Tuesday, May 31, 2011

1959 8th Grade Promotion Exercises

A Spring, 1959 photo of two students in the 1959 8th grade class: Seth McQuillan and Judy Delph (photo courtesy of Seth McQuillan)
Stockton School appears to have been only Kindergarten to 6th grade from its opening in 1905 until 1958, but after Stockton School West was built next to The Oval in 1958, 7th and 8th grades were added for the 1958/59 school year (the 8th graders had been at Columbian School for their 7th grade year). In 1959/60 the 8th grade was back at Columbian and Stockton became K to 7th. So the 8th grade graduation/promotion exercise was the first (and maybe only) of its kind at Stockton.

W. (William) George Hayward had been principal 1952 to 1955. Paul (Paul Alfred) Shelly was principal from 1955-60. Rev. Clark Van Auken was the minister for Park Avenue Methodist Church at the corner of Park Ave. and Grove St. (promotion exercises documents courtesy of Seth McQuillan, a member of the 1959 class)

Three photo sections above courtesy of Seth McQuillan

Above:1959 graduation photo (right and left sides of original) above courtesy of Mary Keogh, a member of the class
Below: the two halves stitched back together using software ("stitching" courtesy of George Morgan)
1st row: Janice Korten, Mary Ann Griesinger, Maxine Gilchrist, Melinda Rudzinski, Lorraine Tate, Patricia LaBrew, Sheila Alston, ? , Betty Dunston, Sandra Grief,  Roberta Smith, Carole Sullivan, Judith Delph, Mary Keogh, Patricia Burke, Jean Anderson, Emma Bindi, Anna Janulis, Sandra Thomas, Claudine Cummings, Joyce Hines, Carol Nixon, Francine Watson;
2nd row: ?, Stephen Ferguson, Edward Johnson, Lawrence Davis, Donald Critchett, Peter Cino, Richard Reaves, James Pendorf, Frank Pendorf, George Alger, Seth McQuillan, Salvatore Meola, Michael Ehert, Steve Lowry, Gabriel Petrocelli, William Hoffman, Oreste Avallone (Orey), David Delph, William Abele; 
3rd row: Anthony Badalamenti, Kenneth Ruth, Alex Nastasi, Robert ?, Douglas Herig, Robert Gibson, Steve Polychrony, William Gerulsky, James Stark, ? , Thomas Parciak, Paul Pearsall, Luke Byrne, James Dowling

Photo identifications will be added or corrected as new information is received

The 1959  list appears below.

1951 Stockton Annex

 A 1946 report showed that the Stockton student population had remained steady at between 390 and 450 for 20 years,* but officials knew the baby boom was coming and plans were made for adding on to the school. One plan even suggested closing Greenwood Avenue from Grove Place to 19th Street to tie the school directly to The Oval playground (and possibly include a branch of the public library). In January 1951, the annex opened and housed kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade classrooms along with a library and an auditorium. The old auditorium had been on the 3rd floor of the 1905 building and was converted into a gymnasium. (the boys' and girls' gym(s) had been in the basement)

*Reports between 1905 and 1922 show Stockton having as many as 650 students enrolled at times.
The hexagonal shape of the classrooms was considered revolutionary at the time. Acting like a bay window, the shape of the room and the glass blocks above the windows brought in much more natural light and the room shape also allowed flexibility in the arrangement of desks, tables and other classroom furniture. The architect for the project was Emil A Schmidlin,* an East Orange resident;   Dr. Henry E Kentopp, superintendent of schools, coordinated the planning process. 

Above photo From Progressive Architecture February 1953

Mr. Emil Schmidlin (1907-1988), who supervised an architecture firm in East Orange, N.J., for more than 50 years, designed many of the first garden apartments and split-level homes in New Jersey, as well as schools and public and commercial buildings throughout the United States. The Swiss-born architect also designed several futuristic model homes, including a 1949 Pacesetter house in Orange, N.J., with a climate-control system and underground wiring to melt snow, and the Formica house for the 1964 New York World's Fair. (from his NY Times obituary)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Beginnings of The Oval Playground

In 1907 East Orange decided to purchase the land for the playground known as The Oval. At that time, the property (the land was part of the Aaron Peck estate) was already an athletic field called the "Orange Oval" and had been used by the Orange Athletic Club (the Club was referred to as "now defunct" in the City's 1907 playground planning documents) and others since about 1887 for football, baseball, bicycle races, and other sports. Formally named the "East Orange Playground," during its lifetime it's also been referred to as The Oval, The Orange Oval, The East Orange Oval, and The Grove Street Oval. The planners moved quickly, and the playground was dedicated on September 7, 1908. The original grandstand shown in these photos was made of wood and had 1800 seats. It burned down in 1925 and was soon replaced with a 2500 seat, concrete grandstand.

                                                     Above: postcard from 1913

Photo 1: Grandstand (seating capacity, 1800); Photo 2: Dedication Day (Sept 7, 1908) as seen from the Grove St Lackawanna Station; Photo 3: Dedication Day ball game between the State Senate and General Assembly, view from the Grandstand looking toward Greenwood Ave; Photo 4:  Dedication Day view of The Grandstand; Photo 5: Tennis courts as seen from the Grove Place entrance looking toward Grove Street. (photos are from 1908 and 1909 Annual Reports of the East Orange Board of Playgrounds Commissioners which are available at books.google .com)

Above: the Grove Place entrance

Above photo: From the magazine Suburban Life, July 1912; view is looking toward the Grove Place entrance with grandstand just out of photo to the left

Above in the background: there was a carpentry business adjacent to The Oval behind the houses along Greenwood Avenue

               Above: looking SE toward Eaton Place; Grove Street Lackawanna Station is in background

               Below: SW corner of playground; building in background on left is probably Congregational                                               Church at Main Street and Grove Street.

                             Above and below: more photos (looking NW) of the SW corner of playground

           Above: looking east from SW corner of playground; Grove Street Lackawanna station is on right

        Below: the eastern side (behind the buildings along Greenwood Avenue) of the playground, the girls'                                                                    gymnasium area

Above: looking east toward the Greenwood Avenue/Eaton Place intersection

Above: 1910 Labor Day celebration

Below: photos from the September, 1914 issue of The Playground magazine

Below: 6/1921; looking NW across Eaton Place, The Oval is to the left