History of Oceanside Schools

The Oceanside School System


An excellent history of the Oceanside Schools was published in mimeograph form in 1949. Fifty Years in Union Free School District #11 was prepared by Mr. George V. Lascher, then Director of the Oceanside Adult School. Some of the material on the schools presented here comes from that publication.

The Early History

During the Revolution and for a half century afterward the school in this area was not a “public” school as we know it today. It was financed through tuitition charges and public contributions were considered to be “welfare.” We know very little about that school except that it served as the educational facility for a larger areas than what is presently the Oceanside School District.

In 1812, the New York State Legislature called for the election of a Commissioner and an Inspector of Schools for each recognized town. These officials, in turn, would designate local school districts. By 1814, school districts had been organized within the Town of Hempstead.

The first authentic record of the public school is found in the March 1, 1842 issue of the Long Island Farmer.  Among the listings of the days and times when the Superintendent of Schools would visit the various schools in the townships of Queens County is the information, “Hempstead District #11 at Christian Hook on Thursday, April 7th at 10:00 AM”. It is known that Bethel (Baldwin) was designated School District #10 in 1832 and Near Rockaway Distict #19 in 1842. It is, therefore, safe to estimate that Christian Hook became School District #11 in 1833.

The school that was “dusted and polished” for that official visiit on April 7, 1842 stood on what is now the northwest corner of Oceanside and Foxhurst Roads. It had only one room and an attic. In 1860 more space was needed and the attic was finished so it could be used for the infant class. It is interesteting that one hundred years ago there was improvisation to provide space for the “growing school enrollment.”

By 1880, overcrowding was again acute and a larger building was needed. It apparently was thought that the original site was too samll (the school stood at the very edge of the road), so the land where Central School (School #1) now stands was acquired. A new three room structure was put up on what is now the front lawn of that school. Perhaps it should be added that this site did not include the land behind the present building, but only extended to the back wall just south of Merrick Road on what is now Washington Avenue, where it still serves as a private dwelling.

Fourteen years later, the three room building had become so inadequate that the construction of a new “modern” school was authorized. The outmoded building was sold to Mr. Phillip Martini, the sculptor. It was moved to a location near where the Terrell Avenue School is now and it served as Mr. Martini’s studio. There , many of his famous works were designed.

Stay tuned for more history…..

*Photo: Oceanside’s First School – 1842

Related Links