The Mead Street Schools: Desperate Needed To No Longer Needed At All.
The first Mead Street School came about from the growth on Watertown’s northwest side, accompanied by the overcrowding of the small, and by all means old (built in 1824), stone Bradley Street school which was located approximately the first block, block and a half on the west side of Bradley Street from W. Main Street.
While the Bradley Street School was still in relatively good shape by 1890, some were calling it a disgrace to the city because it was just too small for a mere 29 students in 1888. Nevertheless, by 1889, the one story, one room school had become so overcrowded, the entire third grade was shipped off to the Arsenal Street School.
Little time was wasted in finding a new location for the Bradley Street School. In 1891, a plot of land on the corner of Mead and Superior Streets was selected to be the home of what would be named the Mead Street School. Built within the same era as the Pearl and Cooper Street schools, it would share the same designs, an attribute that would often lead to confusion amongst the three.
Opening on January 4, 1892, the new school wouldn’t be without issues for long, however as a drainage problem caused frequent flooding in the basement. With all the new growth occurring, particularly on the north side, the city was playing catch up with sewage and drainage plans. In 1905, along with a number of other schools, it would receive a proper ventilation system.
By 1924, people were already clamoring for a new school. In the April 23 edition of the Watertown Standard, the sub-headline read “Three Hundred Sign Petition Asking For New Mead Street School–
The petition called for a new school building to replace the present one which was called inadequate for the increasing population of the ninth ward, and for a school where a pupil could complete his education without going to some other school.
Daniel Corbett in a brief statement outlined the school situation as he had known it for the past 35 years. He was told by Commissioner Cahill that the matter would be given careful consideration in a short time and when the school survey was made.
Mr. Corbett, a former alderman of the ninth ward, would have to wait another 35 years. In 1959-1960, the new, single story Mead Street School was constructed next to the old school. It would serve as an elementary school for approximately 27 years.
In the 1947 Ohio State University study of the Watertown City School District, the Mead Street School would be the second smallest school with 173 pupils and six teachers. With regards to overall scores, it would rank third-worst, ahead of both Pearl and Academy Street Schools with 414 points, 134 below the average.
The building itself would rank in the lower-end of the scale, 18 points below the average. In general, each of its categories were below average and, being the only school in the northwest, it’s not surprising it was replaced within the next 13 years.
In the late 1980’s, the city’s Board of Education decided to repurpose for former North Junior High School which had stopped holding classes around 1980. North Junior’s students would consolidate into the city’s other Junior High School, Case Jr, after one year of ninth grade classes before those were moved to the Senior High School.
Mead Street School would suffer a loss of enrollment over the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, first cutting the kindergarten classes and consolidating into the now North Elementary School, which operates a mere block from another elementary school on E. Hoard Street, Starbuck. After another year or two of dwindling enrollment, Mead Street School would close its doors for good on September 1, 1994.
Every old reference to the school has been shown to be Mead St. vs. Meade St. which seems to have been adopted sometime after the newer school was built.