History of WP schools 

 

 

Photo is of 8th grade graduating class in 1915

 

 

The Alfred Baumann Library hosted a special Zoom webinar with Woodland Park historian Rick Lijoi, who talked about the history of schools in the Borough. “One-Room Schoolhouses in WP” was attended by dozens of community members, as well as the local Brownie troop.

It is not known exactly when in the early- to mid-1800s the first school opened. However, the first school in town, School 2, was a building next to Bromilow’s Chocolates on Rifle Camp Road. Formerly a church, it’s now used as storage for the store. As the town grew, in 1868, School 3 opened on McBride Avenue, which is still used today as the Board of Education building.

Until 1914, the Borough was the West Park section of Little Falls, and the two schools were part of Little Falls’ five-school district. The two schools were districted, just as schools are today. In 1912, School 6 was built, which is now known as School 1, on McBride Avenue.

The two early one-room buildings were served by a single teacher who very strictly taught all subjects to students in first to eighth grade. Students broke up into groups to study, and there were very few books in those days. The basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic were the focus, but students also sang, acted, learned about geography, and enjoyed recess outside.

Students wrote with chalk and slate, and pen and ink, and the classroom was heated with a pot-belly stove. There were big windows to get lots of light, as there was no electricity. Attendance was poor in the early days, as children had chores on their family’s farm, especially in the spring and fall. Woodland Park had several dairy farms back then. Mr. Lijoi noted that only about 50 percent of children went to school in the early days. Attendance of school was not made mandatory, for those aged 7 to 16, by the government until 1915.​

 

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