Click on the image to see a larger view.
The former South Manchester High School was constructed with funds donated by the Cheney brothers. It was dedicated in 1904, and served as Manchester’s public high school into the 1950s, when the “new” high school opened on Middle Turnpike East. Junior high school classes were held there until its conversion to apartments.
According to The History of Manchester, Connecticut, 1923, by Spiess & Bidwell, “After the closing of the Center and the East Academies about the year 1870, there was no private institution in town which provided instruction in high school subjects.
“In 1902, Superintendent of Schools Fred Verplanck began to examine other schools and solicited proposals from various architectural firms. The school was designed by architects Hartwell, Richardson, and Driver of Boston, and built by Beattie and Wilcox of Fall River, Massachusetts.”
The building is a fine and sturdy example of Colonial Revival style, with its symmetry and classically derived details such as the frontispiece with Doric columns, flat arches with keystones, quoining, and modillion cornice.
Inside, it has wood paneling and doors, transoms, and all the “modern” amenities of the time. On the top floor was an auditorium for assemblies and concerts, quite a hike up the stairs, with no elevator. North of the school was the house where Superintendent Dr. Fred Verplanck lived.
High school info by Susan Barlow of the Manchester Historical Society.
This photo appears through the generosity of the Manchester Historical Society Cheney Collection.