McKinley School, Milwaukee, WI

OLD SCHOOL OF THE DAY

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McKinley School

2001 W. Vliet St.

Milwaukee, WI

The original block of the old McKinley School on 20th and Vliet in Milwaukee, WI, was erected in 1885 and designed by architect Frederick Seyring with an addition of a second pyramidal-roof building just a couple years later, possibly drawn by E.V. Koch and Co. By 1894, Sanborn maps indicate the two east wings which are connected by a passage. In 1898, Mollerus and Lotter designed the westernmost block fronting 21st Street. While Seyring’s building had gabled roofs, low dormers on the south elevation and peaked dormers with arched windows above the side entrances, Mollerus and Lotter created a more classical addition, with columns flanking the west entrance, dentils along the cornice and a nearly flat roof.  McKinley School started out as the Second District then became the 15th after it was completed.  Originally known as the District 15 School, it was renamed the Cold Spring Avenue School in 1912. The school was renamed McKinley School in 1927 when Cold Spring Avenue was renamed to honor President William McKinley. A circa-1950s or 1960s, Contemporary-style addition designed by Lefevre-Wiggins juts northward from the eastern block.

By the 1970s, McKinley was on the list of schools to be closed, and Milwaukee Public Schools closed the building in the late ’70s, selling it in 1985 to V.E. Carter Development, a now-defunct charter school operator. For many years, it operated as the V.E. Carter Human Resource Center until 2009 and Young Minds Preparatory Academy day care center until a fire shut it down in 2013.  In 2014, the Department of Neighborhood Services in the Municipal Building issued a condemnation order, based on a July 31, 2013, inspection. Residents petitioned the city’s Historic Preservation Commission for historic designation.  The city foreclosed on the building in 2016 after V.E. Carter failed to pay property taxes totaling $96,000. In 2017, Gorman and Co., which has redeveloped other local school buildings, sought a zoning change for the former William McKinley School, 2001 W. Vliet St., to be converted into 40 apartments. That project would cost around $9.2 million, according to the Department of City Development.  The apartments would probably be targeted to families with children.  Gorman also could seek state and federal historic preservation tax credits for the development. Those credits help cover part of a project’s exterior costs if it preserves a historic building according to National Park Service standards. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has begun a cleanup of asbestos and other hazardous materials at the building.

Fairview Schoolhouse, Columbia, NJ

OLD SCHOOL OF THE DAY

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Fairview Schoolhouse

Dean Rd.

Columbia, New Jersey

Fairview Schoolhouse is located in the Columbia section of Knowlton Township, Warren County, New Jersey. One Quaker-led reform popular in New Jersey was the octagon schoolhouse, a reaction to the shortcomings of existing school buildings.  Octagon schoolhouses were better lighted because they had no dark corners and the windows were, on average, closer to the student desks, and they were better heated because the heating stove was moved from along a side wall to the middle of the room and bench seating was arranged concentrically around it. At least 25 octagon schools were built in New Jersey between 1800 and 1851 but the only survivor still bearing witness to this brief vogue is the Fairview or Fairplay School (1835) in Knowlton Township, Warren County. The schoolhouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places on August 12, 1977.

Tony Thomas and “Requiem for a Cavalier—A Sound Picture of Errol Flynn”

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Anthony William George “Tony” Thomas (July 31, 1927 – July 8, 1997) was a British-American film historian, author, writer, producer, and radio and television broadcaster, who is onsidered one of Hollywood’s preeminent film historians, having authored over thirty books, including biographies of Errol Flynn among others, produced more than fifty albums of film music, and produced film documentaries for radio and television.  Thomas was born on July 31, 1927, near Portsmouth, England, the son of a bandmaster in the Royal Marines.  At the age of eighteen, he moved to Canada, where he became an announcer for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in 1948.  He went on to become a writer and producer of programs about Hollywood and the film industry for CBC Radio.  He was also the writer and host of the CBS television series As Time Goes By and was a panelist on the quiz show television series Flashback.

In 1966, Thomas moved to Los Angeles and began a new career as a film historian and author.   He wrote books on actors’ careers, such as The Films of Errol Flynn (1969, with Rudy Behlmer and Clifford McCarthy), and many others.  He also wrote books on film genres, such as The Great Adventure Films (1976) and The Cinema of the Sea: A Critical Survey and Filmography, 1925–1986 (1988).  Thomas was one of the founders of The Film Music Society and served on its advisory board for many years.  Considered an expert on film music, he produced albums of classic film scores and wrote the well-received book Music for the Movies (1973), an introduction to important film composers.   From 1979 to 1984, he wrote for the Academy Awards shows, and beginning in the late 1970s, was a segment producer for the Oscars.

As an independent film writer and producer, Thomas produced three PBS documentaries, Hollywood and the American Image, Back to the Stage Door Canteen, and The West That Never Was.  His distinguished voice was heard for years as the announcer on the televised Kennedy Center Honors and American Film Institute Salutes.  Thomas’s later books include Errol Flynn: The Spy Who Never Was (1990).   He died on July 8, 1997 at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California, of complications from pneumonia, at the age of sixty-nine.   He was survived by his son, David, his daughter, Andrea.   He is considered one of Hollywood’s preeminent film historians.

The following work by Tony Thomas is contained in my collection:

Requiem for a Cavalier—A Sound Picture of Errol Flynn, with music from films of Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1968).

Miss Arnold’s School House, Allendale, SC

OLD SCHOOL OF THE DAY

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Miss Arnold’s School House

609 Georgia Ave.

Allendale, SC  29810

This tiny structure was built in 1875 for Miss Augusta Salena Arnold. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Miss Arnold was only about 14, and the war made it impossible for her to pursue her education in a formal way. So she educated herself by reading and emerged with a well-rounded education that was well suited for teaching the young pupils of her time. Most of them came from Barnwell and Hampton counties, as Allendale County was not chartered until 1919.  It was said the she could almost recite from memory any page from her well-worn encyclopedia. Her passion for knowledge and for teaching children inspired her to continue teaching for almost fifty years in the tiny school house for the remainder of the nineteenth century, even after public schools had been established in Allendale. Miss Augusta Salena Arnold died in 1929 and is buried in Allendale’s Swallow Savannah Cemetery in the Searson family lot. She is remembered with great fondness by the people of Allendale. Her school house, which originally sat near United States Highway 301, was restored in recent years and moved around 2006 to the property of the Salkahatchie Arts Council, where serves as a historical exhibit and can be appreciated by visitors.

Daniel Gregory Mason and his “Prelude and Fugue for Piano and Orchestra”

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     Daniel Gregory Mason (November 20, 1873 – December 4, 1953) was an American composer in the German-influenced Boston group of U.S. composers and music critic.  Mason was born on November 20, 1873, in Brookline, Massachusetts. He came from a long line of notable American musicians, including his father Henry Mason, a founder of the Mason and Hamlin Co. piano firm, and his grandfather Lowell Mason, the music publisher and educator. His cousin, John B. Mason, was a popular actor on the American and British stage. Daniel Mason studied under John Knowles Paine at Harvard University from 1891 to 1895, continuing his studies with George Chadwick and Percy Goetschius. He also studied with Arthur Whiting and later wrote a biographical journal article about him.

In 1894 Mason published his Opus 1, a set of keyboard waltzes, but soon after began writing about music as his primary career. He became a lecturer at Columbia University of New York City in 1905, where he would remain until his retirement in 1942, successively being awarded the positions of assistant professor (1910), MacDowell professor (1929), and head of the music department (1929-1940).  After 1907, Mason began devoting significant time to composition, studying with Vincent D’Indy in Paris in 1913, garnering numerous honorary doctorates and winning prizes from the Society for the Publication of American Music and the Juilliard Foundation.   He was elected a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity, the national fraternity for men in music, in 1914 by the Fraternity’s Alpha Chapter at the New England Conservatory in Boston.

Mason’s compositional idiom was thoroughly romantic. His music is conservative in form, influenced strongly by the German Romantic composers.  He deeply admired and respected the Austro-Germanic canon of the nineteenth century, especially Brahms; despite studying under D’Indy, he disliked impressionism and utterly disregarded the modernist musical movements of the 20th century; yet he also employed some devices of late 19th- and early 20th-century French and Russian Modernism. Mason sought to increase respect for American music, sometimes incorporating indigenous and popular motifs (such as popular songs or Negro spirituals) into his scores or evoking them through suggestive titles, though he was not a thorough-going nationalist. He was a fastidious composer who repeatedly revised his scores (the manuscripts of which are now held at Columbia). His works include three symphonies, chamber works, and the overture Chanticleer (1926), for which he is best remembered. He also published several books of essays and teaching guides.  He died on December 4, 1953, in Greenwich, Connecticut.

My collection includes the following work by Daniel Gregory Mason

Prelude and Fugue for Piano and Orchestra, op. 20 (1921).

Huguenot School, Deerpark, NY

OLD SCHOOL OF THE DAY

huguenot-school

Huguenot School

S. Old Grange Rd.

Deerpark, NY

The Huguenot Schoolhouse, also known as District Schoolhouse No. 3, the 1863 Schoolhouse, and the Town of Deerpark Museum, is an old one room school that is located on South Old Grange Road, south of the junction of Old Grange and Big Pond Rds., a short distance from U.S. Rt. 209 in Huguenot, a hamlet of the Town of Deerpark in Orange County, New York. It was built in 1863, and is a large, one-story, Greek Revival style masonry building. It closed as a school in 1961, and currently serves as the Deerpark Museum, a local historic museum.  It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997, the only property in the town of Deerpark so recognized besides the remnants of the Delaware and Hudson Canal.

Peggy Stuart Coolidge and “Pioneer Dances”

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Peggy Stuart Coolidge (July 19, 1913 –May 7, 1981) was an American composer and conductor, who was one of the first female American composers to have a recording devoted to her symphonic works, and the first American composer (male or female) to have a concert devoted entirely to her works presented in the Soviet Union.  Coolidge was born Peggy Stuart on July 19, 1913, in Swampscott, Massachusetts.  She started piano lessons at age five, wrote her first song at age nine, and later studied with Heinrich Gebhard (a pupil of Teodor Leszetycki and teacher of Leonard Bernstein), privately with Raymond Robinson, and at the New England Conservatory with Quincy Porter. She originally planned to be a concert pianist, and her early mature works are all for piano. In 1937, she wrote a ballet Cracked Ice, for the Boston Skating Club. This was the first ballet ever composed specifically for ice skating. The work was scored, at her request, by Ferde Grofé, who conducted it at Madison Square Garden; it was also played by the Boston Pops Orchestra under Arthur Fiedler. Stuart then studied orchestration. Her orchestral scores Night Froth, The Island (sinfonietta), Smoke Drift and Twilight City (piano and orchestra) were all premiered by the Boston Pops.

During World War II, Miss Stuart was involved in a housing bureau for servicemen stationed in Boston, and often played for hospitalized soldiers. She conducted an all-woman ensemble, and was pianist and assistant conductor of the Women’s Symphony of Boston. She founded the Junior League Orchestra in Boston and conducted it for seven years.  After the war she moved to New York City, and started a research project in music psychotherapy at a mental institution.  In 1952 she married Joseph R. Coolidge, a freelance writer from Boston. Together they wrote a number of children’s stories with Peggy’s background music, and other songs in traditional folk style. She wrote her only film score for The Silken Affair, starring David Niven, in 1956. She wrote incidental music for a New York production of Seán O’Casey’s Red Roses for Me, and the music was later reworked as the orchestral suite Dublin Town. In 1963 and 1965, she was invited to Vienna, Budapest, Warsaw and Moscow for performances of her works, also sometimes appearing as piano soloist. She and Joseph met Aram Khachaturian and his wife Nina Makarova, becoming close friends. A ballet An Evening in New York was written on her return to the United States.

Rhapsody for Harp and Orchestra was written in 1965. In 1967 Coolidge’s works were played in Tokyo in a concert of American music, and she was received by Emperor Hirohito’s brother, Prince Mikasa. In 1969 Peggy wrote Spirituals in Sunshine and Shadow, an orchestral work inspired by African-American blues and spirituals.  In 1970 she wrote Pioneer Dances, inspired by the 19th century settlers of America. This was the only American work played at a 1975 Carnegie Hall concert to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Norwegian immigration to the United States.  In 1970 also, at Khachaturian’s instigation, she became the first American composer to have a concert devoted entirely to her works presented in the Soviet Union. She was awarded the medal of the Soviet Union of Workers in Art on this occasion.  Her name started to become better known, and she was featured in concerts in Western Europe and East Berlin.

In 1971, at the request of the World Wildlife Fund, Coolidge composed a three-minute theme to complement the fund’s visual symbol of a giant panda on a green field. The theme became the basis for a ten-minute orchestral work with narration written by her husband, called Blue Planet. That year also saw New England Autumn, a two-movement suite for chamber orchestra.  In 1975, the Westphalian Symphony Orchestra conducted by Siegfried Landau recorded one of the first LPs ever devoted to the works of a single American female composer. The works were the Rhapsody for Harp and Orchestra (with soloist Aristid von Würtzler), New England Autumn, Pioneer Dances, and Spirituals in Sunshine and Shadow.  She later wrote a song cycle to words by American poets, to honour the art patron Isabella Stewart Gardner, her husband’s great-aunt. American Mosaic was written in 1978 on a commission by the American Wind Symphony.  Coolidge died of cancer on May 7, 1981, in Cushing, Maine.  Her musical scores are held at the Harvard University Library.  Many of her premieres took place in Europe, and she is better known overseas than she is in her own country.  Although she does not quote particular melodies, her compositional style is accessible and influenced by American folk and popular idioms; her success at creating a distinctly American musical voice places her among such figures as Charles Ives, Aaron Copland, and George Gershwin.

The following works by Peggy Stuart Coolidge are contained in my collection:

The Blue Planet (1975).

New England Autumn, suite for chamber orchestra (1971).

Pioneer Dances (1970).

Rhapsody for Harp and Orchestra (1965).

Spirituals in Sunshine and Shadow (1969-1970).