The Broadway School, Woodstock NB

Old wooden Broadway School

In July, 1908, the wooden Broadway School of that time was destroyed in a night fire.  Although the cause of the fire was never determined, the rumor persisted that the previous day's altercations between high-spirited townsfolk and a circus crew might have resulted in this unhappy reprisal.

Within a few weeks, the site had been cleared and a new building authorized. Mr. J. MacVey of St. Stephen was contractor; the carpenter foreman was Mr. H.A. Stokoe; the building inspector was Mr. Stephen Green.  The concrete blocks and even the decorative scrolls and columns were produced in the school garden area (the present ball diamond) using gravel from a local pit located where the Save Easy Market and adjoining properties are at present.  On a warm October day in 1908, Broadway students marched from rented quarters north of the Meduxnekeag to the building site with their teachers and principal Isaac Draper.  There they saw THEIR BOX placed in the cornerstone.  Adults with good memories have described the trinkets, good luck pennies and signature scrolls that were enclosed.  Mr. Edwin Green, then a Grade 2 student, remembered attending the ceremony.

Broadway School in the 1920s

Work progressed rapidly and the new school opened its doors for classes in September, 1909.  Five or six classrooms, serving Grades 1 to 8 were used in the beginning and enrollments were extremely large, 45 to 50 students being the normal size class.  Mr. Draper continued as principal until the 1912-13 school year when Miss King completed the final term.

In Sept., 1913, Mr. Walter Daley, later Father Daley, became principal.  During his period of service, emphasis on scholarship brought to Broadway several Lieutenant-Governor's awards for highest standing in High School Entrance.  The friendly rivalry thus established between students of Fisher Memorial and Broadway Schools was to continue for many years and influenced not only academic achievement but also sports events, music festivals, school concerts, and school art exhibits.

1915 Broadway School

Other principals during the early years were Mr. Vernon Holyoke and Mr. Elmer Close.  Teachers included Misses Minnie Carman, Minnie Milmore, Helena Mulherin, Gussie McKean, Rate Hanson, Marguerite Smith, Dorothy Smith, Janet Hallett, Faye Plummer and Mrs. Mary Slipp.

Under the careful eye of Miss Mulherin, the school garden was cultivated and flourished.  Boys worked off excess energy in the manual training room.  The teacher's word was law and the principal's strap was an object to avoid.

The years brought an increase in the number of students and a more complicated curriculum.  Eventually the large "assembly hall" was partitioned and both sections were used as classrooms.  This arrangement provided eight single-grade classrooms each with its own teacher.  Principals who guided the affairs of the school between 1920 and 1953: Messrs. Hierlihy, Hovey, Stanley Ross, Fred Young, J. Byron Carr, Ralph Coy, William Millar and Miss Kathleen Bowlin.

In the 1920s the Broadway Room in the Fisher Memorial Hospital became a reality.  Money for furniture, drapes and bed linens were earned by holding annual teas under the sponsorship of the teachers assisted by older pupils.

1939 Broadway School

In the same way money was earned to purchase a piano for $60 ... a large sum of money in those days.  The piano enhanced music instruction which had begun long before the first music teacher, Mr. Harry Waterhouse, appeared in the early 1950's.  At one time, Miss Marion Lindsay gave group piano lessons at the school.  Among her first pupils was Walter Ball, who later became a talented concert pianist.  The production of operettas began during this area and these musical productions have continued to be popular entertainment at Broadway.

In 1953 the Woodstock Composite High School was completed.  In September of that year, Grade 7 and 8 classes were moved to the new building and Broadway School was set up as an elementary school housing pupils in Grades 1 to 6.  Mrs. Pauline Forrest became principal and served in this capacity until June, 1963.

In 1955, the Woodstock School Board began an extensive project of renovation at Broadway.  The chairman of the Broadway Committee, Mr. C. J. Breneol, supervised the work.  Proper electric lighting was installed; rooms were redecorated; floors were tiled; an office and kitchen were built in the unused hall space.  (The iron "cages" that partitioned the halls had been removed some years earlier.)   Since the work was completed in the summer of 1958, the anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone, Oct. 28, was declared the school's official birthday and a special anniversary celebration was held.

To mark the occasion, the pupils purchased the Books of Knowledge and presented them to the school in memory of former students who gave their lives in two World Wars.  Suitable bookcases were the gift of the Board of School Trustees.

Mrs. Pauline Forrest was succeeded as principal by Mrs. Henrietta DeMerchant, who held that office until 1973.  She, in turn, was followed by Mr. James Andow, and he by Mr. Perley Dykeman, the present principal.

In the mid-70s extensive renovations were made to the interior of the school; two upper classrooms were made over into a library, music room and gymnasium; an additional classroom was created in the hall; downstairs, a staff room, an enlarged office, and and a small group instruction room were added.

In 1978, the school celebrated its 70th anniversary with a well-attended open house program for parents, former students and friends.


NOTE: This material on the Broadway School was written by Pauline Forrest in the book "A History of Schools in Carleton County" by The Carleton County Retired Teachers Association, 1984.