FRANKLIN – The 97-year-old Davis Thayer Elementary School and its generations of students and teachers are at the center of the Franklin Historical Museum’s latest exhibit.
Davis Thayer, on West Central Street, opened as a high school in 1925 as the city’s middle and high schools were overcrowded. Only 15 teachers worked at the school in its first year.
The school became a college in 1962 after the construction of a new high school.
It reached its final form in 1974, when it was renovated and turned into an elementary school, and is named after the owner of the straw factory who once resided on the land, Davis Thayer.
After nearly a century, the Franklin School committee decided in February, by a 5-2 vote, to close the school effective July 1. Committee members spoke of the drop in registrations, the age of the building and the high cost of opening it.
On the museum display are a Franklin High School varsity sweater, white and blue belted athletic shorts, and portraits of the school’s first class of graduates. Also on display is a 1926 photo of the high school football team, of players posing with the school visible behind them.
Previous reports:Franklin Superintendent to Recommend Study on Davis Thayer School Closure
There is also a collection of basic directories that visitors can browse.
Archivist Rebecca Finnigan said the theme was chosen to give people space to think about Davis Thayer’s shutdown.
“As a museum, it’s our job to get people to walk through the door and learn a little bit more about their own history,” said Finnigan.
While preparing for the exhibit, Finnigan said he worked with members of the exhibit committee. Some of them went to school in the building and shared vivid memories, whether it was voting in the basement, having double sessions when it was college, or attending. at a prom.
“It’s at the forefront,” said Finnigan.
Residents are encouraged to contact the museum if they have a particular memory of the school. Visit his Facebook page or send an email to [email protected]
The school’s closure means its students will be traveling two miles down the road from Helen Keller Elementary School on Lincoln Street for the next school year. School officials estimate that the move will save the district up to $ 1 million.
PICTURES:Franklin Kindergarten on the first day of school in 2018
The exhibition is open until the end of the summer.
The museum is at 80 West Central St. Hours are 5 pm to 7 pm Thursday; from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday; and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is always free and the museum is ADA compliant.