PO Box 282, Holmdel Township, Monmouth County, New Jersey 07733
History of Holmdel Schools
This is a work in progress.
Bethany School (c.1800-1901+?) Bethany Road, Raritan Township
According to author Franklin Ellis, a school house was built about 1800 in Middletown for Bethany School District #51. Bethany was an unincorporated area. In 1848, the Bethany part of Middletown broke off and formed Raritan Township. Parts of Raritan were taken to form Holmdel in 1857 and later, other parts of Raritan formed other towns. Raritan changed its name to Hazlet Township in 1967, so the area where the school was located is now in Hazlet Township.
Due to town formations over the years, the Bethany School had children from Middletown, Holmdel and Raritan. Children living in Holmdel in the Bethany area attended this school from 1857-1911.
The Bethany Schoolhouse was built on a knoll across the road from where the old Bethany Church stood. In 1828 a new Bethany School was built about a hundred yards north of the old one on the same side of the street. This was used until the district was enlarged, taking in part of Holmdel Township in 1857. In 1871 a replacement school house was built near the almshouse on the Raritan side of Bethany Road, which separated Holmdel and Raritan. It was still being used as part of Raritan Township in 1894, when 104 children were registered in this school.
Stephen Higgins taught for several years at Bethany. Mr. Higgins resigned in 1897 to become principal at Eatontown. Mr. Daniel Hendrickson replaced him.
In 1901, Mr. Tenbroeck Stout went to the school and roughed up the teacher because the teacher punished his daughter. The School District trustees warned Stout that if he repeated his behavior, they would deal with him according to the law.
Photo is postcard from collection of Art Heath.
Academy (pre-1820-1837) Main Street
The Academy is the earliest known school in Holmdel and may have been associated with Reverend John Bray of the Baptist Church, which was established 1668. According to Franklin Ellis in his History of Monmouth County, New Jersey, Daniel Holmes ran a store in the Academy building in 1820. Afterwards it was again reused as a school. It was mentioned in Gordon's Gazetteer in 1834, located on the southeast corner of Main Street and Holmdel Road in the village area of Holmdel. Ellis also reported that the Academy burned down in 1837.
In 2011 the southeast corner is occupied as Holmdel Exxon Service Station.
Foxtown Schoolhouse (1837-c.1855)
According to Franklin Ellis in his History of Monmouth County, New Jersey, the Foxtown Schoolhouse was built on land owned by Garret Hendrickson in 1837. According to Gerry Ceres, the schoolhouse was abandoned when Crawford's Corner School was built in 1855.
Red Hill Schoolhouse (?- abandoned about 1855)
Holland School (1841-1899) Laurel Avenue
In 1841, Honorable William H. Hendrickson had a school built and deeded it to the trustees of the Holland School District. The building was a one-room schoolhouse. It was located near the Middletown Township border. The classroom had long desks with narrow benches and heated by a potbelly stove.
Monmouth County voters elected Hendrickson to 3-terms in the New Jersey State Senate. He was a descendent of the Hendrickson pioneers who settled in Monmouth County in the 1690s. Hendrickson owned and lived and died on the original lands of his ancestors.
In 1886, Mrs. Kate Johnson was the teacher. In 1894, Miss Sadie Brown of Matawan was the teacher. In 1898, 40 children attended Holland School, mostly Middletown residents. Holmdel BOE decided to close it, but Middletown BOE threatened to close Morrisville School, which was in Middletown but attended by mostly Holmdel students, so Holmdel reversed their decision and kept it open for another year. Holland School closed June 14, 1899 due to low enrollment. Holmdel BOE formerly abandoned the property in 1901 by turning possession over to Hendrickson's heirs. They stored the classroom furniture at McKlees Harness Shop. Herbert Pease of Middletown moved the old schoolhouse onto Henry Hendrickson's farm, where it was used as a storehouse. Henry bought out his brother James' share of the schoolhouse.
Others who taught at Holland School include Miss Mary Dunham, William H. Johnson, and Miss Laura Antonides of Morrisville. According to Gerry Ceres, the building was torn down about 1960.
Photo from Gerry Ceres Holmdel and Pleasant Valley, p41.
Village School I (1841-1907) 975 Holmdel Road
On October 2, 1841, Holmes Van Mater sold a lot on Holmdel Road to the Holmdel Board of Education to be used as a schoolhouse. Village School I initally was a two story building.
One of its early students was Daniel L. Conover, who attended Village School during the 1850s. Conover was born in 1845 and according to his 1907 obituary, Village School was not a free school back then. His classmate was probably Patrick Carton, Jr., who attended Village School in 1851. Carton went on to serve in the Civil War, and then as Everett Postmaster.
In 1897, Miss Emma Polhemus was the Village School principal at $48/month salary. Miss Maggie Beers also taught there that same year, for $40/month. Miss Polhemus taught at Village until 1934 when she resigned due to poor health.
Other teachers at Village include Henry H. Manwiller of Ocean Grove, Miss Norma Thorne, Miss Edna Bennett, Mrs. Irene Lockwood, Mrs. Roland Dey, Mrs. Margaret Inwrite, Mrs. Helen Ackerson and Mrs. Jean Schultz.
Despite the building's deficiencies, voters vetoed a proposition to rebuild the school in 1906 by a vote count of 10 to 8. Only 18 people voted. Cold wintry winds swept across the class through cracks in the walls, water trickled from the ceiling in heavy storms and there was no cloak room for children to hang their coats.
In the 1940s, Fred Harrison removed the second story, as evidenced by the first floor windows that reach nearly to the roof. In 2011, the Village I school still exists as a garage belonging to Fred Harrison, Jr., at 975 Holmdel Road.
Photo courtesy George Joynson.
Oak Grove School (c.1849-1923)
In August of 1849, trustees of the Oak Grove School District leased the 1-classroom schoolhouse on a quarter acre of land owned by James Laquiere. In 1852, Joseph R. Walling and his wife Margaret bought the Laquiere property and sold an acre of land and the schoolhouse to the District for $30. At that time there were no residency restrictions, so students from Holmdel and Matawan attended Oak Grove; most came from Matawan.
By 1917, Oak Grove was the smallest school in Holmdel and the most antiquated school in Monmouth County. At that time the New Jersey State Board of Education was urging townships to eliminate 1-room schoolhouses. Due to the deplorable conditions, the NJ BOE was going to condemn the building at the end of the year. Closing Oak Grove meant 48 children would have to go elsewhere. Residents voted 36 to 27 to replace it and appropriated $5000, rather than put an addition onto Crawford's Corner and transport the students there.
Almost all the students at Oak Grove were Italian families. Residents in "Little Italy" were thrilled that their Italian community in northern Holmdel would get a new school. Holmdel BOE deeded the old Oak Grove School property back to the Walling estate, then paid $400 to Pasquale Ravettini and his wife Celestina for an adjoining 1-acre plot to build the new school.
Some of the Oak Grove teachers were Miss Anita V. Coon, Mrs. Bertha Brown, Henry H. Manwiller, Miss Alice M. Beck, Miss Bessie Thompson, Mrs. Mary Lewis, and Miss Vera Bailey.
Mrs. Lewis taught there in 1918 but was not reappointed in 1919. Lewis actually lived in the new school house. She slept there and cooked and ate her meals there. Oak Grove schoolhouse was the only building in the state of New Jersey which served as a residence for a teacher. Mrs. Lewis said she could not find suitable living quarters but ran a boarding house in Ocean Grove during the summer months. Miss Vera Bailey replaced Mrs. Lewis in 1919.
During the 1922 parade, Oak Grove School colors were blue and gold. When the Oak Grove School closed in 1923, Principal Bailey transferred to the new Hillcrest School.
Photo from Sketchbook of Historic Holmdel, p17, courtesy Mrs. Andrew Bisso.
Crawford's Corner School (1857-1944, 1952-1957) Crawford's Corner Road
On June 1, 1857, William H. Crawford deeded an 80'x90' lot in front of his red barn to the trustees of Holmdel School District 8, for a school building and playground. Trustees for District 8 were John I. Longstreet, William H. Wyckoff and Daniel P. Schanck, Jr. The schoolhouse was a one-room building.
In May of 1895, Miss Gertrude Beers was teacher. In 1901 it was the smallest school in Holmdel. Miss Beers taught there until she resigned in 1907.
According to retired Holmdel teacher Barbara Duggan, the original Crawford's Corner School was replaced in 1914, with another one-classroom building on the same spot. A second classroom was added in 1932. At the May Day Fete in 1922, the Crawford's Corner School colors were red and black.
When the BOE decided to close it due to low enrollment in 1944, Principal Mrs. John T. Ackerson transferred to Village School. Holmdel Township administrators used the building as Town Hall until 1952 when they reopened it as a school. By then a town dump was established on adjoining property, and teachers complained of infestation problem with rats and flies. Mayor James Ackerson had the school sprayed with insecticide. It closed about 1957 when officials decided to build a municipal garage on the school lot.
Other teachers at Crawford's Corner were Mrs. Mary Rose, Miss Cassie Johnson, Miss Alice M. Beck, Miss Anita V. Coon, W. Hugh Ryder, Miss Margaret Thompson, Mrs. Helen L. Ackerson, Mrs. Shaw and Mrs. A. Poole.
Photo from Sketchbook of Historic Holmdel, p121.
Morrisville School renamed Everett School (c.1878-1923), 274 Sunnyside Road, Middletown
Morrisville was named after the Morris families living in the area that encompassed parts of Holmdel and Middletown, with Everett Road the dividing line. The Morrisville School was actually located in Middletown, just one house in from the border with Holmdel Township. Most of Morrisville students lived on the Holmdel side.
According to Gerry Ceres, this school opened in 1876 and its existence is confirmed as of September 1878, when Mr. Frank Leonard was in charge of the school.
On August 10, 1892, BOE hired Asher La Fetra Tilton to teach at Morrisville. Mr. Tilton didn't last long as a teacher. He went on to be a letter carrier, a fireman and then trolley conductor.
In 1894, Miss Emma L. Bloodgood replaced him. In 1897, Morrisville School had 80 children enrolled. Average daily attendance was 48 pupils which was considered very good back then, and for that year no students were suspended or expelled. The library had 186 books. In 1898, Miss Bloodgood gave 39 students an exam. Editors of the January 19, 1898 edition of the Matawan Journal posted the students names and grades on the front page. Miss Bloodgood married Elwood Magee in 1902, became principal, and resigned teaching there in 1909.
In1902, residents established a post office in Morrisville. The Postmaster General would not allow them to call it Morrisville because a Morrisville post office already existed. Residents decided to call the area Everett, named after then Morrisville teacher Mr. Everett Henry. Mr. Henry taught there only 2 years, 1901-1902. Many Morrisville residents thought he should have stayed since they named the school after him, but he left, and Mr. Thomas M. Platt of Point Pleasant replaced him. From then on, the Morrisville School became known as the Everett School.
About 1908, the Everett School closed and a new school was built in the Lincroft section of Middletown. That brick building on Newman Springs Road is now a library. When the law requiring residency went into effect about 1911, the students in Holmdel had to transfer to Crawford's Corner School. Every school day morning, the children had to be transported 3 miles via stagecoach there and back. This caused considerable hardship on the Holmdel families and discomfort for the children, so the Holmdel BOE leased the old Morrisville/Everett School and reopened it for the Holmdel students.
In 1911, Everett had about 50 families. Everett Schoolmaster Elijah Robbins of Phalanx was a young, popular teacher known as the "Tall Sycamore of Hockhockson." When school was closed for Good Friday in 1912, Robbins went trout fishing and caught 12 trout in the upper reaches of Shrewsbury River. In 1915, Professor Robbins gave each student a Christmas present consisting of a box of candy, an orange and a popcorn ball. He resigned in 1918 for health reasons. The next year the BOE faced a dilemma when Robbins returned with his health restored and wanted his job back. Reverend William P. Chase, Pastor of Holmdel Baptist Church, who had taught in his place, wanted to keep his job. Each candidate submitted petitions signed by their supporters but the BOE eventually hired Leroy Potts of Newark to teach at Everett. Robbins found work teaching at Phalanx in Colts Neck.
W. Hugh Ryder was the Everett teacher in 1919. Mr. Ryder, a graduate of Red Bank High School Class of 1911, received burns when he was trying to start the fire in the schoolhouse stove on the morning of December 19, 1919. Something was wrong with the stove pipe and the blaze flared up in his face, burning off one side of his eyelashes and eyebrows and burning a hole through his cap. In 1921, Mr. Ryder transferred from Everett School to teach in Crawford's Corner School. He left the Holmdel school system to become principal in Oceanport School in 1922. Miss Frances Warwick of Matawan replaced him.
At the 1922 parade, Everett colors were red and white. It was the smallest of the five public schools in town.
On July 2, 1923, Holmdel BOE closed the school and sold the property to James F. Crawford, with the stipulation that the BOE had 3 months to remove the two outhouses, wood shed, flag pole and stove. In 2011, the Morrisville School building still exists as a private residence at 274 Sunnyside Road.
Photos from Sketchbook of Historic Holmdel, p48.
Centerville School (pre-1886?-1965) New Jersey State Highway 35, northbound
The public school at Centerville existed on March 2, 1886, when Abraham Morris Jr.'s horse got loose and ran into a barbed wire fence. Morris found the horse dead from lacerations at the Centerville schoolhouse. In September 1887, BOE hired Thaddeus P. Welch as teacher. Welch was the former bookkeeper at Applegate & Hendrickson in Red Bank. He was appointed principal in 1893 at a salary of $77/month and then Superintendent of Holmdel schools in 1894. In 1901, Centerville was the largest school in Holmdel.
In 1906, some of Welch's students' parents signed a petition to have him removed. They accused Welch of being too severe in his actions toward some children. At the BOE hearing, he denied all accusations and all charges were dropped. Mr. Welch resigned the next year after teaching at Centerville for 20 years. Miss Rebecca Johns of Pennsylvania replaced him.
In 1908, BOE hired Miss Anna Brasch, a graduate of Morrisville School, to teach at Centerville. Brasch was still teaching at Centerville in 1943, and was also school principal. She lived with her father who raised 70 acres of potatoes and turnips.
Like Oak Grove District, residents of Centerville were mostly Italians engaged in the farm-trucking business. At the 5-school parade in 1922, Centerville School colors were blue and white.
By 1938, the school building was outdated and overcrowded. Replacing it became a project of the Works Progress Administration. BOE purchased a 2.4 acre piece of adjoining land from Mrs. Mary Granato. Architect Ernest A. Arend designed the red brick, 22x32' schoolhouse with 2 classrooms that could accommodate 40 students each and a basement. The new Centerville School opened September 1939 at a cost of $27,600.
On January 13, 1965, BOE auctioned off Centerville School to Brinks Investment Corporation of Keansburg for their high bid of $45,000.
Photo from Sketchbook of Historic Holmdel, p61.
Village School II (1907-1964), 961 Holmdel Road
On September 9, 1907, BOE purchased a one acre lot on Holmdel Road from Charles S. Ely for $750 and replaced Village School I with Village School II. It was a few hundred feet north of the old school.
In 1909 Miss Polhemus and Miss Norma Thorne taught at Village School in the 2-classroom school. At the 5-school parade celebrating May Day in 1922, Village School color was orange. The eighth grade graduating class at Village School consisted of 9 pupils on June 6, 1928. Their names were printed in the Red Bank Register, and they took a bus trip to Delaware Water Gap.
In July 1962, Village School II was still just 2 rooms on a 1 acre lot. In 1964 the children transferred to attend the new Village School III on McCampbell Road. The building was used as the town library.
The BOE sold the building February 1, 1982, to Young K. Kim and his wife Yon Ok Kim for $130,000. In 2011, the Village School building was used as a law office.
Photo courtesy George Joynson.
Hillcrest School (1923-1960) 12 Hillcrest Avenue
In 1922, the BOE bought a lot from Mrs. J. B. Stevenson for $300 and approved $20,000 to build a new schoolhouse. Architect John Noble Pierson & Son of Perth Amboy designed the 2-classroom school. The Bowne Bros. of Keyport built the new 3,518 sq. ft. school building. One classroom had grades 1 through 4, the other classroom had grades 5 through 8. Students had the same teacher for four years. A flag, flagpole and bible were donated.
Hillcrest was used for first time January 22, 1923, with Miss Vera Bailey principal. Miss Bailey was still teaching at Hillcrest in 1945.
Other Hillcrest teachers were Mrs. William Dennis, Mrs. Collinson, Mrs. Doerr, Mrs. McDonough, Mrs. Roma Raymond, Mrs. Isabelle Henderson, and Kindergarten teacher Mrs. Dorothy Lyons.
In 1956, the Indian Hill Bowmen, a local archery club, built an outdoor archery practice range in back of the Hillcrest School.
On May 12, 1960, BOE voted to close Hillcrest School at the end of the school year. Richard M. Ford was principal. They renovated the building to be used as administrative offices. The building was eventually sold to First Class Day Care Center. In 2011, the school was still being used as a day care center.
Photo by Karl Kim, used as Holmdel Historical Society post card
Holmdel Schools currently in use as of 2009:
Holmdel Elementary School renamed Indian Hill School (1958-current) 735 Holmdel Road
To avoid split sessions due to overcrowding, Holmdel voters approved a new elementary school in 1957. BOE appropriated $420,000 to build a 12-classroom building designed by Architect Samuel Mountford of Micklinwright and Mountford of Trenton. They hired Jack Preston of Middletown as general contractor to build the building.
More than 200 people attended the dedication ceremonies held April 23, 1958. Officials placed items marking the ceremony inside the cornerstone, including a gold-plated trowel, school brochure with a list of all the students and teachers, and copies of other documents. The new school opened September 8, 1958, with Mrs. Helen L. Ackerson as the principal. It offered Kindergarten through 8th grades, with 201 students and staff of 15. Holmdel Elementary was the first school in Holmdel that offered separate classrooms for each grade.
On Christmas Eve, December 24, 1959, midnight mass was celebrated in the auditorium by St. Benedict's Catholic Church. In 1960, BOE proposed a $190,000 6-classroom addition to the elementary school.
On February 13, 1963, the BOE officially named the school "Indian Hill - Holmdel." Enrollment in September 1964 was 412 students. As new schools opened, it went from offering K-8, to 5-6 grades, to 4-5 grades, to 3-6 grades. In 1998, Indian Hill offered 3rd-6th grades. In 2004, classes were reconfigured to 4th-6th grades as it stands currently.
Photo courtesy George Joynson.
Village School III (1964-current) 67 McCampbell Road
On February 13, 1963, BOE approved the official name as "Village School - Holmdel." In April 1963, Holmdel BOE put out bids for a 20-room addition to Village School, based on plans by architect Bernard Kellenyi of Red Bank. Village School opened September 1964, with 411 students enrolled. Mr. Paul Evans was the principal from 1965-1969. It currently offers 1st-3rd grades.
Holmdel Intermediate School renamed William R. Satz School (1968-current) 24 Crawford's Corner Road
Architects Edward C. Epple & Clinton D. Seaman of Newark, New Jersey, designed the 28-room school building for a capacity of 800 students. It was built at a cost of $2.7M. Administrators held a pre-open house on August 27, 1968. In September of 1968, Holmdel Intermediate School opened for 7th & 8th grades, with 351 students and staff of 38. Richard White was principal in September 1969.
On September 20, 1985, the Board of Education renamed it "William R. Satz School," in honor of Superintendent of Holmdel Schools, Dr. William R. Satz (1924-2010), at his retirement dinner party. Satz School currently teaches 7th and 8th grades.
School photo courtesy George Joynson; Dr. Satz photo from Star Ledger, June 3, 2010.
Holmdel High School (1973-current) 36 Crawford's Corner Road
Before it was built, 8th grade Holmdel graduates went to either Red Bank High School or Keyport High School, depending on what part of town they lived in. Red Bank High School opened in 1878 and Keyport opened in 1927. In 1934, yearly tuition to attend Keyport High School was reduced from $110 to $95.
In 1968, Red Bank BOE said it could no longer accept students from Holmdel due to overcrowding. On October 14, 1970, Holmdel residents voted to approve $6.2M to build a high school in Holmdel. Construction began in the spring of 1971. A week before school was to start, the gym floor still needed 6 coats of varnish, and seats were missing in auditorium and library. Holmdel High School opened for the first day of school on September 5, 1973, with 700 registered students. The 135,000 sq. ft., 2-story building sits on 40 acres. Holmdel's new high school had 6 science labs, a planetarium and greenhouse. The common area had ping pong tables for students to enjoy and the English department offered courses in comic books and horror fiction. The athletic department offered 6 tennis courts, 2 football fields, 2 baseball fields, and fields for softball, soccer and hockey. Richard H. White was the principal and Dr. H. Victor Crespy was the Superintendent.
In 2009, New Jersey Monthly Magazine ranked Holmdel High School 17th of 322 public high schools in New Jersey. In 2011, The Washington Post ranked Holmdel High 20th in New Jersey and 723rd nationwide.
Photo courtesy George Joynson.
If you have any pre-1950 pictures of Holmdel schools, teachers, books, report cards, or classes you would like to share, please contact the Holmdel Historical Society. Updated December 31, 2011 GJ