The Old Central High School, seen from First Street in Pittsfield, around 1900-1906. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.
The building in 2016:
This land between First and Second Streets had once been Pittsfield’s cemetery, but in 1872 the graves were relocated and the land was redeveloped as the Common. A few decades later, after Pittsfield’s high school building burned down, this location was seen as ideal for a new school. It opened in 1898, with a capacity of 600 students, but the city was experiencing rapid growth at the time. Between 1900 and 1920, Pittsfield doubled in population, and it did not take long for the new high school to be overcrowded.
A new, significantly larger high school opened in 1931, a few blocks away on East Street. The old building became the junior high school, and starting in 1961 it housed the newly-established Berkshire Community College. After the college moved to its current campus in 1972, the old school was again vacant. It was ultimately preserved, though, and was redeveloped into housing. Today, it still has all of the same architectural splendor that it had when it first opened, and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
7 thoughts on “Old Central High School, Pittsfield, Mass”
It was Pittsfield High School (NOT Central High School) when built/put in use in 1898 and served as such till 1931. After that it was Central Junior High School.
The High School on First/Second Street was not Central High School, it was built as and served as Pittsfield High School from 1898 tp 1931. (My grandmother was class of 1901. )At that point it became Central Junior High School until North and South Junior High Schools came about in the 1950s.
History of this building can be found at my website, http://www.phs1968.com including a photo of the carving over the west entrance “Pittsfield High School”.
The school is listed as “Central High School” on both the state’s MACRIS inventory (http://mhc-macris.net/Details.aspx?MhcId=PIT.55) and on the National Register of Historic Buildings listing for the building, so for consistency purposes I wanted to use that name as the title for the post.
You could change the text to reflect the error at other locations. I’m certainly not going to perpetuate the error on my website. Try to correct errors please!
I went there for half of 7th grade in the late 50’s/early 60’s. Quite a structure.
I was there that year too. I graduated from Williams Elementary in 1960. I had forgotten we only went there for part of a year before going to South jr High. I remember Mr. Brazeau Strolling his 7th grade English class with his wooden pointer cracking knuckles of those that talked while he was teaching. I was in class 7-3 and part of a group that got caught with squirt guns (caught only by the telltale water running down the blackboard). We were sent to class 7-15 for a week.
AH! THE GOLDEN YEARS “50” “51” “52”, OF CENTRAL JR. HIGH SCHOOL. HOME ROOM; MS. ROSEMARY NUGGENT.
I DID CATCH UP WITH HER WHILE VISITING ONE YEAR, I THINK IT WAS AROUND 2005, SHE WAS WORKING AT THE STUDIO OF THE FAMOUS PAINTER, NORMAN ROCKWELL. I HAD TEARS OF JOY, TO SEE HER, AFTER ALL THE YEARS GONE BY SINCE. GRADUATION FROM CENTRAL JR. HIGH. SHE WAS STILL THE PICTURE PERFECT MODEL OF A TEACHER.
CENTRAL JR HIGH SCHOOL , AND THEN ONTO PITTSFIELD HIGH SCHOOL, WERE THE BEST MEMORIES, THAT I WILL NEVER FORGET, AND BEING BORN AND RAISED, IN PTTSFIELD, GROWING UP THERE BACK THEN WAS A BLAST. THERE WAS ALWAYS SOMETHING NEW TO SEE OR DO.
FISHING WAS GREAT AT ONOTA LAKE, BUT THE PERCH WERE ALWAYS BETTER AT PONTOOSUC??? MAYBE IT WAS JUST ME, BUT I DIDN’T CARE, EITHER OR BOTH LAKES WERE FINE. ONOTA LAKE “CAUSEWAY”, WAS ALWAYS MY FAVORITE SPOT, AND THE “BLUE ANCHOR”, BUT NOT FOR FISHING, BUT TO GRAB SOME SUN RAYS.
I HAVEN’T BEEN BACK TO PITTSFIELD LATELY, (10) YEARS, BUT I ALWAYS THINK ABOUT HER. THE GOOD TIMES ARE SURELY MISSED.
I THINK ABOUT “BASCOMB LODGE” ON TOP OF MT GREYLOCK, AND “BALANCE ROCK”, YES THEY WERE THE GOOD OLD DAYS. WHEN I GRADUATED FROM PITTSFIELD HIGH, I ENLISTED INTO THE NAVY JUNE 1955 , MY BEST FRIEND, EUGENE SADLOWSKI, JOINED THE AIR FORCE, HE NOW RESIDES IN YUBA CITY CALIFORNIA, THANKS FOR THE INTERNET, WE STILL KINDA KEEP IN TOUCH.
HOW DOES THE SAYING GO? “ALAS” POOR YORLICK, FOR I KNEW HIM WELL”!