Hunter-Tannersville: The school on the hill

Photo by Dede Terns-Thorpe One of the many senior banners.

Due to the Covid-19, many businesses have had to shut their doors or work on a limited basis. Hunter Tannersville Central School must be dealing with that same challenge. This frightening pandemic must be as new to the schools as it is to our businesses. It can’t be easy, juggling the safety of the kids and staff, yet still providing the graduating seniors with a graduation ceremony that the students deserve so well. This school year has been a tough one for the students, especially the seniors, and yet I’m sure they appreciate all that teachers and other staff are doing for them.

These are the same students that have worked hard collecting money for their “senior trip,” a trip most of us took for granted and remembered for a lifetime. These same seniors donated numerous hours of volunteer service to their communities throughout high school.

Traffic through Tannersville cannot help but admire the HTC banners (displayed from utility poles), giving recognition to the 2020 graduating seniors. Thanks to Ashley Cameron (teacher & class advisor) for the work that went into that project, they turned out great.

Our schools have played a considerable role in our town throughout history, so I thought I’d include a few articles about our different schools many years ago. Also, remember, the Town of Hunter had various schools in Platte Clove, Elka Park, Lanesville, Edgewood, and the schools mentioned below.

It’s important to remember that it was the past teachers and board members that were the backbone of the excellent education our students are still receiving today.

In the June 1881 Windham Journal, “the new schoolhouse in Hunter is to be set on a hill so that it may shed its intellectual light on all. The hill is on the property of H.E. Biddell, the only man, so far, found public-spirited enough even to sell a lot of ground for school purposes.

In September of 1891, the paper said, “Tannersville was to have a $1,500 schoolhouse with both senior and junior grades. It was to be completed by the fall.” (I believe this school was just west of the Fromer Farm Market on Main Street).

August 1895’s paper said it cost $1,787 to conduct the Hunter Free School. The appropriated funding for the 1896 school year was then increased by $213!

Historian Justine Hommel wrote about the Haines Falls School; “the first schoolhouse in Haines Falls was a small log cabin on the south (east) side of O’Hara Road. The desks were built around the room next to the walls with a stove in the center. A water pail, filled from the nearby creek, supplied drinking water. This log cabin (and community meeting room) burned in the late 1800s, and a new four-room school was built directly across O’Hara Rd.” (O’Hara Rd. was known as Dixon Hill before being named O’Hara). Justine told how multiple classes were united in each room with surprising success.

The school had radiators in the hallways and the rooms. Students (no school buses then) walked to and from school, and these radiators often dried wet mittens and boots.

The school had a bell in the belfry that rang out at 8:45 and again at 9:00, the start of the day. “Disciplinary action was assured anyone who arrived after the “second bell.”

I hope you enjoyed reading about the high school, built on a hill, still shedding its intellectual light on it all!

You may reach me with any comments or concerns at 518-589-4130, or email

Johnson Newspapers 7.1


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