Searching for a Theme

Sometimes you write a blog without a theme.  It just becomes a jumble of ideas going east or west, north or south.  For today, I borrowed from Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Henry Gabriel.  Thoreau was obviously trying to get free of a potential romantic tryst when he wrote, “I confess that I am lacking a sense, perchance, in this respect,  I  derive no pleasure from talking with a young woman half an hour simply because she has regular features.”  Journal.  I do not really get the point because I spent hours trying to get my wife to talk to me for an equal amount of time and I greatly enjoyed the effort.   I also do  not believe that my wife has “regular features.”  So maybe there is something to his disfavor.

I  noticed on television that Wells Fargo is crediting itself with giving loans at the turn of the century, in the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, without worrying about credit information, saying that they do it today.  I  have my doubts about that.  And Mr. Gabriel says, “As time passed, and the farmers of the frontier could not liquidate the mortgages on their holdings, they saw in the money lender a dangerous enemy.  “Wall Street” became in the 1880’s a name describing an ogre.”  (American Democratic Thought, Ralph Henry Gabriel, Yale University, The Ronald Press Company of New York).  Current farmers would probably agree with that statement.

I have been working on my book on the History of the Lowell, MA. School System.  I have some new entries.  They are, but are not complete, involving the period in the 1900’s from 1900 to 1930.  The school system was older then.  And the older system did not respond to changes in curriculum and direction as quickly as Theodore Edson’s School Committees did.  Here are some of the listed new changes.

These events happened during the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt.  In 1900 they made the District Music Teacher permanent position at $1,200.00 per year for the entire district.  It was a large district so this was quite an accomplishment if the man could actually do the job.  It was also found that the Middlesex Village School, a school I toured as a college student, needed more rooms.    The school was torn down in the 1980’s.  They referred  this action to the Committee on Teachers to see if they could afford the upgrade.  It was deemed necessary by the district.

A student overflow went into the “jewel’ at the Varnum School in Centralville.  Lowell High School was too small for its student population and its 1893 building would be supplemented by building its 1922 building on that schedule.

The Committee on Teachers was  pretty busy.  It was given the power to take disciplinary action to deal with 262 cases of teacher tardinesses.  Going back a bit, on 2/24/96 School Committeeman Mulligan was late for the February meeting and they had to wait for him.  In the meantime, 200 Greek citizens and 30 French girls asked for the Massachusetts Evening School to be extended by one month.  The request does not say why but the request “could not be granted.”

On March 5, 1896, Mr. Greenhalge, who had given so much of himself to the school district, was honored as a School Committee member, State Representative, Mayor of the Strong Mayor type, Congressman, and Governor of the State of Massachusetts.  That made two members of the early class Governors of the State.  The other was the unpopular Benjamin Butler.  Mr. Greenhalge was remembered in the Minutes and a new school was named for him.  The School Committee sent a message to the family.   It said, “To the family of the deceased we extend our heartfelt sympathy.”  On 3/5/1896 they voted to attend the funeral as a School Committee.  It kind of resembles the passing of Mrs. Kathryn Stoklosa, who was warmly remembered at the time of her passing.

The Carney Medals were given to the people listed below:

James Bruce Gilman, Guy Henry Richardson, Horace Roswell Edwards, Sally Ardelle Burgess, Bertha Monroe Allen, and Olivia Catherine Mahoney.  All received the award which cited the efforts of the woman in the graduating class.  This was at a time when no woman could vote, or exercise what we might call “citizenship activities.”  The rules were laid down by the Donor of the Medal Fund.

The school district contained 13,419 children between five and fifteen years of age.  There were 3,048 students in the rest of the district, including the high school.  Two parents were in the Police Court for “failure to educate your children.”

In addition, the School Committee handled the U.S. Census  for 1900.  Dr. Kelley was Superintendent.  Fishers was reintroduced and accepted.

So, this is where the school department was coming from in 1900.  The schools were active, and new.  The jewels of the system included the Bartlett, Moody, Varnum, and Butler schools.  Next time we will discuss other schools built in this time period like the Aiken Avenue School.