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Millburn: 1857 - 1957

By the Millburn Centennial Committee

Originally appeared in 1957
This Web version, copyright 2004

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  • Millburn High School Class of 1898

  • Millburn High School Class of 1901

  • School on Old Short Hills Road

  • St. Rose of Lima's First Parochial School

  • Short Hills High School Students, 1895

  • The Short Hills School, 1897

  • High School, 1908

  • Washington School

  • Millburn Public School Teaching Staff about 1898

  • Washington School, 1895

  • Wyoming School

  • Short Hills Country Day School
  • It is not known when the school on White Oak Ridge Road was built, but one of the early members of the Ross family is known to have attended it as far back as 1830. A school which was on Old Short Hills Road, opposite Parsonage Hill Road, was also an early school, and the Washington School was in existence before 1857.

    The Item of June 30, 1898, gives a complete account of the graduation exercises of the Class of 1898, the first graduating class of the Millburn High School. The three graduates, all girls – Henrietta Keeney, Martha Gilley Condit, and Agnes Isabelle McKallor, were presented their diplomas in the Short Hills Casino in a flower and flag bedecked hall. An essay was spoken by each graduate; there seems to have been a long musical program, and many speeches. A part of one speech deserves special mention. William M. Deen, President of the Board of Education, in his speech made "thoughtful and delicate reference to the past season's services of Miss Cora Hartshorn who gave the High School classes free instructions in drawing, generously furnishing gratis everything needed for the lessons."

    The account of the graduation exercises of that June evening of 1898 contains no reference to the two-month old Spanish-American War, nor to the sinking of the battleship "Maine" in the previous February, and no authentic records are now available of Millburn's part in that short-lived conflict. However, from rehable older citizens it has been learned that about ten boys left for Santiago or the Philippines, and none was lost, so that the theme song of the war "There'll be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight" undoubtedly found many voices around the family pianos.

    As the 19th century moved quietly into the 20th, with, it seems, hardly a ripple to mark the transition, the Township was still divided into three rather distinct entities the suburban Wyoming, the fashionable Short Hills, and the industrial Millburn center, with the "Ridge" people, centering around White Oak Ridge and Parsonage Hill Road forming another small group. Each section had its own public school. Hobart Avenue School was built in 1893 the the Wyoming School had begun modestly in a frame house at 119 Cypress Street, and the new Washington School was ready in 1895. The White Oak Ridge School was still functioning in a small building erected in 1892 to replace the old, obsolete structure. The one-room school house on Old Short Hills Road had been, or was soon to be, superseded by the modern institutions.

    Millburn schools had come a long way since the days of 1857 when, although 365 children were enrolled, attendance was so irregular that only a few appeared each day. Then three teachers, one man and two women, at salaries of $300.00 and $200.00 a year respectively, provided instruction chiefly in the three R's, and the Superintendent, Rev. Horace H. Reid, had paid out of his own pocket $25.00 to equip each school with a map of the United States, a map of New Jersey, and a manual of instruction for teachers.

    In 1900, in addition to the public schools, the Short Hills Private School, growing out of several attempts to found private schools, including the Short Hills Classical School for Boys, the Community School, the Heights Academy, and the Baquet Institute for Young Ladies, was flourishing since its reorganization in 1898. It is, of course, now known as "Short Hills Country Day School." St. Rose of Lima's Parochial School had also been functioning since 1869, first in an altered hat shop, then in a brick building which later became the church convent.


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