Sunday, August 15, 2021

Citizens, Safety, and Civics The Hallmark of School 60 - The “Ontario School”

School No. 60

Modern in Every Particular and is Ably Conducted by 

Principal Elmer J. Cobb


Children Playing Outside School #60 in it's Early Days (Built 1897-1898)

    Buffalo Times - Feb. 16, 1902  Public School No. 60 is one of the new schools. It is located on Ontario Street and called after the street, “The Ontario School." The membership of the school, although now quite small, is steadily increasing and the principal anticipates a very much overcrowded school within a few years. The school is thoroughly heated and ventilated by a most complete system and always is  kept in excellent condition by the janitor.  
 The principal of the school is Elmer J. Cobb. He has been prominently connected with schoolwork since he graduated from the Cherry Creek, N. Y., Graded School, in 1881. Mr. Cobb was born in Cherry Creek. After graduating from school there he became teacher of the district school. He entered the Fredonia Normal School and  graduated from there in 1888. He was appointed principal of the Brocton  Union School in 1888, from there he  went to the Dayton Union School as principal, became principal of No. 29 School in Buffalo in 1897. From there he went to School No. 60 where he has been since 1898.
Students Posing at Front Steps of School #60

   The teachers employed in the Ontario School are as follows: Miss Eleanor F. Wood, ninth grade; Miss Rachel Turner, eighth grade; Miss Josephine L. Doyle, seventh grade; Miss Ada Seekings, sixth grade; Miss Isabella M. Thomas, sixth grade; Miss Christine Bernard, 5th grade; Miss Bertha A. Batty, fourth grade; Miss Augusta F. Kopf, fourth grade; Miss Mary E. Sweitzer, third grade; Miss Emelin A. Glasser; third grade; Miss Mabel B. Toppins, second grade; Miss Cora L. Millington, second grade; Miss Ellen C. Holweis, first grade.

Elmer J. Cobb
Buffalo Times - April 24 1927  There is a section of Buffalo which, in a large measure,  owes its growth and development to a public school. That is the Riverside district, and School No. 60 at Ontario and Saratoga Streets, of which Elmer J. Cobb is principal in the school.  He opened the Ontario St. school thirty years ago, when that part of the city was almost a wilderness.
   Immediately he began putting into practice an idea all his own for training children to become valuable citizens. Here is what Mr. Cobb learned when he commenced: Of the 1600 boys and girls who have been graduated from the school, not one is known to have a criminal record. Nor has one been in court even on a minor charge, according to the principals records. And a majority of the graduates have settled in the Riverside district and now comprise its most influential citizens. and here is what Mr. Hartwell, superintendent of schools, said recently after a visit to No. 60:
  Hartnell's Tribute.  "Riverside school is like a wheel, the hub of which, is good citizenship. And that, after all, is one of the main purposes of all schools. Of what use is all learning if we cannot make our boys and girls fundamentally good?" The work of making future citizens begins in the kindergarten in the Riverside school and continues until the child is graduated from the ninth grade.  For this house of learning goes beyond the eighth grade and overlaps into the ninth, which is regarded and first year of high school work.  
Class Photo about 1905

   Here is Principal Cobb's system:  A few days after school opens in September each year the grade teachers give a short talk about public meetings and civic affairs then before the public. Each teacher proposed that every class should have a club which shall hold meeting and be a part of the general patriotic society of the school.  Officers are elected by popular vote and they run things for the year.  

Student From Above Class Photo

 When the children have grown enthusiastic, the teacher suggests that they organize a little citizens club and elect officers. Meetings are held once a week and business is conducted according to parliamentary rules. And here is the first question put by the president to the other pupils:  "What is the first duty of all American citizens?" And the answer is: It is the duty of all good American Citizens to love their country, to obey its laws and to respect its flag. The idea behind these clubs, as Mr. Cobb explained it is to get the children thus early in life to realize their duties and responsibilities as citizens early in life.  At the same time it gives them a working knowledge of civic life and adult organizations, so that when they grow up they can readily take their places as leaders in their respective communities.

Teachers' Council

  Another organization of the school is a students' council, and it is composed of a boy and a girl from each class of the seventh and eighth and ninth grades. Every Monday it meets for one half hour and listens to reports from the different committees-Safety, building and Grounds, and for the general good of the school.  There is a
Patriotic Celebration Behind School 60 - 1918
View along Saratoga St.
safety patrol, made up of 10 boys, headed by two captains, who assist the traffic policeman at each assembly and dismissal of the school.  Each boy is armed with summonses, which he hands to each erring pupil whom he discovers violating any of the traffic laws. The summonses are investigated by the Traffic Committee of the school, and offending lads and lassies are hailed before the tribunal to explain.  On habitual offenders, severe sentences are handed out; for instance, one repeater for jay-walking was sentenced to write a 500 word composition on the dangers of jay-walking.  To learn the result of letting the children to run things themselves, Mr. Cobb this year made a survey, and learned that there had not been a single accident involving pupils of his school during the entire year, including the long summer vacation and during Christmas and Easter. Truly, a record to be justly proud of. 
   Principal Cobb said that the last spoke in the wheel of good citizenship which he has brought to the Riverside School is that of bringing the parents of his pupils in the closest contact with the work being done in the classrooms.
  "Twenty-five years ago," said he, "this section of Buffalo was almost a wilderness.(1902) Early in the Spring, I gave the children packets of seeds and instructed them as to how they should be sown. And I told I would give prizes to those who should first bring things to me which would be the product of the vegetable seeds.  You'd be surprised at the result of that experiment.  They brought samples of everything and my office was actually littered with the goods.  It almost made me a bankrupt to keep my word and give them the promised prizes. 
Class Photo About 1905

Parents Make Gardens

    That experiment was well worthwhile, however, for the parents of many of the pupils perhaps moved by what the youngsters had done, began to make gardens and so our district has grown into one of the very finest parts of Buffalo."  
    Mr. Cobb did not tell the writer what the people of the section think of him nor how he is regarded there. But one of the teachers suggested that we ask him to show the ring given to him thee years ago by the citizens of the Riverside district in appreciation of his work. Reluctantly he showed the gift, which bears the inscription that it was given to Principal Cobb because he is an educator, a patriot and a friend.
   The original school was built in 1897, when Edgar B. Jewett was mayor and Henry P. Emerson was superintendent of education. The first registration numbered 495, and there were ten teachers. The registration at present(1927) is 1,375 pupils and there are 48 teachers besides the principal. Last year there was a graduating class of 90, and a like number is expected to be graduated this coming June. The school has all the modern equipment, including gymnasiums for boys and girls, domestic science and domestic arts classes, a swimming pool and etc.

A substantial three-story rear addition to School #60, was built in 1922 which included an auditorium.

September 1921 view showing rear of School 60

November 1921 - View from Troy Place

November 29, 1921 - View from Saratoga St.

January 30, 1922 - View From Saratoga St.


1 comment:

linda said...

i attended school 60 from 64-65 eighth grade. i won an award that yr and a plack was on the wall of the first floor. i was wondering if anyone has found or kept that plack and if so i would love to have it. it has my name on it : linda rigwalski.