Centre School Dedication

Return to Centre School Table of Contents

The Hamptons Union

Thursday, March 30, 1922

Hampton Centre School in 1938

[Photograph taken in 1938, not in original article of 1922]

Not in many years has old Hampton-by-the-Sea had bigger reason for celebrating with a Boom and a Bang and a 'Rah. For years the lovers of the boys and girls have dreamed of worthier facilities for their education. A few have had bad dreams with specters of a big debt, and scaring tax rates. But most have said, "If any boys and girls in the Old Granite State -- or anywhere else, for that matter -- are worthy, Hampton's young people are. And last night (March 29, 1922) they signalized the realization of their best dreaming. The new Centre School Building was dedicated with the worthy program commented upon below. The building Committee has every reason for gratification in the quality of the achievement that crowns their painstaking labors and exacting care. They deserve and have the appreciation of their fellow citizens. No figures can ever adequately register their tireless devotion and attention to minutest details. The Committee as organized consists of the following men: L. C. Ring, Chairman; George Ashworth, Secretary; Harry Munsey, Treasurer; Edwin L. Batchelder, and Christopher S. Toppan. The Committee has realized themselves fortunate in the helpers whom they secured,The Bacon-Forrest Company of Boston are the architects, The Hudson Construction Co., the contractors. The Heating and ventilation system has been in the hands of the Power, Heat and Ventilating Co. The old dependable firm of E. E. Babb and Co. supplied the school-room furnishings. The electric lighting will be a standing recommendation of the M. B. Foster Co.

The main building is 104 by 60 feet, two stories, excellently lighted, of western brick with stone trimmings. Ten rooms provide for the six grades and the Junior High, and in the basement for the domestic science and manual arts departments. A rear extension of the basement and first floor provides for the heating plant and the coal pocket and for the beautiful auditorium which seats 225. This hall is equipped with a moving picture booth. In the main building are two rooms for teachers and in the room for the women teachers the district nurse will have her office. The total cost of the plant is about $90,000,000 [sic, probably should read $90,000], which provides for the completion of the grading immediately about the building. At the rear is excellent provision for the school campus, for the lot includes about ten acres. Drainage is already under way, and grading protected.

With this excellent and adequate provision for her young people, Hampton says to all her friends, "We yield to no town in appreciation of education and of the meaning of a thoroughly trained citizenry."

Rev. Edgar Warren presided over the exercises of dedication and in the introduction of the speakers and other items of the program, spoke with keen appreciation and sympathy, Hampton's educational ideals and history, and of the summit of achievement in this building.

The Hampton male quartet sang "Only Remembered By What I Have Done," the leader suggesting that as long as this building stands the citizens who had the courage and wisdom to realize this great achievement will be remembered for what they have done. Prayer was offered by Rev. R. E. Thompson.

With apt words of appreciation of the labors and faithfulness of his fellow-members of the committee, and of all the contracting parties, and special tribute to the utter absence of friction on the whole job, unparalleled, he, said, in his long experience as a builder, Chairman Ring formally handed the keys of the building to C. S. Toppan, Chairman of the School Board.

Mrs. Lucy Marston, Patriotic Instructor to the Women's Relief Corps, on behalf of the Corps presented to the five teachers, for their schools, new and beautiful American flags, and the officers of the Corps presented the flags for salute in which the whole gathering heartily joined. Immediately following all united to sing a verse of "The Star Spangled Banner."

Mr. James N. Pringle, Deputy Commissioner of Education for New Hampshire, presented in his address a very interesting study of the educational history of the town, with sidelights from the records of many other towns. His quotation from pages 473-4 of Dow's History of Hampton revealed to such as had not studied this history some very interesting facts. On February 2, 1649, the town of Hampton agreed with John Legatt to teach all children, "Mayle and femaile" ("who are capable of learning.") every day -- presumably except Sunday, when the weather permitted. The subjects were two, with an elective: to "write and read and cast accounts (if it be desired)." His compensation was to be "Twenty pounds, payable in corn, cattle and butter at price currant." This was while New England was making educational provision, for the most part, only for its boys. Two hundred ten years ago, in 1712, the first school house on the site of the new Central Building was built, 24 feet long and 20 feet wide. This stood for twenty-four years, when it was, burned, Another of the same size replaced it. Hampton Falls and North Hampton had been set off and were taking care of themselves. In 1873 this was removed and the building which has been used for grammar school for almost fifty years was erected. Mr. Pringle's address was full of interest. Supt. Justin O. Wellman, of Amesbury, spoke briefly, offering hearty congratulation to the district Supt. Walker emphasized particularly the demand upon teachers and parents to maintain as far as possible the pristine beauty of the new school home. He also pleaded that the community make full use of the building as a community center.

Letters of congratulation were received from former superintendents, Messrs. S. Brooks and Albert T. Lane, who deeply regretted their inability to be present.

"America" was sung in closing. Those who know the field assert that no town of its size in the state has better provision for its pupils than our town of Hampton.