Historic Structures

Rochester Free Academy (Board of Education Building), Rochester New York

Date added: May 20, 2010 Categories: New York School

The present building is the fourth which has been erected on this site. Upon completion, it could accommodate four hundred students, a library and office. In 1904, following the completion of two new high schools, the building became the Municipal Court and Education Building. Since 1926, the building has been occupied by the Board of Education. The first classes were held in 1874. The boys' school was located on the second floor; the girls' school located on the third floor. In the language of the Hon. L. H. Morgan, the 'Free Academy is simply a special common school, a finishing school, located in the center of a group of schools, for which the others are so many primary departments. It assumes that every common school, if possible, ought to be of equal grade with the Free Academy, which expresses the full development of the system.' The school was organized in September, 1857, as the Central High School, and chartered by the regents of the University in 1862 under the name of the Rochester Free Academy. The following persons constitute the faculty: N. W. Benedict, D. D., principal, ancient languages; James M. Wells, A. M. , vice-principal, Latin and elocution; Martha E. Gaylord, preceptress, higher mathematics, elocution, mental philosophy, moral science; Mrs. Helen B. Case, assistant preceptress, Latin, French, English literature and composition; Caroline R. Wilkinson, rhetoric, composition, reading elocution, and logic; Lucy R. Pope, algebra, history, composition, and elocution; Charles Forbes, M. D. , natural sciences and drawing; Alexander Trzeciak, German Prof. W. H. Mclntosh, History of Monroe County, New York, 1876.

Over-all dimensions: Eighty-three feet by one hundred and thirty feet; five bay facade; four stories; four and-one-half story northeast tower; rectangular with projecting corner bays.

Floor plan: The center entrance of the east facade provides access to the lobby. Originally this entrance provided access only to the office of the Superintendent of Schools. The entrances in the corner projections provided access to four stairwells. Only the main staircase in the southeast corner and that in the southwest corner remain. Others have been closed and made into office space. Originally on the upper floors the stair halls opened into two large, sixty four feet by thirty-one feet, classrooms. Two recitation rooms were located in the east and west center sections. The library, Board of Education room, and laboratories were on the first floor. The third floor center section was one large room. The fourth floor was occupied by a hall sixty-one feet by ninety feet, with seating capacity for one thousand people. The basement contained furnace, closets, coal bins, etc.

Rochester Free Academy (Board of Education Building), Rochester New York 1967 DETAIL OF EAST FACADE
1967 DETAIL OF EAST FACADE

Rochester Free Academy (Board of Education Building), Rochester New York 1968 INTERIOR, VIEW OF LOBBY WITH COMMEMORATIVE PLAQUE
1968 INTERIOR, VIEW OF LOBBY WITH COMMEMORATIVE PLAQUE