Saugus: 1900 - 2000
A Century in the Life of Our Town

Lynnhurst Schools

Between 1892 and 1899, Mr. Wormstead received "a stipend" from the Saugus School Department to transport students in the first six grades from Lynnhurst to the Mansfield School in East Saugus. Elementary students living on the Lynn side of Lynnhurst walked to the Aldworth school off Harmon Street. The Saugus students gathered at the corner of Fairmount and Edison Streets. A covered wagon with a bed of straw for comfort wound its way down Fairmount to Hesper and up Chestnut Street. In winter a pung was used with an extra bed of straw. In March 1899 the Saugus Town Meeting appropriated $3000 to build a one room school on Cleveland Avenue that would accommodate the elementary grades. An architect's sketch appeared in the Lynn Item for November 25, 1899, and the school was ready for occupancy by September 1900. It had a seating capacity of thirty and in a few years it could only accommodate the first five grades. In 1900 the school population of Saugus was 1016 students with 89 of them in the high school. A total of 27 teachers were employed. For the first twelve years the teacher at Lynnhurst was recruited from outside the commuting area and had to board with a local family. In the summer of 1913, the newly-formed Lynnhurst Men's Club received a communication from the school department seeking an opinion on the following proposal. Miss Fairchild from Nantucket would not be returning to Lynnhurst in the fall. They proposed to hire a Miss Virginia Sawyer, a resident of Cliftondale. Since there were few phones and emergency communications were difficult, they were to hire a Miss Mary Murray who lived near Miss Sawyer as a substitute teacher. If Miss Sawyer was unable to fulfill her post, then she would inform Miss Murray in sufficient time to cover. The teacher would board a street car at Cliftondale at 7 AM. She would leave the trolley at Hesper Street in Lynn and wend her way up Fairmount Avenue to the school. Apparently there was no objection from the community as Miss Sawyer assumed her post in September.

In 1917 a special town meeting convened in July for the purpose of considering new school structures and $9000 was appropriated to attach a two room addition to the Lynnhurst School. Because the addition would not be ready for occupancy until April of 1918, two rooms at the Lynnhurst Men's Club were rented. Seats and desks were bolted to heavy railroad ties for stability and the pupils in grades 1, 2, and 3 remained at the school during construction, while students in grades 4, 5, and 6 reported to the Men's clubhouse.

In the summer of 1915 and the spring of 1916, the students were participants in two events worthy of mention: the 1915 Saugus centennial parade and a reenactment of the centennial pageant in the spring of 1916. The centennial celebration was held on July 2, 3, and 4 which fell on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. In the spring the P.T.A. started to plan for the celebration. The children would march as a kazoo band. Each child was given a kazoo and as part of their music instruction, they were taught to hum America, Yankee Doodle, and America the Beautiful. Their recess time that spring was devoted to learning the march formation while humming the tunes. On the day of the parade they wore a brightly colored sash, a cummerbund of red, white, and blue crepe paper and patriotic paper hats. They were flanked on both sides by adult chaperones who held the ends of long cloth banners reading "LYNNHURST". The parade was scheduled to start at 9 AM at the corner of Chestnut and Winter. It was so long however, that it was delayed in formation until 10 AM. By that time the chief marshal, Henry A. Parker, riding a white stallion, was at Franklin Square near the bridge and the formation stretched up Chestnut to Winter, down Stocker and into the playground where the floats had assembled to form the end of the parade. Mr. Wormstead had a small house mounted on a large flatbed wagon with a double hitch. On the roof of the house was a sign that read: "OFFICE OF THE MAYOR OF LYNNHURST". He was seated in a rocking chair outside the office sporting a Prince Albert outfit and a plug hat. Around him were assembled, in costume, Emma Derby, Dorothy Charles, Evelyn Bellevue, Addie N. Wormstead, and Austin Adams dressed as a citizen of Saugus might have looked one hundred years before.

There were three bands in the parade, but the largest was a fifty piece band followed by two thousand sailors from the U.S.S. New Jersey, which was in drydock at the Charlestown Navy Yard. A special fleet of streetcars had been chartered to bring them to Saugus. The parade route extended from Franklin Square, up Lincoln Avenue to Cliftondale Square. It then followed Essex, Vine, Main, Summer, Parker, and Central to the reviewing stand at the Town Hall. It disbanded at the monument and at that moment the greatest parade ever to occur in Saugus became a part of history.

In the spring, while evolving plans for this event, the P.T.A. members realized that after parading all morning, the children would be tired and hungry. In addition, they still had to walk back to Lynnhurst. One member stated that she had recently walked to the Town Hall to pay a tax bill and passed a house quite near there that had a front porch, but no railing had been constructed between the roof posts. She thought that if the sides as well as the front were used, that all of the children could sit along the edge, let their feet hang down and be served box lunches. Mr. Wormstead, who was present as school janitor, stated that the dwelling belonged to the McCullough family and he was well acquainted with them. He offered to proposition them with the idea. Not only did he secure permission, but he volunteered to deliver the collation to the location on his way to the parade at Stocker playground. Several days before the event, Mrs. Amanda G. Everitt filled cases of tonic bottles with Hires home made root beer. The bottles were equipped with rubber gasketed ceramic tops attached to a spring clamp. Other members prepared sandwiches, cookies, and fruit which were assembled in individual paper boxes. Mr. Wormstead had a zinc-lined box with thick cork insulation. In summer, blocks of ice were placed in the bottom and racks of milk bottles were above. Because it had to be transferred to a pung in snowy weather, it had two long strips of wood along each side just below the cover. It could be carried by two men just like a litter stretcher. As the parade ended, Mr. Wormstead swung his hitch around the monument and headed back up Central Street and stopped in front of 280. He and his cast were served box lunches right on the rig. After the repast, all of the cardboard, wrapping, and bottles were placed back in the cooler and delivered back to Lynnhurst.

The residents of Lynnhurst who attended the pageant were quite impressed with Miss Bates' production. They decided to work with Miss Sawyer and coach the students in a reenactment of a modified version as there were only thirty students. The school location gave a fine outdoor setting for a stage. The school only occupied a two hundred foot strip in the middle of a block, but the remainder of the block to Washington Avenue was an open field. The actors could arrive from a distance by coming from the corner of Fairmound and Washington or from Cleveland and Washington. A large rock on the playground had some stairs erected about it and served as a pinnacle for the goddess of liberty to ascend. Each child was given a photograph of the cast and after eighty years there are at least three known copies still in existence.

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