Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

January 6, 2018

The End of an Era

This is the H.T. Wing School in Sandwich was built in 1927 and then various additions over the years.  The below pic is the old part.  Back when I was growing up, everyone K-12 fit into the one school.  In the fall of 1976, a new high school was opened so this old high school reverted to the elementary school.  It closed down a few years ago because it's old and needs so much work that the town is kicking around tearing it down either in full or in part, keeping the original 1927 brick building.

When I found out that there was going to be a holiday market in the cafeteria, I seized the opportunity to get inside and take pics of our old school before it's torn down.

When I went here, the high school kids entered in this area, and we entered a little farther down.

That box in the hallway was built to accommodate my growing 2nd grade class.  I started the year 1971 in a classroom down the hall.  When I returned after Christmas, in January of 1972 I was one of about 15 kids that got reassigned to a different teacher and put in this room.  Beyond it is the door to the library which was built in about 1974.  That boxy classroom originally had windows that faced the playground before the library was built.

This is the original wall tile in the bathroom.  It's been there since I went to SES, and that's coming up on 50 years now.  I admit I was completely shocked that this school wasn't renovated and upgraded over the years.  I now see why it's past the point of no return as it relates to renovating it now.  

When I refer to places in this school, it's as it relates to my memories of it.  Hallway from the high school part to the elementary school.

This actually was my first grade classroom. Dry erase board now instead of chalk, different chairs and tables but it's as I remember it for the most part.  

Lobby looking towards where I had my 5th grade year.  The school office is on the left, and the entrance to the cafeteria is on the left past that table.  The cafeteria was originally the 2nd and smaller gym for the little kids while the high school had the run of the big gym up the hall.  But they converted the small one into a cafeteria around the same time as the new high school was being built. There used to be marble tournaments in the lobby in the early 70s.

This little garden area hasn't changed one bit since I was there except it's more overgrown.

Looking at the doors to where I had 5th grade.  The school thought it was a good idea to combine the classrooms into giant spaces separated only by bookcases.  In 5th grade (74/75), we were lumped into that room with one 6th grade class and two 4th grade classes.  The following year we were moved into yet another new addition called 'Cluster 6'. 

Looking at the front doors.  It was always so pretty at Christmas with the tree in the lobby and in class we'd always make decorations and paper chains, colour Santa Claus pics and paste cotton for beards.  Making simple gifts or decorations in art class.  And the class party on the last day before break.  

The cafeteria that was the elementary school gym.

The stage where a couple Lions Club Minstrel Shows were held in 75 and 76.  My dad sang in the chorus and did a couple of solo songs.  

Exact door with exact window and signage as when I was there.  


The high school's lobby and their office.

Mr. Zion was a beloved teacher and coach in Sandwich.

This was the high school's gym during school hours, or places for assemblies, chorus concerts, school plays, basketball games and various and sundry town gatherings like a white elephant sale I remember going to when I was about 8.  

Words cannot describe how much I dreaded the rope climb.


Love the street signs.  Nice touch.

This would have been the corridor to the high school rooms and also the school nurse.  There used to be lockers along the walls and bare, dim bulbs hanging from the ceiling and this really weird smell that I could never quite pinpoint.  The walk to the nurse was very long and very scary for a little kid.

A teensy chair in the hall way.  I put my bag there for scale.  Actual chairs we used in the 70s.  I never realized how small they were at the time of course.

Looking back down the hall through the door that leads to the elementary school lobby.


This old radiator.  A real surprise to see it.  I assumed these were long gone.



That was my kindergarten classroom.  

 Entrance to the elementary school that we used when we got off our buses.

Looking towards my old kindergarten room.  Except there was no a/c unit in the window!

I'm really lucky that we had the chance to explore it one more time before it's closed down for good.  I hope they don't tear it down but I get why the town is pushing for that option. I think one of the best parts of this night for me is that Russell has the exact memories of going here that I do, since he was only 2 years ahead of me.  Hopefully the town will compromise and at least keep the 1927 building.

16 comments:

  1. I would also hate to see the old architecture razed. Those old memories are similar to some of mine. It was nice you had this last chance to visit.

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    1. I was glad we had the chance too. It'll be really sad to see it go. Either way - renovate or tear down - it's going to cost a lot of money.

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  2. Wow!! you had such a great school. It must be so touching experience to see your school after so long time. i wish this building will be like this forever. But true it has to maintain also for its goodness.
    https://clickbystyle.blogspot.in/

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    1. It was a great town to grow up in, back in the 70s, when Russell & I were kids. Typically us 'old timers' want to see the place preserved but sadly the newcomers want it torn down.

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  3. How lucky you were to be able to have a last look and get photos of a childhood memory. Sad it's getting torn down. x

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    1. VERY lucky. I'd gotten inside in the late 80s to take pics but limited by film roll exposures. Then they had it open a couple summers ago for anyone to take pics before it was locked up but it was on a weekend and the traffic was murder. That's why I jumped at the chance to go to that holiday market last month!

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  4. glad you had a final tour. My elementary school is long gone back in PA. The JR. high still stands.
    I dreaded the rope climb - always got a pass from the English teacher to work on the school paper (grin!)

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    1. I so wish they would've given me a pass! I got up to the second knot and that's where I stopped, clinging for dear life, like two feet off the ground. lol I got a doctor's note for gymnastics though.

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  5. going back to own elementary school is a thrilling experience.. but when I read that the authority is going to tear it down I really feel sad.. :)

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    1. No firm decision has been reached on tearing all or part of it down but it's definitely headed in the direction of 'yes do it' and not 'save it'. Between the ancient plumbing/heating and asbestos that's probably still in the ceilings or insulation, it's not really fit to be used by anyone for any reason. The cost to fix it is more than the cost to demolish.

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  6. I hated rope climbing too JoJo. I went to 10 different schools as it was during and after WWII and we travelled around to wherever my father was stationed. Bet it was nice to recall all those memories.

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    1. I've often wondered about all the kids that went to school with me for just a year or two. Do they ever look at their school class pic and remember their time in Sandwich? I've tried to find some on Facebook but so many of the women have married or very common maiden names.

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  7. This is sweet and sad - it's amazing that the same bathroom tiles are there. They took great care of your school over the years. I hope the space is put to good use, and I'm glad you'll always have these photos/memories.

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    1. We hope it's put to good use too but the town is kvetching over the cost.

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  8. Oh my gosh, the memories! I cannot believe how much the preserved over the years. They did a way better job than my old schools have done. I hope they can find a way to use the building for something else.

    Have a beachy week!
    Elsie

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    1. I wish they could too but Sandwich is known for mismanaging money and projects. I don't have high hopes that this will be preserved. Just glad I got inside to take pics before it was too late!

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