A History of
The Edwards Central School
Edwards High School came into being when it was determined
there were enough students in Edwards to warrant a local high
school rather than having them go to Gouverneur. This usually entailed
staying during the school week with a family in Gouverneur then riding
the train back to Edwards for the weekend.
At that time, the elementary school in Edwards was on East
Main Street (pictured at right), on the site of the current
Assembly of God Church and parsonage. Built in 1898, it replaced
a school which stood on Main Street next to the Methodist Church.
Originally, this was a one story school. In order to make room
for the additional students and programs, the roof was raised on
it, to make two stories. This floor had room for three more
classrooms and a principal's office. This is pictured at the left.
Pictured at the right is the first class to
graduate from the Edwards High School. The three members of this
class to graduate on June 23, 1914, were, from left to right,
Gretchen Todd Gregory, Mildred Chapin Lathan Lumley and Vivian
Beach Gardner. Their flower was the white rose.
The Class of 1936 went through their public school years in
the old wood building on East Main Street, which had been the
site of the first high school in Edwards. However, in their
senior year the new brick school on Trout Lake Street was being
constructed, so while they were the last class to complete their
four full high school years in the old school, the gym in the new
school was finished and graduation was
held there, on the stage, on June 22, 1936, instead in the
"Opera House" of the Town Hall, as had been done in the
At the left is the class of 1936, front from left
to right: Lillian Adams Fagnant, Margaret Tinney Aldridge
(deceased), Edna Williams Schryer (deceased), Hilda Jarvis Ryan
(deceased), Marion Harmon Vienneau. Back, Helena Freeman Evans
(deceased), Edward Adams (deceased), Mary Tripp Noble, Olan
Brayton (died in 1942 in a POW camp in the Phillippines during
WWII, the local VFW post is named in his honor), Myrna Morgan
In the fall of 1936 the old school was permanently closed and
the Class of 1948 began as first graders in the Trout Lake Street building
(pictured at right). This building was the fifth and final school built in
the village of Edwards.
The Class of 1948 has the distinction of being the last class
to graduate under the name of Edwards High School. The voters
elected to discontinue the Edwards Union Free School #1 on June
9, 1948 and, effective the school year 1948-'49 to consolidate,
and be organized as the Edwards Central School. The Edwards school and the Fine school each
realized there was to be a change and the Fine high school
students, who traditionally had attended Edwards, had begun
attending the Oswegatchie High School in the fall of 1947,
therefore all the 1948 class members were from the various
outlying district schools of the town of Edwards.
Pictured at the left is the Class of June 1948,
the last class to graduate as Edwards High School. The class
members in the picture are: Front row: Virginia Lutz Mussaw,
Bruce Brown, Beatrice Bishop, Lyle Bleau and Judith Fuller
Perpente; Middle Row: Clarence Skeldon, Helen Cole Exford,
Eleanor Morrissey Meilleur and Clarence Thompson; Back Row:
Phyllis Whitmarsh Zaluski, Robert Perry, Violet Patience Swart,
George Hurley, Kenneth Hughes, Dorothy Aldridge Johnston, Stanley
Zaluski, Ermina Bevins and Richard Brown. Absent was Jeanette
The Class of 1949 was the first graduating class under the
reorganization of the school as the centralized district, the
Edwards Central School.
Here, the Class of 1949 is
pictured. Front row L-R: Bernice McGill Hogue, Marjorie Brasie
Day, Jean Whitmash Zaluski, Constance Brown McElwain, Shirley
Kerr Wood, Florence Sullivan Tuttle, Frances Rice Damon. Rear
row: Charles Clintsman, Charles Patience (deceased, 1982),
Kenneth Jones, James Webb, Glenn McCollum. Picture courtesy of
Jean Whitmarsh Zaluski.
An elementary school wing was built in 1951 on the Trout Lake
Street building. The children who lived in the village started to
attend classes there when it opened in early 1952. The first
kindergarten class in Edwards went to school there and graduated
as the Class of 1964. It is interesting to note that the
townspeople had decided to have a kindergarten in Edwards by 1951
and that to introduce it they had to use the Methodist church
building before the wing of the school was actually ready. By the
early '60s, the outlying "one room schoolhouses" closed
in the town of Edwards and all students K-12 attended school in
The communities of Edwards and Russell had been considering
the possibility of merging to be able to give the students of
both areas the best education available in this era of
technology. On December 4, 1985, the voters agreed that in the
best interest of the young people the two districts would merge.
The Edwards-Knox Central School came into existence effective
July 1, 1986. A new K-12 school was built about half way between
the two communities with classes beginning in the new building in
September 1989. Therefore, Edwards Central School held its last
graduation as a school serving the students of the Town of
Edwards in June 1986.
Class of 1986
The final graduation as EDWARDS CENTRAL SCHOOL
Shown in the picture are: Front row: Bryan
Davison, Douglas Matthews, Richard Thornton, Stephen Skeldon,
Jenelle Hale, Michelle Hale, Sheryl Hathaway Blystone, Elizabeth
Nichols Bowman. Middle row: Stephen Taylor, Mark Watson, Jeffrey
Brown, Mabel Davison Peabody, Sonja Forbes, Janice Moore Burkard.
Back row: Scott Zeller, Richard LaPlant, Lura Hughes Gotham,
Pamela Daniels DeClue, Lisa Jones Skeldon, Aimee Mazuroski Clark.
For the most part, the Edwards school building has been
unoccupied since the students vacated it in June 1989. The high
school wing was torn down during the summer of 1998. Recently, the property was
purchased by John Matejcik, who has been renovating it and is looking to return
it to a useful purpose in the community.