New Deal Haverstraw: Haverstraw Public School


The first school in Haverstraw was on Fourth Street, opposite the Methodist Episcopal Church. Opened in 1810, it was known as the Academy and was in use as a school when needed thru 1847. The Academy property later was the site of the Village Corporation Rooms and Town Hall, and is now the Haverstraw Glass property.

Haverstraw had several private schools including the Mountain Institute on Hudson Avenue and Saint Peters on Ridge Street. In the early 1880’s, a new public school house was erected at Hudson and Fairmount Avenues they called the ‘upper school’.  In 1884 the Academy and Upper schools were combined and the first class graduated around 1886 under Principal Luther O Markham. Haverstraw schools were integrated in 1895 and a second of 4 additions was added bringing 4 new classrooms. The footings of this school are still visible on the north side of the site, on the corner of Fairmount and Hudson Avenues.



By 1930, the School was showing signs of wear and tear. After four  additions it was determined that it would need replacement and a committee was formed to find a suitable site for a new school. In 1935 a massive fire destroyed the building and funding was sought to replace it.



The committee found several sites including the Eckerson property north of Lincoln Street and east of the railroad. Since the property still had no clear title, condemnation proceedings would begin. These parcels along with several scattered around the old clay pits would become the new school opening in 1937. For the several years the school was under construction, classes were held throughout the village.



The School was constructed with the aid of federal Public Works Administration funds. The PWA provided a $270,000 loan and $227,143 grant for this construction, with the balance paid by UFSD#1 with a total cost of $841,696. Construction and site work began in 1935.



Markham Field was built north of the school, the property also being bounded by the Erie on the west and Saint Peters School on the east. By 1950, the Erie would cease operations and those parcels became available, many at tax auction. The parcel northwest of the field was owned by St Mary’s Church, the property being sold for construction of the Haverstraw Elementary School later in the decade.