April 1937

Mansfield Votes For School Building 

At the special election yesterday the voters of Mansfield approved of the bond issue to build a new school building by a vote of 212 to 32. While the vote was not large, as was to be expected on a special election, yet it indicates the overwhelming sentiment in this boro for a new building. The old building has answered the purpose for fifty-eight years, during which time the school has increased decidedly in enrollment. There are probably more students in the high school today than in the whole school in its early days. The new building, as has been mentioned in these columns before, will flank the present auditorium on each side at the rear and at the same time be built as a part of it. The total cost will be about $70,000 of which the board expects a grant from the Federal government of 45%, leaving $40,000, the amount of the bond issue approved, to be paid by the local taxpayers.   

Mansfield Advertiser, 31 March 1937, p.1

Plans for New High School Building Approved by Bureau 

Plans for the proposed class room building for the Senior High School as submitted by the architects and planned by Principal Warren L. Miller and the School Board, with suggestions from others interested, have been approved by the Bureau of Buildings at Harrisburg with some minor alterations. These plans call for an east and west wing to the auditorium, making a compact and modern building. The home economics department will be at the rear of the stage, which will greatly facilitate the serving of banquets and luncheons in the auditorium. Besides the usual science laboratory, commercial class room, first aid room, equipped for instruction in home nursing in connection with the home economics department and a modern music room. The building will be arranged to take care of a maximum of 300 students and allow for any anticipated growth in the school, which has increased rapidly during the past few years. With this type of building, Mansfield will have one of the best equipped and most attractive school buildings in the section.

Mansfield Advertiser, 14 April 1937, p.1

Need of School Building Told at Luncheon

Warren L. Miller, principal of the senior high school, talked to the business men’s association at the luncheon in the Parish House Tuesday noon on the plans of the proposed new school building. He told the group that the school board were hesitant about going into the building plan at first, but later felt that certain conditions existing at this time made it imperative that they should attempt to build now. Some of these reasons are as follows:

Our building if fifty-eight years old and has been repaired and revamped a number of times, but in the present state of the outside walls it would not be feasible to spend more money on the present building. The department of labor and industry are becoming more rigid all the time to see that all public buildings are perfectly safe. This is especially so since the recent catastrophe in Texas. It may be necessary to spend a substantial sum of money on the old building if a new one is not built.

Pupils must go through classrooms to get to others. There is a demand for a commercial course as evidenced by the fact that over fifty adults are taking a bookkeeping and shorthand evening course offered by the W.P.A. They also want typewriting, but we have no typewriters and no room for such a course it it were started.

Building costs are going higher, as well as interest rates on bonds. It we can build now a substantial saving can be effected on both. The P.W.A. will give outright, if our application is approved, 45 per cent of the cost of the building, equipment and interest on the bonds during the building process, as well as for the purchase of land.

The additional building is to be fastened to the back of the present gymnasium-auditorium, extending about ninety feet east and ninety feet west of the present gym. Some of the land owned by the Park Association and Mr. Shaw would have to be acquired. The west wing of the building would extend over the present boiler room and west of the basement, so that very little excavation would be needed. The building would be a one story structure with rooms for a school library, home economics room, music room, commercial room, science room, office, health room and sufficient classroom space for the regular subjects taught in high school. It would be a modern plant in every way with each bit of space planned for its greatest usefulness at the least possible cost, consistent with good materials and workmanship.

This building depends upon a P.W.A. grant and the passing of a bond issue by the people of Mansfield. It either one fails, then this building cannot be built. It’s up to the people of Mansfield and the action of the administration of the P.W.A. on the grant. If there are any other questions, I shall be glad to try to answer them.

Mansfield Advertiser, 18 August 1937, p.1

Mansfield to Have New School Buses

 Arrangements have been made to provide the school children of Richmond Township with new and modern buses, in which to ride to school at Mansfield this winter. There will be three Chevrolets with Superior bodies, three Studebakers with Wayne bodies. They will have entry doors near the front on the right side, with emergency exits in the rear, and will look like the regular passenger buses used on short bus routs. They are expected for delivery about September 1st. Jay Bryant, who has the Pickle Hill Route, will have a 30 passenger Chevrolet with Superior body. Fay Killgore, who drives Mann Creek and Orebed Road, will have a 30 passenger Chevrolet with Superior body. Cecil Palmer, who has Lambs Creek, will have a 36 passenger Chevrolet with Superior body. Ray Woodard, on the Mulberry Hill route, will have a 24 passenger Studebaker with Wayne body. Alfred Cleveland, Schodac, will have a 36 passenger Studebaker with Wayne body. Ward Sparling, North Elk Run and Canoe Camp, will have a 36 passenger Studebaker with Wayne body. Ward Phelps, Canoe Camp Creek, 36 passenger Stewart with Wayne body. Ambrose Robinson, who goes from Clarence Every farm by way of Powers Corners to top of Patchogue Hill and down Newtown Hill, will have a 36 passenger Stewart with Wayne body.

Mansfield Advertiser, 29 June 1938

Mansfield to Have New High School Building 

Word was received last Wednesday evening by Mrs. R.C. Longbothum, secretary of the Mansfield School Board, that their application for a grant of $40,930 had been approved. This is 45% of the cost of the new high School building that has been in contemplation for several months. The application was mad e some time ago and was given the number Pennsylvania 1663, but the grant was held up pending the appropriation for more money to the P.W.A. This was done in the closing days of the last session of Congress in the three billion dollar relief bill. Mansfield’s application was already on file and approved, so that we were among the first to be ready to start under the new plan to speed up recovery. Norman B. Leslie, of Wellsboro, the attorney for the school board, and W.D. Shollenberger, of Williamsport, the architect, are getting everything in readiness. Principal Warren Miller and Architect Schollenberger are in Williamsport today with the revised plans, and as soon as the board receives final approval of the plans and specifications bids will be advertised.  The new building will be built around the rear of the present auditorium, The auditorium stage will be extended eight feet and back of this will be a corridor the length of the new building which will be at right angles to the auditorium, and will be approximately 233 feet long, the Auditorium is 65 feet wide 95 feet long. On each side of the auditorium on the north of the corridor will be two class rooms, the south side of the corridor will be the home economics room directly back of the auditorium, flanked by class rooms and the commercial room on the east and the science laboratory on the west. The ends of the new building will extend toward the street to make room for the library and office in the east wing and the music room and class rooms in the west wing. The main entrance will be in the east wing, alongside the office. There will be another entrance in the west wing, and also one in the rear, going in to the home economics room. In the basement will be the boys locker and shower room, with an entrance directly to the athletic field on the west. New land will be purchased to make room for the buildings. The old buildings will be torn down. No new taxes will be necessary, as according to a plan presented by Prof. Miller at the Business Men’s luncheon some months ago, the bonds can be paid off with the present tax rate. No bonds will be paid off until 1940 and there will be sufficient money in the school treasury to pay the interest the first year. The building will cost about $90,000, of which the P.W.A. will furnish $40,930, and the balance will be raised by a bond issue that was approved by a bond issue that was approved by the people at the special election April 20, 1937.

Mansfield Advertiser, 14 August 1938

Contracts Let For New High School 

The bids for the new High School building were opened by the Board at a meeting last Thursday afternoon. The low bidders were: general construction, Curtis Pethick Co ., Wilkes-Barre, $71,972.00; heating and ventilation, Harry Daugherty & Son, Freeport, PA, $15,440.00; plumbing, John Terrill, Lock Haven, $4,897.00; electric wiring, George E. Dyer, Mansfield, $4,231.00. Other bids were: general construction, F.P. Case & Sons, Troy, $74,650.00; Sordoni Construction Co., Wilkes-Barre, $73,990.00; Henry W. Streeter Corp., Elmira, $78,500.00; heating and ventilating, E. Keeler Co., Williamsport, $17,377.00; John Terrill, Lock Haven, $18,425.00; John  L. Turner & Co., Nanticoke, PA, $17,833.00; Joseph A. Hughes, Kingston, PA, $18,247.00; F.C. Patterson & Co., Inc., Bradford, $4,900.00; George M. Burgan, Troy, $5,435.00; electric wiring, Popky Engineering Co., Wilkes-Barre, $6,475.00; Lycoming-Edison Electric Co., $5,995.00; Jere Woodring Co., Hazleton, $5,528.00.

Mansfield Advertiser, 31 August 1938, p.1

High School to Open Labor Day

 The Mansfield Senior High School will open Monday, September 5. Chemistry classes will meet in the agricultural building and the home economics department has been moved to the Shaw house. Other classes will be held in the Methodist Church School building.

The faculty for this year is: Warren L. Miller, principal; Miss Grace Reimard, supervisor of home economics; Kenneth Boyer, supervisor of agriculture; Miss Genevieve Schanbacher, Miss Dorothy Green, Miss Marion Gleckler, Mrs. Gladys Merrill, Donald Benson, Benn Weeks.

Mansfield Advertiser, 14 September 1938, p.3

Enrollment – Senior Hi-Lights

This year the Mansfield Senior High can boast the largest registration since we have had a three year high school. The latest report from the office states that there is an enrollment of one hundred ninety-one students, seventy-nine of which are Sophomores, sixty-one Juniors and fifty-one Seniors. Although the Methodist church serves very well as a high school, it is only natural that we are all anxiously awaiting the time when we will enter the new building.

Mansfield Advertiser, 5 October 1938, p.1

Work Progressing on New High Building

Construction of the new Senior High School building is within about three percent of schedule. The rear wall of the auditorium has been remodeled, the steel flanking beam  put in place and opening above bricked in. Two-thirds of the steel beams and trusses are in place. About half of the concrete floor will be poured this week.

1940 In 1938-40 the Brick School was razed and the U wing built around the gym.

During this time, students attended classes in any building in town that could house them: churches, grange, anything.

As a result, the Class of 1939 did not have a yearbook. The Class of 1941 only had scrapbooks into which they pasted photos. We have two of the copies at The History Center. The photos are not labeled.

The long building in upper left was one of the fair livestock buildings.

The building behind was the Vocational Agriculture building built in 1933/34.

59

In 1958 the new wing was added to the west of the existing structure. The old (1940) wing was put in use for the junior high school which was moved down from the MSTC campus where it had previously been housed.

The circular band/music room is the front of the location of the orignal brick school. The new wing stands on what was the softball field in earlier photos. We see the gymnasium/auditorium added in 1927, the eastern U built around the gym in 1939 and now used as the junior high wing, and the 1959 senior wing.

Exccept for some recent modifications, the represents quite closely the present structure

 
The History Center on Main Street, 83 N. Main Street, Mansfield PA 16933   histcent83@gmail.com

Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA
Published On Tri-Counties Site On 28 DEC 2018
By Joyce M. Tice
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