Thursday, December 31, 2015

About the New High School--New in 1915

The new high school building, which was the source of civic pride a hundred years ago, is now a county office building at 401 State Street. It's a building that its occupants today are more likely to curse than to revere. The temperature to hard to regulate; the pipes bang when heat is rising from the boiler room. But a hundred years ago it was the epitome of all that was desirable in a school building, "constructed and equipped according to the most modern ideas."

Newspaper articles about the dedication of the new high school, which took place on January 4, 1916, assured readers that "the interior of the building is much more beautiful than the exterior" and went on to describe, floor by floor, what could be found inside. For those familiar with 401 State Street today--and even for those who aren't--it's interesting to review the description as it appeared in the Hudson Evening Register, because it is still possible to see a bit the old school's original design in today's reuse of the building.
In design, the building is Jacobean Gothic which style of architecture is said to lend itself very readily to large lighting surfaces. Its outside appearance is attractive with an exterior of textile red brick with wide flush joints and neatly trimmed with Indiana lime stone.
Auditorium for 400.
The building though classed as a two-story building really has four levels, basement, ground floor, first and second. The ground floor, which is on a grade with State street, is largely a service floor and has no regular class rooms. However on this level are found the rooms for vocational work, including cooking, sewing, carpentry, etc. Here also are located locker and toilet rooms and the beautiful auditorium which will seat on the floor over 400 and has a large stage and two dressing rooms. It is exactly on the same level as State street and requires no climbing whatsoever to reach it from the street.
One of the features most to be commended is the excellent arrangements of exits. No less than seven exits from the ground floor are provided. In addition there are two from the first floor, two from the second floor and one from the boiler room.
In the basement are located the heating plant and fuel room, the gymnasium (40 x 64) with balcony, shower baths, laundry, space for locker rooms and two unfinished rooms which are designed to be used eventually for machine work in iron and electrical work.
On the First Floor.
On the first floor are five offices and teachers' rooms, which will be used as the official center of Hudson's public school system. Here also are six recitation rooms, one of which is designed for mechanical drawing with a dark closet etc. One of the most attractive features of the building is the corridor balcony on this floor. Leaded glass windows separate this wide corridor from the high auditorium and when [an event] requires these windows can be raised and the corridor thus serves as a balcony for the auditorium, [providing seating for] nearly 100 additional persons.
The Upper Story.
[Gossips Note: The description of this floor is illegible in the Hudson Evening Register available online, so the following description was taken from the Columbia Republican.]
Here is the commercial department with a fine large room for this work and a smaller room just off it equipped with typewriters. The study room with 133 individual desks, the latest thing in school furniture, is also located here. The library is on this floor, the English room, the mathematics room, and the lecture room for the science department, with seats on tiers. Here are water, gas and electricity and a huge curtain so that lantern slides can be used. There is a biology room, a physics department and a chemistry room.
Fireproof Construction.
The building throughout is of fireproof construction and is laid out with ample corridors and stairways. The floors of the ground and first floor corridors are constructed of terrazzo, the stairs of iron with either marble or slate treads. The front entrance is for visitors and officials, the girls' entrance is on Fourth street, while the boys' entrance is on the east side of the building. The interior wood finish of all class rooms is green; of all corridors mahogany. All regular class rooms are abundantly lighted from one side, thus insuring light over the left shoulder without confusing shadows. A floated white sea sand finish covers all plastered walls of rooms and corridors. The building is heated with steam and ventilated by fans electrically driven. The temperature is regulated by thermostats and the bells for classes ring by a master clock. Intercommunicating telephones make the building convenient for teachers and officers.
The boys and girls of Hudson may well be proud of their new home. They have waited a long time for it and have met with some disappointments but at last the opening day has arrived. May the youth of Hudson show their spirit and their appreciation by greater diligence and higher aspirations.


  1. "a huge curtain so that lantern slides can be used"

    Oh Gossips, please do enlighten; a lantern slide is ... ?

    Also, interesting to know that the entrance near the Board of Elections was the girls' entrance ... I'm also piqued that unidirectional lighting was favored, over the left shoulder, so there would be no confusing shadows ...

    1. Lantern slides were used with a "magic lantern," a precursor of the slide projector.

      In in the 19th and early 20th centuries, children who were naturally left-handed were taught to write with their right hands. So the assumption was, by the time they were in high school, everyone was right-handed, and light coming from the left was what was preferred.

  2. Curious, I poked around.

    Expression was Oratory and Physical Culture was a combination of strength building and health. Guess that is why Miss Bell taught gym and health at HHS. I believe she is still alive and 90+

    ​Directory of teachers in Hudson Public schools listing their education, subject taught and home address.​​

    Mabel C. Dowsland, Emerson College of Oratory. Expression and Physical Culture, 3 Willard Place. Several others also lived at 3 Willard Place.

    There were three women teachers, last name Wardle, living at 1 Warren St. Which was the location of Wardle's drug store.

    Some of high school teachers, in 1914, had bachelor's degrees and most of the rest had gone to Normal schools aka Teachers Colleges.

  3. Sorry, I put this in the wrong thread.