Postcards from Grafton

Old Grafton School

June 7, 2021

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Artist studios. Concerts. Community theater. Historical exhibits. Monarch butterfly garden. Community garden. The vision that Carlee Mahajan has for the Old Grafton School on Elm Street is ambitious and creative to say the least. We chat with Mahajan about the history of the school building, how she acquired the property, the work that has been completed, and the work that remains to make the space a true community hub for artists and events. To learn more about the Old Grafton School, including construction updates and events, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/oldgraftonschool/ 

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In 1934, the Grafton School Board began investigating the possibility of constructing a gymnasium as a Civil Works Administration project; Grafton had a championship-winning boys basketball team, but the elementary school on Chestnut Street was too small of a space for practice. In 1935, the vision evolved from a basketball practice space to an entire new school building with a price tag of $125,000. Voters approved a $70,000 bond issue for the new school and the Public Works Administration covered the rest. Construction quickly began at the intersection of Elm and Mechanic Streets, and the building’s first elementary students began their schoolyear in 1936. In addition to an auditorium-gymnasium that could seat 500, the school building included a large cafeteria and kitchen, locker rooms, a chemistry and physics laboratory, art and music rooms, and a room equipped with sewing machines, kitchenettes, and a stage for home economics and public speaking. The Elm Street Elementary School officially closed in May 2005 when three new elementary schools were built in the community.

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