The following article is transcribed from the Letchworth Starduster, March
It is interesting to note that this was during the time that the village
"High Schools" were being improved under the Letchworth organization, but
before a new centralized high school was approved.
|Gainesville Public Education
The first two story building in the Town of
Gainesville, under the Free School System, was built in the Village of
Gainesville in 1879. The University of the State of New York made
Gainesville unit a Union School in December, 1892.
The Union School was registered as a Junior School on
February 16, 1899. It received Senior status on February 20, 1907.
The Gainesville Union School was registered as
"Gainesville High School" on April 18, 1909.
Among the early instructors were Orlin Cotton, Edson
Quigley, William Cornwell and Hannah Blake. The first primary teacher
was Helen Smith. Miss Eva Graves was a primary teacher for many years.
Former principals of the Gainesville schools include a
number of men who have been prominent in the field of secondary and
college education. The principal who offered the longest period of
service and is now retired at his Gainesville home is Charles M. Smith.
For fifteen years Mr. Smith capably guided the
destinies of Gainesville High.
Dr. R. Clifton Gibbs, who served three years s
principal, later headed the physics department at Cornell University,
and Dr. Joseph Behm, who was at Gainesville one year, went on to
prominence at Syracuse University.
Mr. Walter A. Ward, who spent 3½ years at Gainesville,
and also served as Pike principal, was a long time head of the
Industrial Arts Department in the Rochester public schools.
Mr. George A. Barber, who promoted some of Gainesville
High's fine baseball teams between 1912 and 1916 and himself took a post
in the outfield (teachers and principals often did that in those days)
is a District Superintendent of Schools with offices in Batavia; another
former Gainesville principal, James D. Sproul, is a District
Superintendent in Cattaraugus county. He was four years at Gainesville.
The proprietor of Pierce Brothers Mill at Delevan is
Mr. George Pierce who served as principal at Gainesville for five years.
The complete list of Gainesville principals is as
||Silas L. Strivings
R. Clifton Gibbs
Silas L Strivings
William D. Robertson
Jesse R. Foster
Walter A. Ward
George A. Barber
Isaac A. Chappel
Vernon M. Brown
Charles M. Smith
James D. Sproul
1944-Date (published Mar. 1951)
present Gainesville unit was completed in 1904 when Theodore Roosevelt
was president, and directing his energies, among other things, to the
construction of the Panama Canal.
Attendance figures for 1933-34 school year showed 89
pupils enrolled; this figure rose in 1938-39 to 114 with a high
attendance in 1949-50 of 131. There were 121 enrolled during the 1950-51
On the 1898-1904 Regents reports, we find the following
subjects were offered in the curriculum; American Literature, Caesar's
Commentaries, Physical Geography; Physiology and Hygiene, English
History, Greek History, Roman History, Economics, Advanced Drawings.
(Mr. John Hickey, present president of the Letchworth Central Board of
Education is reported as taking a course in American Selections back in
1906. He was then 18 years of age.) Other courses were: Latin Grammar,
Ancient History (5 hr. course), German and Physics.
Henry Dilgard, present mayor of Gainesville, passed
Intermediate Algerbra, Bookkeeping and Drawing in June 1908.
In 1910, courses entitled Vergil's Aeneid and Biology
were offered. In 1911, a course in History of Great Britain and Ireland
(5 hr.) appears on the record.
By 1915, probably because of the war, German had been
dropped from the curriculum. Elementary Representation (2 counts) was
given from 1913 to 1927.
At the present time, it is possible for pupils to major
(3 year sequence) in Mathematics, Science, Music, French, Latin,
Business. The constant subjects include English (4 years), Social
Studies (3 or 4 years), General Science and Health. During the 1950-51
school year a course in Agriculture 1 has been added.
Recent improvements consist of 6 new typewriters,
a 16 mm projector for the use of sound film, a liquid process Ditto
machine, a new oil stove in one basement room, and a large steel storage
Upon centralization in 1946, an extra grade
teacher was employed so at present there are three teachers for Grades
1-6. Also, a half time teacher (with Castile) was employed in the high
school department for Math and Science. Pupils have also been given the
advantage of a part-time physical education teacher. Gainesville boys
have represented Letchworth Central in every Varsity sport; football,
cross country, basketball, wrestling, baseball and track. Gainesville's
outstanding contribution during the 1950-51 school year was to the
wrestling team, first undefeated squad to represent Letchworth.
Vocal and instrumental teachers also serve the
Gainesville School; also the School Nurse-Attendance Officer, Audiometer
specialist and Dental Hygienist.
Assemblies are held at Gainesville at least once a
month. Films are frequently shown. The Senior Play is produced annually
at the Community Hall, an old frame church converted to a
gymnasium-auditorium. The class engages in many activities such as sales
of magazines, candy, and school supplies; dinners and dances are
sponsored. For the past two years the Senior Class has taken the
Washington, D.C. trip at Easter Time.
The largest graduating class was in 1950 when thirteen
Gainesville students received Letchworth Central Diplomas with the
valedictorian winning a State Scholarship, and the salutatorian another
scholarship to Rochester Business Institute.
"Historical Wyoming", in a recent issue, emphasized the
story of one of America's greatest leaders in education, Dr. David Starr
Jordan, who once attended the public schools in Gainesville. Dr. Jordon
later taught school at South Warsaw before he embarked on his botanical
studies at Cornell University. He was president of Leland Stanford
University in California for many years, and died after retirement in
1931. There are several books in the school library which were donated
by this eminent educator.
For data on the Gainesville School I am indebted to
Mrs. Charles M. Smith, Mrs. Helena Bannister, Miss Madeline Mannella,
Mr. And Mrs. John Hickey, Mr. Henry Dilgard, Mr. H.J. Harrison and Mr.
May 28, 1953
THE BOARD OF EDUCATION CONSOLIDATES GAINESVILLE SCHOOL GRADES
NINE THROUGH TWELVE WITH CASTILE NEXT YEAR. CIRCLES VIEW THE MOVE
AS TAXING THE ALREADY OVERCROWDED SCHOOL.
At a special meeting of Letchworth Central School Board of Education, May
26, 1953. The action was from parental requests for a number of
pupils to have the facilities of a complete agriculture program, rather
than one year. While the plan is advantageous to Gainesville
students, and may tend to lessen the over all cost for the district.
Some objections to the merger stems from the fact, Castile area was
given no opportunity, to discuss the influx of students at either of the
two villages, thus combined could cause considerable concern, from the
stand point of over-crowding,
Feb. 3, 1955
GAINESVILLE VILLAGE VOTES TO CLOSE SCHOOL THERE AT END OF YEAR.
At a special meeting of the voters, of the former Gainesville Union Free
School District No. 9, now a part of Letchworth Central School District,
held at Gainesville, Wed. evening, Jan. 26, 1955, action was taken to
close the operating school, or the district, effective June 30, 1955.
Following a discussion period, the resolution was brought to a vote,
with 33 in favor to close the school, and 6 to continue the operation.