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MEMORIES OF CORCORAN SCHOOL - By David Cooper
I also attended elementary school at Corcoran and then to the Major McRell school which is now a parking lot between the Baptist and Congregational churches. Then I went to the eight grade at the Pleasant Street school before going to the Clinton High School which is now the Police Station.
Many things have changed over the years like the removal of the black bridge over the Nashua River. My family lived on Nashua Street for over fifty years. I often wonder where the old photos of the bridge ended up. I worked for Walter's Photo Lab located on Mechanic Street during High School in the early fifties. The Korean War started and ended while I was in High School back then. Most people from those days somehow always returned to this old town.
Many stayed and never ventured further than Worcester, Leominster or Fitchburg. I've been to Europe, Asia and Central America while most of my family hardly ever even left town. Looking back, times were tough during the war and before we recovered from that the Korean Conflict started and it was off to Nam where many Clintonians gave their lives at a very young age. Clinton reeks of many veterans in all of these events. The town's veterans contributed immensely and made it's mark in the annals of military history. A town of proud heritage indeed.
Many people don't even know about businesses on Mechanic Street like Hugh's Tackle Shop, Moran's Drug Store, The Italian American Club, Shorty's Bar and Walter's Photo Lab. Going down on High Street there was Clinton Hardware, J.J.Newberries, Woolworth's, The Clinton Trust Bank, The White Elephant Diner, The Sugar Bowl, Hamilton Hardware, Brockleman Brothers Market and the Maybarton Bowling Alleys not to mention Turini's Diner and a whole lot of other businesses like Gould's Mens Store and Goddard's News Stand.
The town thrived on jobs from such factories like The Colonial Press, Van Brode's, Bigelow Carpet Mill, Buck's Furniture, Kirk Moulding and several plastic factories long since gone. I can't even remember half the names of so many others. Getting a job was as easy as buying a loaf of bread. The town was booming back then but all of a sudden all of that changed and many businesses moved south for tax breaks.
Somehow Clinton survived from it's wounds of lost jobs and diminishing tax base. Activities for the younger people evaporated and has never been revived. Only school sports and activities remain for the young. Seems the town ought to provide more than bars and bingo after graduation. As an outsider now, maybe I've missed something but I don't think so. Perhaps your website could provide places within a decent driving distance where people of all ages could find some type of entertainment to fill this void. This is one of my goals.
MEMORIES OF CLINTON - By Kevin Spear
I was looking through the site and came across a section on the walking tour of Clinton. In this section you have a piece about the Corcoran School. I thought I would share a brief memory or two with you to offer a bit of knowledge of the place.
I was born in 1970 and grew up on the Acre on Wilson Street. While living there I was obligated to go to school at the age of five which would have been 1975. I began my schooling at the now demolished Dame School, which was located on Burditt Hill where I believe John Street and Park Street intersect. Now it is covered with homes owned by Officer Decesare and his family and others who bought the property. I attended Dame school not only for Kindergarten but also for Second and Third grade.
Between kindergarten and second grade I was shipped off to Corcoran School for first grade for the 1976-77 school year with Mrs.. Claire Burzenski as my first grade teacher. I remember having gym class outside with Mr. Shilalie in the good weather, and having recess outside on Walnut Street. The teachers would bring out four large yellow wooden horses and would block off Walnut Street from the intersection of Walnut and Church Streets to the Church parking lot next door. When we had poor weather, we would have recess upstairs in the old attic of the school. In the attic you could hear the bats and the pigeons squeaking and cooing only feet from our heads.
When President Carter visited in March of 1977, we had prime viewing seats as his motorcade entered from Church Street heading towards the Thompson's home just up the hill. All of us plastered against the windows to see the limo driving up the hill, with secret service agents running alongside the vehicle. A crowd was gathered along the park and on the steps of the town hall, and Mrs. B had all she could do to calm us down as we cheered and yelled as he drove by.
I remember the smell of mimeograph ink as it wafted through the hallways there, the creak of certain boards in the hallway, the wide worn steps going from the first floor to the second and third floors, and many memories of old friends now moved on. 1977 ended my schooling at Corcoran, ended my year of recess with bats and pigeons and the time spent there was not only active, but helped me fall in love with old buildings and architecture. It was a beautiful building. Still is.
The reason I shared this bit of information is only because in the brief section on the school it says that the school was closed in 1975. As you can clearly see, I wouldn't have had such experiences had it been, and I certainly hope you won't take my correction with anything more than a sharing of time. Great job on the site, and I hope to continue to see more memorable information on the beautiful town I grew up in and still love.