Albion Interactive History

Albion Interactive History > Buildings > Public Schools

Central School, 1872
 
     Renovated 1893

     Demolished June 1906

During the year 1869, the erection of a permanent central school building was a top priority for the board of education. After much debate, the board chose a site in the present-day 400 block of E. Michigan Avenue, north side of the street. The cost of acquiring the property was 42,500, and covered lot numbers 2-11 of block 27. Local contractor George W. Maher erected the brick Central School in the rear of lot numbers 9 and 1- at a total cost of $16, 826. The structure was financed by $10,000 in bonds, payable at 5% interest.

Classes opened in November, 1872. A dedication committee was formed, consisting of Andrew M. Fitch, Phineas Graves, W.D. Fox, Mr. Stoddard, Mr. Haven, and Mr. Bidwell. Professor Doty of Ann Arbor delivered the dedication address. P11

East and West wings were added to the Central School building in 1885 at a cost of $9,900, with George W. Maher being the contractor. During the construction, classes for the sixth grade were held in the basement of the Baptist Church on N. Superior St. The new wings were not fully utilized, however, until several years later. Up until 1889, only two rooms in the east wing were used for classes; only one in the west wing. An additional teacher was hired in 1891, and the west wing was thereby fully utilized. The basement of the east wing was fitted and occupied in December 1891. The capacity of the two wings was doubled in 1893 by construction of additions to the north ends of each, at a cost of $7,900. A central heating plant was also installed at the same time to replace the single large hot air furnace and a number of wood stoves in individual rooms.

The new wings meant that more space was available for curriculum expansion. A school library had already been established in 1881. An Estey organ was purchased in 1887, which allowed music to be added to the curriculum. A piano was purchased in 1895.

A new high school building was constructed in 1906-1907. The original 1872-built Central School building was demolished in June 1906.



The First Albion High School, erected in 1872.


The Central School building with its added east and west wings. 1896 photo.


The band room in the rear of Washington Gardner Junior High School is all that remains of the old 1885- built west wing addition of Central School.


Source: Frank Passic. A History of the Albion Public Schools. Albion, Michigan: E. Weil Publishing Services. 1991.

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