MOUNT VERNON — East Elementary School is celebrating 110 years of educating some of the best and brightest elementary students in Mount Vernon. The school celebrated on their 110th day of school for the 2017-2018 school year, Feb. 22, with an assembly and cupcakes for every student.
East elementary principal Karly Watterson provided some historical information about East elementary school, which is also available on the school’s website. According to Watterson, East School was formerly called the First Ward School. The original school was built in 1851. It was a two-story building with a wooden fence, a hitching post and eventually separate privies for boys and girls. Until the 1880’s the school housed a primary class on the lower floor and a secondary on the upper floor. The latter was really an upper primary.
Watterson’s historical context continued, in 1881 a new First Ward School opened on East’s current site. This school was substantially rebuilt and opened as the “new” First Ward School in 1908. It had eight classrooms for grades 1-8. A fire in the following year almost completely destroyed the school. It was rebuilt and it reopened in 1910.