Old Park School Bricks to Rise Again at Museum

Plus: History of Nutley Schools - to 1907

MacFarland Memorial Gift and Old Bricks Being Used for New Entrance

(August 23, 1956) -- Bricks from the old Park School and a Memorial Gift helped the Nutley Historical Society to start the final projects in the Museum Restoration program. Following a sketch by James H. Bailey, masonry work on the new front porch and steps was started this week by George Ackerman.

Iron rails and appropriate meal lamps will be installed upon completion of the masonry work. Much Nutley history will be preserved by the use of the bricks secured from the Park School built in 1894.

$1,000 Memorial Gift

Church Street School, now the Nutley Historical Society and Nutley MuseumThe memorial gift of $1,000 was presented to Miss Ann Troy for the Historical Society on March 12, 1948 by Miss Grace Maude Macfarland in memory of her mother, Mrs. Virginia Vreeland Macfarland, members of the Vreeland family whose ancestors were the oldest settlers in this area.

Mrs. Macfarland, who died on Oct. 29, 1949, had also presented a stained glass window to St. Paul's Congregational Church in memory of her mother.

Actively interested in the efforts of the Historical Society to preserve records and articles depicting Nutley's earliest days, Miss Macfarland stipulated that the gift be used at the discretion of the Society to restore the front of the building.

She requested use of a small brass plate bearing the following inscription: "In loving memory of Virginia Macfarland, 1850-1930 by daughter Grace".

Miss Macfarland was born Sept. 28, 1880, and died Oct. 29, 1949. She is survived by a sister, Mrs. Eva Adams of Maplewood.

On her mother's side of the family descended from the Lloyds of Virginia. Land owned by the Vreelands from Franklin Avenue to Vreeland Avenue has provided new streets now known as Warren Street, Adams Court and Lloyd Court.

The present site of the Bank of Nutley, Chestnut Street and Franklin Avenue, was originally the site of the home of Warren Vreeland.

The house, moved to 51 Enclosure, is now the home of Mr. and Mrs. E. W. Blodgett.

The old Church Street School was acquired by the Historical Society from the Board of Education on Feb. 3, 1947 with an annual lease.

During the first year the Society centered its efforts of repairing the slate roof and converting the wooden addition in the rear to a five room apartment for the custodians, now Mr. and Mrs. Albert Jennings.

20-Year Lease

Church Street School Becomes Nutley Museum - 1946A 20-year lease was granted on March 19, 1952, and restoration work on the first floor was put in operation.

The corner lots were leased from the Town of Nutley for use as a Colonial Garden. This attractive spot is cared for by the members of the Home Garden Club of Nutley.

Restoration of the second floor, where Museum activities are carried on, was completed in 1954 and the dedication exercises took place on Sept. 26, 1954.

The Nutley Museum is open for visitors on Sundays from 2-5 p.m. under the supervision of a volunteer committee headed by Miss Troy.

Special arrangements are made for group visits of public and parochial school classes, Cubs and Brownies and other Scout troops.

Membership in the historical society, which directs the Museum activities, is open to any one interested.

The mailing list includes Newton, Conn.; Springfield, Ohio; Fredonia, N.Y.; Brookings, S.D.; St. Petersburg, Fla.; Huntington, W. Va.; Kansas City, Mo.; and San Francisco.

The officers for the Society are Robert F. Head, president; Phillip H. Woodcock, vice-president; Miss Elsie Ryan, secretary; Miss Helene Matt, treasurer; Mrs. B. Symmonds, George Brownell, Charles S. Hammond, Harry D. Cromley, Mrs. Charles Guenzler, chairman of the Special Committees, and Miss Troy.

Source: The Nutley Sun, August 23, 1956

History of the Schools

In early days in Franklin there were two school districts separated by the Yantacaw River, and known as the Upper and the Lower. Later five districts were recognized. In 1894 the School Law did away with district divisions in townships.

In the Lower District, a one-story stone schoolhouse was built about 1794 on land given "for school purposes" by John K. Speer, at Passaic Avenue and Avondale Road. The school which moved into this building had already been organized a number of years and had occupied a site on the Avondale Road opposite Philips's quarry. The present Avondale Schoolhouse replaces the old stone building.

The "Old Red Schoolhouse”, in the Povershon or Upper District stood at the corner of Center Street and Bloomfield Avenue. After years of service in this spot, about 18#, it was moved bodily to Elm street, near the present School Park. The next step was a frame schoolhouse for the "upper district" built on Church street, in 1856, whose second story was used for some years by the Reformed Church. This building was burned ill 1874 and in 1875 was rebuilt in brick.

In early days the expenses of the schools were defrayed by district taxation on the basis of each family's attendance, a system then in use in most of the middle States.

In 1890, the present School Park of twelve acres was purchased for $15,000. Several mills stood here one of which was retained and remodeled. A graded school system was adopted in this year. What is now the Town Hall was used for the first High School. Accommodations for the increasing numbers of the children were soon inadequate and The Park School was built and opened in 1894. The School Park affords a fine athletic field or ball ground which is used by the public as well as by the school children.

The Yantacaw School was built and opened in 1902.

The growth of the town has been rapid and soon these four school houses were overcrowded. By the beginning of 1906, rooms were used in various places for extra classes, and the subject of increased school accommodation overshadowed all other public questions. In February the town met the demand by voting $52,500 to enlarge The Park School and to remodel the Avondale School, thus adding seventeen new rooms. The excitement over this "school election" will not soon be forgotten in Nutley. It was the first occasion in the town when women in any numbers made use of their privilege to vote on school questions.

The school course covers thirteen years, complying with state and county requirements, and comprises one year kindergarten, four years primary, four years grammar, and four years high school, fitting for all colleges and scientific schools.

The School Library, established under a small state and town appropriation, is an excellent selection of over 1,700 standard works, free to the public.

Source: HISTORY OF NUTLEY, Elizabeth Stow Brown, 1907

Nutley Schools (to 1961)

Nutley NJ Historical Society News History Archives

Nutley Historical Society

Founded 1945

65 Church Street, Nutley N.J. 07110

About Us


Museum Store

Join NHS Now


Copyright & Reprint Information


Contact NHS via email

Contact Room Rental, via phone, not email, Call 973-667-1528

Official Web Site
Nutley Historical Society

Follow/Like Us on Facebook

Check-in When You Visit

RENT THE Historic First Floor of the  Nutley Museum for your event

Call to rent the hall:


Church Street School, now the Nutley Historical Society and Nutley Museum


When was it built?       


When was the fire?      

the c. 1855 wooden one burned in 1874

How long was it used as a school?

1853–1874: wooden school building, built 1853, burned in 1874

1875–1893: new brick school building used from 1875 until 1893 (Park School opened in 1894)

1895–1906: used for overflow classes—a common occurrence in a rapidly growing town (Park School phase 2 opened in 1907)

1910: opened for one year—overflow third grade

1914–1926: used as the boys' pre-vocational school (Nutley High School—now our middle school—opened in 1927)

1927–1946: the building sat empty

1947–present: the Nutley Historical Society took over and began renovation work

1955: formal dedication of the Nutley Museum

- John Simko, Museum Director


Email Contact - Nutley Historical Society

The Nutley Historical Society is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to serve the educational, cultural and historical needs of our community.

65 Church Street, Nutley N.J. 07110

Copyright © Nutley Historical Society

Site development & maintenance
provided at no cost to Nutley Historical Society,
sponsored by:

Nutley Sons Honor Roll

Email Webmaster

Links are subject to change