The History of Hobart High School
Waterville was well started as a manufacturing village in 1890. Waterville is the name which served the now-called Hobart village throughought its early prosperity until 1928. At that time Waterville applied for a post office for she was growing well with her carding mill, a woolen mill, a foundry, a tannery, a distillery, a grist mill, and a saw mill, as the main businesses. There was another and larger Waterville, so to have its desired post office the name was to be changed. There was some discussion of the name "Roslyn", but that was effectively effaced when parodied "Goslin". Upon the suggestion of the Rev. Philander Chase it was named after Bishop Hobart, and so it has since remained.
The problem of education was met and dealt with early in Hobart. The earliest recorded school is dated 1805. This building stood on Locust Hill, now the site of the Locust Hill Cemetery. The upper story of Waterville Academy was used as the Masonic Hall. Waterville Academy flourished until 1816 when it burned. For a while after this, facts of School history are mixed and vague. Between 1816 and 1845 Hobart Seminary was built. this was a well known school and served many young people. In 1845 this building was deemed too small and Hobart Academy was built on Church Hill. This became a school of one hundred pupils. At this time the Seminary building was also on Church Hill, and was used as the Masonic Hall. This building is now standing on Maple Avenue, owned by M. K. Mayes. This is popularly remmebered as the Jay Gould school house. It was here that Jay Gould received his education as a boy, paying his way by bookkeeping.
Several residents of the village attended school in the building located on Pearl Street on the site of Miss Bennett's driveway. The property facing the school house was fenced by overturned stumps. The stump fences are now almost all destroyed. However, this fence of particularly large and twisty stumps was the scene of many good times. The children played on and around them, making them everything imaginable. Inquiry reveals that years had washed the stumps clean and experience had taught the children to be expert; so there were few such results as soiled or torn clothing.
At this time, too, there was a private school kept by Miss Helen Rollins.
The growth of school was very rapid after the building of the new school on the exact site of the present building in 1887. In 1892 it became Union Free School, and in 1893 the academic department was admitted to the University of the State of New York. This necessitated remodeling and enlarging in the next year, 1894. The Regents Department of the State of New York granted it the title of "Hobart High School" in 1897. Previous to this time anyone interested in receiving a diploma granted by the State was obliged to go to Stamford to school to study during a part of the year. There are several people who remember going to Stamford to graduate.
Progress from this time was marked. In 1914 the building was condemned. In 1921 the present building was constructed at a cost of nearly $50,000. The grade department occupies the lower floor and the academic department the upper floor. The auditorium is a combination of assembly hall and gymnasium with the basketball court. In the past year improvements have been made in the way of a new classroom and the procuring of new playground equipment.
During past years the school has been making rapid progress along substantial lines. The policy of higher education has ever been fostered by Hobartians. The students who have emerged from Hobart High School are leading successful lives in various professions, and are scattered throughout the state as well as in many other states of the Union. Hobart graduates make good.
--Edith Platt, class of 1934