There's No School Like An Old School



After one of the first planning meetings for the place, Walter T. Shirley who donated the land, quipped to one of his aides ,

" Hey Bill.....Who is this William Floyd character? ... I never heard of him"


(with a wee touch of jaundice)


( color post card courtesy of Lucy Fuchs Venz )

Although she never spent a day in a single class room, my big sister Gerri graduated with her 8th grade class out of it, in June of 1952 while they were still finishing up with the painting and detailing. 60 some odd days later, yours truly walked into his Kindergarten class on opening day. along with my big brother Butch who started in 3rd grade here. That's my classroom window on the lower right hand side wall. Except for my three years at the Annex from Sept '53 - June '56, this was my elementary & high school home from Sept '56 on for another 7 long years.


Wanna Win A Bar Room Bet ....
or Wow Them At The PTA Meeting ?

Ask somebody to name the location and the approximate date of the first school in the Mastic - Shirley area. Most will say this one pictured above was. Some sharper knives in the drawer, will claim it to be the one near the twin ponds .. WRONG.... it was built in 1925. Even sharper scholars might counter with "the first real building designed to be a school house, that the good citizens of the area spent almost $800.00 dollars on to build, was located in Moriches and erected in 1884 . But that structure too, was located in Moriches not in Mastic. It replaced an old home they started using for a school way back in 1833.That first real 1884 school house building BTW is now sitting on Canal Street in Center Moriches at the head of Senix Canal.

Although these buildings are in School District # 32, which was established in 1833 and for some reason is the 29th School District in the Town of Brookhaven ( fuzzy math ? ) keep in mind the question is : Where was the first school located in the Mastic - Shirley area and when was it instilling wisdom upon the youths of the populace ?

Would you believe it was during the 1850's and was located on the south side of Neighborhood Road, in what is now known (since 1926) as Mastic Beach. The original location was just about where Monroe Drive or the last leg of Knapp Road, ( now cut off at Locust Dr, ) crossed Neigborhood Rd. The building was later moved about a 1/2 mile west onto "Pattersquas" the Robert Estate. There it caught fire and burned down. After that school was then taught in various individual houses in the area.

How do I know this ? I'm glad you asked me that pilgrim . I first read about the school in the Lawrence Estate Journals, that were compiled by the Lawrence family from 1898 - 1910, that I am now pouring over . I guess the school was mainly for the Lawrence-Nicholl, Floyd, Robert and Smith families & the kids of folks who worked on the estate / farms as that is what they were then.

Lawrence Estate Journal Dec 1903

Mr. Hern ? was the pedagogue ( Teacher ) of some Thirty Young Souls of The Four Families

Old Charles Smith may or may not have recalled the exact spot in 1903, But the school was recalled in the memoirs of Charles Ross, who was the Estate Superintendant for three generations of the Floyds : John G. from 1876-80, John G. Jr 1880's - 1902 and William 1900 - 1911. Charles H. Ross born in 1849 & who is pictured here and his son Clarence covered about 80 years between them in being "men of all work" for the Floyds, Lawrences and Danas. Here from March 1913 are Charles' own words about the school he himself probably went to.

" About sixty years ago, there was a school house on Neighborhood Road, about 60 rods (1/4 mile) to the east of Miss Emma Lawrence's gate, on the south side of the road. It was moved to the Robert's and then burnt down. Then the teachers had to teach in some of the houses. I can remember when there were great pines where Mr. Dana's house now stands (Moss Lots which was built in 1881) and all into the west and all up our west road were large pines on each side of the road. They used to call it Mrs. Floyd's sun shade ........ "

Now if you are new here or you just want to know more about the early days of William Floyd School and Union Free School District #32


"Lux et Veritas" - Light & Truth