From the Historian: District schools in Macedon
If you attended Palmyra-Macedon during the 1960s to 1990s, you might have had the pleasure of being a student in one of Mr. Dave Taber’s classes. He taught seventh grade social studies at Pal-Mac.
For over 30 years, he shared his love of history with students. His career began at Pal-Mac in the fall of 1960 and retired in June of 1994. Although he no longer teaches seventh graders, he teaches those of us at the Macedon Historical Society. He also holds the office of vice president.
On Sept. 14, Taber and former Principal Carmen Pagano will be sharing their memories at our monthly Community Chat. Beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Macedon Academy we will have a chat about our local schools. The Academy is located at 1185 Macedon Center Road. Check out our website at macedonhistoricalsociety.org for more information.
Each year, Mr. Taber’s seventh graders were required to research and write a local history essay. Students were required to interview local residents in order to gain firsthand information about a topic. Often, the essays included pictures and drawings.
One of the most common topics was that of district schools. Prior to the establishment of the centralized Palmyra-Macedon School District in 1950, children attended “district” schools through eighth grade. There were 16 district schools in Macedon, within walking distance to residents. In fact, students would often go home for lunch. Many of these buildings are still standing as private residences. Check out the Wayne Historians website for more information on these buildings and other topics (waynehistorians.org/Places/index.php).
The pictured map is a portion of the 1905 map of Macedon. It shows Macedon Center with Macedon Center Road running east to west. Notice the District 9 School just above the words “Macedon Center.” It is located on Canandaigua Road. You will also notice No. 10 School further west by the Ramsdell estate and the Packard farm. For orientation purposes, the site labeled B.S. Durfee is the current site of Alpco. If you are curious, the T12 stands for Tract 12 of Range 3 of the Phelps-Gorham purchase. Surveys divided the tract into lots. Each lot was numbered. You’ll notice District No. 9 in Lot 56 and No. 10 in lot 58.
When asked why he never returned his student’s papers, Taber said that “they would probably just throw them away!” Well, as a historian and member of the Macedon Historical Society, I am so glad that Mr. Taber never returned these papers to his students. Our collection of student essays provides an insight into early Macedon with firsthand accounts of people, places and things that happened in Macedon. It is also an interesting look at academic requirements of previous generations. Almost every paper is written in cursive, some typed. Check out the collection currently on display at the Macedon Academy.
Linda Braun is the Macedon town historian and secretary of the Macedon Historical Society.