Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Local Parents Protest School Conditions

Washington street school (BPL Flickr photo group). Added 10/1/2011

Richards, L.J., 1899 (copyright © 2000 by Cartography Associates)
David Rumsey Collection

This map segment shows an area just south of Forest Hills. Stony brook loops across the top marked in blue. Washington street, the New York, New Haven railroad tracks, and Hyde Park avenue run horizontally from right to left. Walk Hill street forks off at the bottom. The Catholic cemetery along Hyde Park avenue is prominent here, just across the tracks from the schoolhouse. In recent years, the former Tollgate Footbridge crossed the tracks between the cemetery and the school. Actually, the footbridge structure is still there, but the stairs have been removed on both sides.

In 1900, the area on Washington street must have been a funnel for all the water draining from Canterbury, Hyde Park and Roslindale. If you stand on the spot now and look around, you see the hills of the Arboretum to the west and the Walk Hill slope to the east. You have to wonder who it was who decided to put a school at the lowest and wettest spot in the area.

Boston Globe March 14, 1900

Will Hold A Mass Meeting Forest Hills Citizens Protest Against Accomodations for Children in the Washington St School

Tomorrow evening the residents of Forest Hills will
hold a mass meeting in Minton hall to protest
against the present school accomodations in that
section. Ex Representative A.B. Root, the prime
mover in the meeting, will preside. Among those
invited to be present are Mayor Hart, Alderman
Gerry, Representatives Minton and Curley,
Councilmen Smith, Whiteley and Henderson and the
members of the subcommittees of the school board on
new buildings, schoolhouses and the 8th district.

There has been nothing for years in Forest Hills of
so much interest to Forest Hills residents as this
school question. The only building used in the
section for school purposes in the memory of any of
the residents is the old wooden building on
Washington st. still doing duty as a primary
school. The grammar school children are obliged to
go to the boy's grammar, the Agassiz, on Burroughs
st, or the girl's grammar, the Bowditch on Green
st. Both are in Jamaica Plain, a mile away from
Forest Hills sq.

But the particular grievance is in relation to the
little children in the old wooden building on
Washington,whom the residents want removed to the
new building on Walk Hill st.

As a result of a mass meeting two years ago work
was started on a new schoolhouse on Walk Hill st.
The plans called for an eight-room building, which
would give ample room for all the primary school
children in the building on Washington st. and
those attending the lower grades in the grammar
schools at Jamaica Plain and Roslindale. They
received their first disappointment when the school
committee decided to finish only four rooms then
and put on the other four when the money was

A few years ago, the four rooms were finished, and
it was expected that the primary children would
then be removed to the current building. But a
rumor became current that it was not the intention
of the school committee to remove the primary
children at all, but to bring pupils of the lower
grammar grades in Roslindale at the Charles Sumner
school and keep the little children in the old

Immediately there was a protest. The residents
claim that one of the objects of the new buildings
was for the primary children: that the old building
on Washington st is unfit for the children: that
they should be removed as soon as possible.
It is with the feeling that these children should
be attended to at once and taken away from their
present quarters that the residents are going to
gather and present a united protest.

A visit was made to the Washington st school by The
Globe representative and many interesting facts
learned. On the day of his visit the school yard
was a veritable mud hole, and in one corner was
considerable water.

Bad as the school building is, and as crowded as it
is, there are a large number of children of the
school age who cannot be accommodated. There is no
kindergarten school in the section, although over
100 applications have been received.

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