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Then & Now

Photo courtesy of Kearny Public Library

Photo courtesy of Kearny Public Library

 

Photo by Karen Zautyk

Photo by Karen Zautyk

The building in the old photo looks like it belongs on some Ivy League campus like Harvard or Princeton, doesn’t it? It has the requisite ivy, lots of it, and classic architecture, including the elegant arched entrance. The structure did, indeed, house classrooms — for Kearny schoolkids. This is the original Roosevelt School at Kearny and Stewart Aves. Built in 1894, it opened as Public School No. 5. As the population in the northern end of town grew, an addition was constructed in 1905, increasing the number of classrooms to 14. It was renamed ‘Roosevelt’ in 1919 (which puts an end to any debate over whether it was named for Teddy or Franklin Delano). A 1933 article in The Observer noted:

‘Three stories in height, its red brick walls have for years been covered with an abundant growth of ivy, giving them a distinctive permanence.’ Not that permanent, though. The original building was demolished in 1936, replaced on the same site by the current school, which today serves 450 pupils in Grades pre-K through 6. And there’s not an ivy leaf in sight.

– Karen Zautyk

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