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South Street School: A Friend Long Gone
South Street School, Glens Falls, New York at one time was located at the intersection of South and West (now Broad) Streets
From the early days of development, there were many private schools and academies in Glens Falls. As schools were formed, they were generally small one and two room buildings.
A brief time line looks at one particular school in the city:
1785: the New York State Board of Regents was created
1786: The Act of 1786 provided land reserved one section of land in each township for “gospel and schools” and promotion of literacy
1795: The Act of 1795 ‘encouraged’ schools. Common school districts were established in Warren County
1812: The Act of 1812 required all counties to maintain elementary schools within walking distance for all pupils.
1823: Glens Falls was divided into three separate districts, each with a one-room school house.
District #2 had a one-room school at 93 Ridge Street.
District #18 had one on the corner of Warren Street and Oakland Avenue.
District #20 was located at the corner of South and West (now Broad) Streets that was known as South Street School.
1881: Five District schools were consolidated to form Union Free School District #1: South Street School, Seminary Hill School, Plank Road School, Park Street School, and Ridge Street School
South Street School, District #20 was at the South Street and West Street (now South Street) and Broad Street intersection started life as wood building erected circa 1823. After 40 years, it was eventually declared unfit for school purposes. A two-room, one-story brick building, 70’ X 35’ was erected in 1864 by George Conery for $1,400. Another two-room wooden building at 107 Park Street was used to relieve overcrowding at the South Street building.
1882: Trustees recommended that a new eight-room school building be constructed on the site of the South Street School. It was put to a public vote and failed, 495 nays to 189 ayes. [The vote against the proposal may have reflected the location of the South Street/West Street location, considering it an undesirable spot for a school in the city.]
A teachers’ committee reported at the time, in the three primary schools in the district (Glen Street, South Street, and Park Street Schools) there were four rooms, five teachers and 459 pupils – 67 pupils-per-teacher. Severe overcrowding was due in part to the “canal pupils” who came in the winter.
1890: citizens approved erecting a new building on the South Street site, 495 for, 110 against. The twelve room, three story brick building had toilets in the basement!
1891: The new South Street School opens
1931: South Street School closed and students were moved to the new Broad Street School. Broad Street School served the district from 1931-1981.
After the building was closed, it was used by Warren County for some offices and storage. The building was razed in 1964 and replaced by a service station. It later became the site of a Rite Aid Drug Store. The building stands empty at this time.
1964: The old South Street School was razed to make way for a service station.
The Post Star, July 24, 1964
The History of the Glens Falls, N.Y. City School District 1762-1993, by Dr. Robert King
Photos from the Fish Collection, courtesy of Wayne Wright, Glens Falls City Historian