Pittsford Area Schools
Pittsford, MI 49271
EARLY HISTORY OF THE PITTSFORD SCHOOLS
TAKEN FROM DOCUMENTS PASSED ON TO CINDA L. WALTON
FROM HER MOTHER NEVA E.(BAILEY) WALTON
(Known as Miss Neva) AND NEVA’S
FATHER ELISHA BAILEY.AS WELL AS, FAMILY MEMBERS;R.F. BAILEY AND JOHN PERRIN.
About 1848 the first schoolhouse was built in
what is the Hamlet of Pittsford. A wooden structure of which the size was about
22 ft. by 25 ft. and stood on the west side of Pittsford Road between what's
now M-34 and School Street. When discontinued as a school, it was moved
to the northwest corner of what is now School and First Streets. (The first
house on the west side of First St.) The school was known as “Fractional
School District No.6 of Pittsford and Jefferson.
(To see records of one of the one-room schools known as the Whitbeck School, dating 1848-1864, click here, click here)
The school board meetings minutes between 1865 and 1890 give the following details: The board of 1865 consisted of a Director, Assessor and Moderator whose last names were Perrin, Hunker and Wilson. The board determined each year what assessment would be made for each student and the assessor had to collect the amount for each child.Assessments were made for winter school and than again for summer school and were to be paid in cash and/or cords of wood. The board at times had as little as $2.68 to work with.
1869 it was thought that a new school should be built.The building was to be
30 ft. by 30 ft. and 22 ft. high and brick was to be the building material.The cost was around $2,000 and a loan at 10% interest was taken out to pay for the new school.The new school was completed in 1870 and gave room for two teachers to teach at the same time rather than the one teacher of the past. It was determined that there would be one male teacher and one female teacher. At this same time the 3-member board called “Officers” was increased to a 6-member board and they were called ”Trustees”.Other decisions were that no functions would take place in the school except for school purposes and much discussion was had as to the number of months school would be held. A motion to move to nine months failed and they continued with seven months of school. O yes, a discussion was held at the request of the community about opening the school for evening school but thru public vote the idea failed.
In 1874 sealed bids were taken to build two out houses of ½ inch white oak plank – spiked on with twenties and they were to be painted with water lime and milk.
In 1885 the school produced a baseball kingpin by the name of Rube (Harry) Vickers who played in the big league until 1915.
The mention of building insurance appeared in each school year. Beautification was mentioned in the years of 1886 & 1887 with $50 being granted to grade the schoolyard and plant trees – these trees now surround the HTC factory at the corner of School Street and S. Pittsford Road. In 1887 it was voted that baseball could not be played on school grounds.
By the fall of 1889 the minutes reflect that an addition to the building was being proposed.The size was to be 28 ft. by 36 ft. Another $2,500 was barrowed but this time at 6% interest. By 1891 the building was in use and had been placed on the south side of the earlier building.It was a two-story brick building and many local labors assisted with it’s building. The school in 1892 was reorganized as a 10 grade school. The first school graduation was held that same year at the Wesleyan Methodist Church with two graduates, Alice Bailey and Arta Hunker.
Each of these early school years the teacher and the board, after which a contract was signed, agreed upon a contract with each teacher. The contract indicated that the board agreed to keep the School House in good repair, to provide the necessary wood (later the word fuel appeared) and generally paid the teacher one or two dollars a day. At times other agreements were made such as four dollars per week of five days. In the minutes it was noted that the teachers were expected to be on time each morning.
In the record book in 1880 it was noted that out of 114 possible students living in the district, 85 attended school.
1885 the total receipts were $1064.33 (On hand at the start of the year $221.97; from the 1 mill tax $142.48, received from the Primary School Fund $185.59,
tuition from Non-Resident pupils $61.95, raised by taxes to pay teachers $450.44, plus misc. income of $1.90).The expenditures were $450.00 for male teachers, $190.00 for female teachers and $112.23 for repair of school and all other expenses.Leaving a balance of $312.10.
Class sizes increased and higher education expanded.In 1903 there were no graduates as the school changed from a ten-grade high school to a twelve-grade high school.1904 was the first class to graduate after completing 12 grades.They were Blanche B. Bacon, Golda B. Burger, Jesse M. Bohner, J.B. Mott, Frank H. Rose and M.B. Williams. Graduations continued to be held in the Wesleyan Methodist and Congregational Churches alternate years.
In 1911 at the annual school meeting of the Pittsford School district it was voted to bond the school district for $10,000 and to tear down the part of the school which had been built in 1870 and to build a new two story brick building 40 ft. by 60 ft, with a full basement (the current HTC factory) with the stipulations that school bonds be sold to tax payers of the district, a local person was to act as overseer of the work and all help except some skilled workman be secured locally.
By 1922 the school board had been reduced to 5 members with the last names of Anderson, Bailey, Church, Lickley & Perrin. The school had taken part in boy’s sports previous years but in 1922 the girls were allowed to have a “Girl’s Basket Ball” team with the “Country” girls playing the ”Town” girls.
The school board records of 1926 thru 1937 add the following highlights: The grades were divided into the Grammar Room, Primary Room, Intermediate Room and High School.In 1935 there is mention of a 7th and 8th Grade Room. The county nurse was hired to provide nutrition classes and music classes, both band and voice teachers are hired. Mention of a Band Association and an Athletic Association is made.However, the basketball games were held in
Bowditch’s Hall after being rented by the school board for $100 and after the building had passed a safety inspection.
In 1926 each high school pupil paid $60 per year and each grade student paid $1.00 per week. The school year was expanded to 9 ½ months.A set of
World Books were purchased for $55.00.By 1927 teachers were making between $1,100 and $2,000 per year.The Janitor was hired for $60 per month.
Also the grade student was to pay $38.00 per year rather than $1.00 per week.
1929 saw the purchase of a Merry-Go-Round. In 1930 school began on Sept.3rd with the week of Sept. 23rd to 27th off for the Hillsdale County Fair, a week off at Christmas, spring break from Mar. 28th to April 7th and school closed June 12th.You no longer see mention of winter and summer school. Insurance on the school has increased to $15,000, to cover windstorm damage.
1932 Mrs. Ilah Page was hired in the position as Grammar Room teacher at
$70.00 per month. (At the writing of this article many of us living in Pittsford know Mrs. Page). Then in 1933 two weeks were cut off the school year making the year only 9 months.In April of 1933 there was a shortage of money and teacher contracts were cancelled, school was completed that year after a visit to the bank.
In 1934 we see the first mention of hiring a teacher for classes in typing, shorthand, bookkeeping and biology at $35.00 per month. The big event of 1936 was the acceptance of a radio given as a gift to the school but with the restriction that it could not be used for dances in the school. Finances were much better and all teaches received a bonus of $10.00 and some received mileage payments.
The district bought its first school bus in 1937 to transport pupils to school. This was the first school bus owned in the county, by a school. Three more were bought in 1939.Mr. M.B. Wagner was the first school bus driver at a salary of $500.00 per year. He also was to act as the school bus mechanic seeing that the bus was greased and the tires were checked at least twice a week.
During the year of 1937-38 the school reorganized again and became known as the Pittsford Rural Agriculture School of Hillsdale County and ten primary districts voted to consolidate with the Pittsford district.This was the first such consolidation of this kind in the county. It became bonded for $25,000.00 as its 45% share of the cost for a new school.The Kellogg Foundation and P.W.A. agreeing to pay the balance.In Feb. 1939 ground was broken and in Jan. 1940 the building was completed with 17 classrooms, gymnasium, cafeteria, combined library and study hall and school was commenced with about 400 students. The ten schools being: Rumsey, Boley, Black, and Skuse in Jefferson Township. Roundtop, Whitbeck, Filkins, and Lang in Pittsford Township., Union of Ransom Township and Robbins of Wheatland Township.Later annexations were: Burt, Hammond & Ramsom of Ransom Township. Silvernail, Townhouse, and Locust Corners in Pittford Township; Little Brick, Ranier and Shadyside in Jefferson Township; Sunnyside, and Church in Wheatland Township.; Lickley’s Corners in Wright Township; and lastly Hill in Adams Township...
A new bus garage to house eight buses was funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and built in 1940. Mr. Elisha Bailey refused re-election to the school board in 1945 after serving 34 years.
Part of the bus garage was converted into an industrial arts classroom in 1950.
On February 26, 1951, the electors passed a $150,000 bond issue to build a new, seven room Elementary Building on the school property and the 1940 building would continue to house the 4th grade and up.(These buildings are still in use – it is year 2000).The building opened in January of 1953 and the school had an enrollment of about 650.
A new-lighted athletic field was built in 1952. The Pittsford Business men raised the necessary funds and in cooperation with the Board of Education made the new field possible.The girl’s Basket Ball team, coached by Mrs. Gordon seemed unbeatable in the late 50’s and early 60’s- girl’s sports had came a long way from their beginning in 1922.The seventh grade “Geography Suppers” will be remembered by all who took part as one of those special learning activities that gave the students a chance to know their countries history.
On May 2, 1960, the District passed a $310,000 bond issue, which with a building and site fund of about $70,000 provided for the addition of 28,385 square feet for a connecting hall and new larger gym as well as upgraded kitchen equipment, home economics equipment, gymnasium bleachers to set 936 and a sewage disposal system.
The names of those serving on the School Boards during the 1960-62 building expansion were Stiverson, Mills, Poulson, Cole, Hoover, Kirkingburg, Towne,
Brown and Clark.
I have written this history in honor of my Grandfather, Elisha Bailey and ask that it not be altered but if others have information they wish to add or events they wish to share they also submit an account for placement on this Alumni page.
Cinda Lou Walton, Alumni Historian (Class of 1962)July 19, 2000, updated 10/9/02