Many students who attended Andrew Warde High School in the late 1950s and early 1960s were products of two of the town's oldest elementary schools, Washington and Lincoln. However, the aging schools were termed "obsolete" by the Fairfield Board of Education by the Spring of 1962.
As a result, 50 years ago this evening --- Friday, June 8, 1962 --- the board initiated action for the construction of a 20-to-24 room elementary school in the North Stratfield area to meet classroom needs and to replace Washington and Lincoln schools.
Joe O'Brien, a 1976 graduate of Andrew Warde High School, was a member of the last kindergarten class at Lincoln School in 1963-64. "I believe it was a tall structure, maybe three stories high, similar to the original Stratfield School before all the additions," wrote O'Brien, whose three older siblings also attended kindergarten at Lincoln School.
"The front door was between the two pine trees on Fairmount. The trees are still there, I think, and were used as goal posts for our pick-up football games later. George O'Brien (older than us and no relation) practiced his field goal kicking there. He was the place kicker for Warde at one time."
O"Brien remembered having Miss Davidson as his kindergarten teacher during half-day sessions which were split between morning and afternoon. After the school closed its doors for the last time, "I believe most of the students ended up at Stratfield or Assumption, or both like me," he recalled. "Assumption had no kindergarten at the time, however."
He added, "Once the school was closed and being prepared for demolition, my brother and I would go down there to smash the windows out with stones. (It was) great fun."
According to the newspaper story 50 years ago, the school board voted to request the Representative Town Meeting to appoint a building committee for the new school, acting on a recommendation by Dr. William J. Edgar, superintendent of schools.
Dr. Edgar said the proposed school in North Stratfield would be located on a 10-acre tract of land purchased by the town seven years earlier off Putting Green and Harvester roads.
He reported that the new school was needed to relieve the "pressures" on Stratfield and Fairfield Woods schools. In addition, it would allow for the closing of Lincoln School on Jackman Avenue and Washington School on Villa Avenue, both of which are old structures and had been earmarked for abandonment as "inefficient for the school program."
Upon completion of the new school in North Stratfield, students living in the southwestern section of the Lincoln School district would attend Stratfield School on Melville Avenue, and students in the North and East sections would attend the new school.
Pupils in the Washington School district would be shifted to Stratfield School, according to Dr. Edgar. Pupils in the North Stratfield area, who were attending either Fairfield Woods or Stratfield schools, would be assigned to the new school.
Dr. Edgar said the target date for the school opening was September in 1964. He pointed out that in order to meet the date, ground would have to be broken by the Summer of 1963.
The necessary machinery for getting a building committee, the appointment of an architect, and preparation of plans would require nearly a year, according to Dr. Edgar.
Truman Chase, director of transportation, assisted in outlining details of the school districts and the location of the school site.
The photos above show the sixth-grade classes at Lincoln and Washington schools in 1952. Many of the students graduated from Andrew Warde High School six years later.