Archive for Thursday, January 18, 1996


January 18, 1996


Cordley School, which turns 80 years old this month, is planning a celebration.

Although Cordley is not the school district's oldest established school, the original portion of the building is the oldest structure still being used as a school.

Cordley, 1837 Vt., is throwing a birthday bash open house from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

In addition to the usual cake and ice cream found at most birthday parties, tours will be conducted, memorabilia will be displayed and Central Junior High School students who attended Cordley will provide face-painting and games for children. Commemorative T-shirts, mugs, bookmarks and key chains will be available, according to Julie Barnard, a Cordley parent who is organizing the event.

Cordley School was constructed in 1915, at the same time as two other elementary schools: Lincoln School, 708 Elm, which now is Ballard Community Center, and McAllaster, 1428 R.I., which was torn down in 1970. The three schools had basically the same floor plans.

Cordley, built for about $15,000, was named for the Rev. Richard Cordley, a Plymouth Congregational Church minister, who also served on the Lawrence school board.

Rose Smith remembers the four years she attended school at Cordley. She was a first-grader in 1916. At that time, Cordley only housed first through fourth grades. Her siblings -- two brothers and a sister -- also attended Cordley. They played on the same playground that children now use.

"We walked," said Smith, 87. "There weren't any school buses at that time."

An upper floor was added to Cordley in 1928, which made room for fifth- and sixth-graders at the school. By 1951, an addition had been constructed that included 10 classrooms and a gymnasium.

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