Schools of the Past: Bainbridge High School – Part I

Returning to the township of Bainbridge, which has the distinction of being the oldest township in Chenango County, we travel to the actual site of Bainbridge for a look at the history behind the beginnings of the present Bainbridge High School.

Again this writer has to give accolades to Charles Decker, Afton historian for forwarding the following documentation of this long established educational institution, and again this document is quoted as written. The early photo of the school will shows us that the style of architecture of school buildings was more ornate than the new modern facilities that we see dotting the landscape today. If you look closely at the entrance of the school over the ornate doorway are the words “High School.”



Although the first school set up in the town of Jericho at Bush’s Corners (Jericho Post Office), another school was planned for the area that became Bainbridge Village. This was the only Common School in the village area for many years. This schoolhouse was said to have been in use for over 40 years, and the classes were conducted by a single teacher. The inhabitants of the village did not have much faith in the Common Schools. Actually many of the children of the residents were sent to Select Schools. The common school was used only by the very poor and older boys came and went as they pleased. Early on, attendance was not compulsory. The young children were a sad lot and were from the poorest families in the village. They are not very much given to cleanliness and personal hygiene. That situation, of course, was not so prevalent in the rural school, attended mainly the children of farmers and the descendants of the original New England Settlers. These people believed in the creed “Cleanliness is next to Godliness.”


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