PRINCIPAL CLARENCE A. BRODEUR.
The State Normal School now located at Westfield was opened at Barre, Sept. 4, 1839; it was kept in rooms provided for it in the town hall and was furnished with a convenient boarding house. Prof. Samuel P. Newman, for several years acting president of Bowdoin College, was its first principal. Mr. Newman's illness compelled him to leave the work, and in November, 1841, the school was closed.1 During 1839-40, 40 pupils availed themselves of the privileges of the school, and during the following year the number was increased to 70 pupils. "After his death [referring to Principal Newman] the school was suspended till a suitable and experienced teacher could be found to supply his place."2 The school was reopened at Westfield3 Sept. 4, 1844, in the Westfield Academy, Rev. Emerson Davis being principal and William A. Clough assistant. "On the morning of that day, at 10 o'clock, the applicants for admission . . . with the teachers . . . assembled in the south room of the upper story of the Westfield Academy. . . . There were 49 applicants, -- 23 males and 26 females." 4
After one term the school was transferred to the town hall, where it remained until the first school building was dedicated, Sept. 3, 1846. This building was erected through the generosity of a friend of education who gave nearly seven thousand dollars for the purpose of erecting two normal school buildings, the State appropriation $5,000 for the same purpose, and the contributions of the town of Westfield and citizens thereof.5 The dedicatory address was given by Rev. Dr. Heman Humphrey, president of Amherst College, and is given in full in the tenth report of the State Board of Education, pp. 36-54; also in "Barnard's Journal," Vol. 12, pp.655-664. Horace Mann also made an address in the evening, which is reported in "The Common School Journal," Vol. 8, pp. 289-308. This building was enlarged in 1860 by the erection of two wings, at an expense of $4,500; in 1869 it was again remodelled by the addition of a story. The new building, erected at a cost of $150,000, was dedicated June 21, 1892. In 1899-1900 the enlarged original building was razed to the ground to provide a site for the Normal Training School, erected at a cost of $45,000.
The first catalogue was issued at the close of the year 1847. It was four by eight inches, and contained twelve pages. It mentions the names of 160 students, and says that about 300 persons have been members of the school since its establishment. It also contains a list of the Visitors, a short statement concerning the school and its aim, the conditions of membership, the course of study, and an account of the Model School, numbering 75 pupils, which was housed in the normal school building, and in which pupils assisted one hour a day after the first term. The school year contained three terms of fourteen weeks. Pupils boarded in private families, paying $1.75 a week, including washing and room, with an additional charge in winter for fuel and lights. Fifty cents per term was charged for the use of books.
In 1872 the Legislature appropriated $75,000 for the erection of a boarding hall. This was subsequently increased to $85,600. This building was opened Sept.10, 1874, when 90 pupils entered it as boarders. It served its purpose well until June, 1903. Sept. 8, 1903, Dickinson Hall, erected at a cost of $95,000, was opened for use.
Because it was objected that tile "Model Schools" maintained in connection with the first normal schools did not furnish real conditions, the first practice school at Westfield was a public one; it was discontinued in 1853. For several years Miss Charlotte G. Shepard was principal, and the names of Misses Alzina Mann and Caroline M. Baker appear also. Between 1867 and 1879 the School of Observation was opened to the use of normal students. The principal was Mr. John H. Haldeman, and among his assistants appear the names of the following persons: Miss Charlotte E. Deming, Miss Mary E. Kingsley, Miss Martha E. Roys, Miss C. J. Cooke, Miss Emma L. Loomis, Miss Hattie A. Cooke, Miss Martha S. Allen.
When the present normal school building was opened, in 1891, provision was made for several school rooms for pupils of common school age; these accommodated 150 pupils. In September, 1900, the present Normal Training School was opened. The training school facilities now include ten rooms in that building and four rooms in the normal school, accommodations for 550 pupils. A full list of teachers may be found in the Appendix.
1 See fifteenth report of State Board of Education, P.8.
2 See eighth report of State Board of Education, p.19.
3 Removed from Barre "both on account of the insufficiency of accommodations at Barre and because the latter place is situated far east of the center of population of the western counties." (Reprint of Secretary's report for 1849, p.129.)
4 Address by John W. Dickinson, June 25, 1889.
5 The town gave $500 toward the building, and $300 for walks. grading, etc.; individuals gave $600 toward the building, and upwards of $600 for walks, grounds, etc.; in return for Model school, Westfield School District No. 1 gave $1,500; the owner of the site gave one-half the estimated value of the same, i.e., $500.