Original High School/Normal School

later became Barringer High School

1838-1855: Bank Street
1855-1897: Washington & Linden Streets

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The first Newark High School was opened in 1838 on Bank Street.

From Reports of the City Officers for the year 1873:

The High School building was erected in 1853-54 on the corner of Washington and Linden Streets, and occupied January 7th, 1855. the original lot is 90 feet 6 inches front, on Washington Street, and 126 feet 4 inches, on Linden Street, and was purchased for five thousand dollars. The building is of brick, three stories high, and the roof of slate.

The builders were Mr. Moses T. Baker, master mason, and Messrs Gould and Moore, Carpenters. The cost of the building, furniture and improvements, was about twenty thousands dollars. It was erected to accommodate 400 pupils. The lower story was for furnaces and play grounds; the 2nd story for the girls; the 3rd story for the boys. There were four class rooms and one assembly room on each floor. The class rooms were seated with benches having backs, but with no facilities for writing; for writing the classes repaired to the assembly room, which was seated with double desks and chairs.

About five years ago the assembly room in the female department was divided by glass partitions into three class rooms, making provision for seven classes on that floor. The settees in the class rooms in both departments were removed, and desks substituted in their place. The four front rooms, thus seated, will each accommodate 40 pupils, but the four rear class rooms are very small. By using settees we formerly seated 40 pupils in each, but with desks the rooms are too closely crowded with thirty.

The building was originally heated by furnaces placed in the basement story. The heating or warming of the rooms was never satisfactory; the rooms are now heated by steam carried in pipes on the sides of each room. The warming is now very satisfactory, and at less expense than with the furnaces.

The water closets connecting with the sewer in Washington Street, are ample and conveniently arranged. Exclusive of the assembly rooms in the male department there are desks for 400 scholars in the entire building. The assembly room is seated with settees and will seat all the pupils; for public exercises they meet in this room. This room is also used for Teachers' Institutes, which are held on the third Saturday of each month, but it is quite too small. We hope the time is not far distant when the rear class rooms will be enlarged and a respectable assembling room provided.

In view of this want and additional lot has been purchased during the year, adjoining the present site, 37 feet on Linden Street, 90 feet deep, for eight thousand dollars.

From: Essex County, NJ, Illustrated 1897

The Newark High School was opened January 3, 1855. Dr. Pennington, President of the Board of Education, in his address at the dedication, said: "The edifice is a large and imposing one, well planned and compares favorably with the most commodious buildings of the kind in this country."

When the building was opened in 1855, it was filled by pupils having the highest per cent, in scholarship and deportment in the various grammar schools, but this method of entrance was soon changed and for many years pupils have been admitted only on examination. For many years there was a little Latin and less Greek taught, and there was no thoroughly systematized course of study. The first class that was prepared for college was in 1877, from which time it has sent boys and girls to college. There have entered the High School - 1855 to 1896 - 12,593 pupils, and the whole number of graduates has been 2,212.

The original lot cost $5,000 and the building $20,000. The first principal was Mr. Isaiah Peckham, who served the public for 12 years. Then came Mr. Dunlap for 3 years and Mr. Lewis M. Johnson, for two-thirds of a year, and in the spring of 1871 came the present incumbent, Dr. E. O. Hovey. The number of pupils in the High School today is something over 1,200 and the number of teachers, 33. The school has so far outgrown the building that 220 boys and 270 girls are housed in annexes, but the enew building is materializing and will be shown in the next edition of this book.