Franklin Historical Museum celebrates Davis Thayer Elementary School


FRANKLIN – The 97-year-old Davis Thayer Elementary School and its generations of students and teachers are at the forefront of the Franklin Historical Museumthe most recent exhibition of.

Davis Thayer, on West Central Street, opened as a high school in 1925 as the city’s middle and high schools were overcrowded. Only 15 teachers worked at the school in its first year.

The school became a college in 1962 after the construction of a new high school.

It reached its final form in 1974, when it was renovated and turned into an elementary school, and is named after the owner of the straw factory who once resided on the land, Davis Thayer.

After nearly a century, the The Franklin School committee in February decided by a 5-2 vote to close the school as of July 1. Committee members discussed the drop in registrations, the age of the building and the high cost of keeping it open.

In the museum exhibit, there is a Franklin High School varsity sweater, white and blue belted athletic shorts, and portraits of the school’s first class of graduates. Also on display is a 1926 photo of the high school football team, of players posing with the school visible behind them.

Previous reports: Franklin Superintendent to Recommend Study on Davis Thayer School Closure

There is also a collection of elementary school directories that visitors can browse through.

Archivist Rebecca Finnigan said the theme was chosen to give people space to think about Davis Thayer’s shutdown.

“As a museum, it’s our job to get people to walk through the door and learn a little more about their own history,” said Finnigan.

While preparing for the exhibit, Finnigan said he worked with members of the exhibit committee. Some of them went to school in the building and shared vivid memories, whether it was voting in the basement, having double sessions when it was college, or attending. at a prom.

“It’s at the forefront,” said Finnigan.

Residents are encouraged to contact the museum if they have a particular memory of the school. Visit his Facebook page or send an email to

The school’s closure means its students will be traveling two miles down the road from Helen Keller Elementary School on Lincoln Street for this upcoming school year. School officials estimate that the move will save the district up to $ 1 million.

PICTURES: Franklin Kindergarten on the first day of school in 2018

The exhibition is open until the end of the summer.

The museum is located at 80 West Central St. Hours of operation are 5 pm to 7 pm Thursday; from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday; and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is always free and the museum is ADA compliant.

Zane Razzaq writes on education. Contact her at 508-626-3919 or Follow her on Twitter @zanerazz.

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Patrick F. Williams