Pleasant Valley Public Schools

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History of Our Schools

Lyman Hall High School- built in 1957

The Lyman Hall High School was named for Mr. Lyman Hall, a signer of the Declaration of Independence for the colony of Georgia. Mr. Hall was born in Wallingford in 1724 and went to Yale. He became a minister and shortly thereafter a doctor. He moved to South Carolina in 1752 and later on to Sunbury in St. John parish in Georgia. He was both a successful doctor and planter. Mr. Hall was a political activist prior to the American Revolution and more than slightly responsible for dragging Georgia into the Continental Congress. He initially represented the parish of St. John in the Congress and later in 1776, the colony of Georgia. In 1782, he became Governor of Georgia & was responsible for setting aside a land grant for what became the University of Georgia, the first land grant college in the United States.

Photo from: http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/signers/hall....

Dag Hammarskjold Middle School - built in 1961

The middle school was named for Dag Hammarskjold, the 2nd Secretary General (1953-1961) of the United Nations, who died in a plane crash in Sept. 1961 in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) on his way to negotiate a cease fire between the UN troops in the Congo & the Katangese rebels.
His whole adult life was given to public service to the Swedish monarchy, having followed in the footsteps of his father who had been Prime Minister during WWI.
The timing of his death and the nearing completion of the school served as the reason for the school being named in his honor. This did cause a bit of a stir in Wallingford, as it was the only school to ever be named for a non-Wallingford individual.

Photo from: http://www.thenation.com/article/176085/dag-hammar...

Evarts C. Stevens Elementary School- named 1961

The Evarts C. Stevens was a long serving member of the Board of Education and a Director of the Dime Savings Bank, the only local savings bank. Primarily, he was a senior manager for years before becoming President of the International Silver Company (one of the largest silverware & sliver plate companies in the world) in the 1930s & 1940s. In this manner, he followed in his father’s footsteps, both as a businessman and as a public servant.
This building was utilized as a K-6 school for over 40 years.

Pond Hill Elementary School- built in 1968

Until Yalesville was entirely remodeled, Pond Hill was the newest elementary school in the system for almost 30 years.

The first Pond Hill School was a one room school, which served the south central part of town for over 100 years. This was one of the “Farm District Schools,” of which there were seven, plus two schools in the center of town, in addition to Yalesville, in the northwest. The Pond Hill section of town was called such because of a pond, which had been on a hill across from the John Barker House on today’s Clintonville Rd.

Rock Hill Elementary School- built in 1959

Rock Hill, along with Highland, were “California-style” schools, originally built as individual modules with totally open walkways between the modules.

Aptly named, it was built on a side hill with rock ledge outcroppings.

Moses Y. Beach Elementary School- built in 1950-51

The original 3 acre site for Moses Y. Beach School was given to the town in 1868 by Moses Yale Beach while he was on his death bed, a month before he died. It was to be used for constructing a high school.
Wallingford High School was built in 1871 as a 4 story, mansard roofed structure and housed all twelve grades, with the high school being on the 4th floor.
This current school replaced a one room school, which had one teacher for 120 students in grades 1-12.
On Aug. 9, 1878, a deadly tornado struck Wallingford, killing 30 people, while destroying much property including the top 2 ½ floors of the school. There were no injuries or deaths at the school.
It was rebuilt as a 3 story school, which lasted until 1951, when it was replaced by the current building.

Today’s school is named for Moses Y. Beach, a Wallingford native born near Sheehan High School who became very wealthy while owning the New York Sun, and who is credited with founding the Associated Press. In his retirement, he was an active supporter of education in town as evidenced by his giving many awards and books to students for meritorious scholarship and good comportment. When he returned to town in the early 1850s, he paid to have a Liberty Pole erected in middle of the Main & Center intersection, and later spearheaded raising over $100,000 to aid the Union cause in the Civil War.

Photo from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moses_Yale_Beach

Yalesville Elementary School- rebuilt mid-1990s

Yalesville is located in an area of town originally known as Tylers Mills. The Tyler family ran the Town’s Corn Mill and a fulling mill on the site of the present-day Westbrook Lobster restaurant for over 100 years until 1810, when Charles Yale purchased it from Samuel Tyler’s estate. The northwest section of town has since been known as Yalesville.

The current building is at least the third school on this site. An earlier one, was built 1873 and “affectionately” called the Old Green Jail by some of its students because its exterior walls were green. This started as a two classroom school, while its second floor was used for meetings and other activities until more classrooms were needed. The school was unusual in that it used a hot-air furnace for heating the whole building. This building lasted until 1948-49 when the first brick structure was erected on the site.

The first school directly in Yalesville was built 1800 across the street where the Yalesville branch of the Public Library is today. This was a one room school, and was considered as one of the Farm District Schools.

Highland Elementary School- built 1959

Highland School, along with Rock Hill, were “California-style” schools, originally built as individual modules with totally open walkways between the modules.

This one draws its name from high land overlooking both Sheehan High School and Moran Middle School.

Mark T. Sheehan High School- built in 1971

The construction of the second high school on land of the former McNally farm brought about a friendly rivalry between the east and west sides of Wallingford.

This school is named for Dr. Mark T. Sheehan, a medical officer in WWI, who practiced medicine in Wallingford for over 50 years. He had the reputation of never denying medical attention to anyone in need, whether they could afford to pay him or not.

Dr. Sheehan was the Town Health Officer for several decades, and was truly a wonderful gentleman. Too many times people are honored posthumously, but Dr. Sheehan attended the dedication and was humbled by the honor.

James H. Moran Middle School- built in 1961

The James H. Moran Middle School was built at the same time as Dag Hammarskjold. The west side middle school was named for James H. Moran, a longtime school board member, who was also very active in the Chamber of Commerce, while owning Moran’s Pharmacy for a half century.

Parker Farms Elementary School- built in 1953

This is at least the second school of its name, the first being one of the Farm District Schools, which had its roots, perhaps, as early as the late 18th century. The school carries the name of the road on which it is located.
Worthington’s house, which had been the Parker Farms School for over 100 years until the mid 1920s.

Cook Hill Elementary School- built in 1964

Cook Hill is the next to last of the elementary schools to be built during the major period of population growth of the 1950s & 1960s, which saw Wallingford go from a sleepy small town of 16,900 in 1950 to about 35,000 in 1970.

The original, one room Cook Hill School was down Schoolhouse Road at the corner of Cook Hill Road. It was the last of the one room schools to be utilized, lasting until 1935.

Why "Cook Hill? "Many acres of the area around Cook Hill Rd. had been in the Cook family back to the founding of the town in 1670, when Samuel Cook was the first of his line on the west side of Wallingford.

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