Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Slater Avenue School in 1898

[To Kleiner 16 November 1916]"It was in 1898 that I first attempted to attend school. I entered the highest grade of prmary school ... it was in dear old Slater Avenue ... that I made my only shildhood friendship - that with Chester and Harold Munroe..."

In the "Providence City Documents of 1897, Vol. 1" there are notes about Lovecraft's school.

For several years past the buildings of the city have been neglected and in many instances were suffering from such neglect Early in the year a careful inspection of all buildings was made their defects noted and reported to the Committee on City Property who from time to time gave orders for the renovation of the property But it was not until the summer vacation that any large amount of work was made possible The work of renovating and repairing the several buildings was commenced early in July and was completed during the last week of the school vacation thus enabling the schools to commence the first day of the fall term ...

... Curbing has been set and concrete sidewalks built on the street sides at the Slater avenue school estate the yard graded slopes concreted and fences lowered on the University avenue side. ... The following named school buildings were painted outside viz ... Slater avenue State street ...

Curbing around school estate Slater avenue $148. 98

{Scholls in every era had .. um ... imteresting things happen. Read on:} In the first annual report of the work of the department the attention of the City Council was called to the existing conditions in the public school buildings Complaints were frequently made by teachers of nauseating odors which permeated the atmosphere in the school rooms These complaints came from buildings where dry closets were used and where the ducts being connected with the school rooms made it possible for the fecal odor to be carried into the the rooms under certain conditions

The matter was taken up by the School Committee and the Committee on Hygiene was directed to investigate 1 visited some of the buildings where the Smead system was used at the request of this committee and in a report presented last April the chairman of the committee stated that owing to the close connection of the sanitary system with the ventilation as it exists in the Smead system there is a possibility of a back draft carrying the fecal odor into the school rooms

At the request of the Superintendent of Public Buildings I looked over the needs in some of the buildings and suggested changes and during the vacation season the Mott Automatic Washout Closets were substituted for the Smead system ... and new deep seal non siphon traps replaced the old S traps in the following school buildings ... Slater avenue ,,,

J Frank Read & Co
sewer {contract}
Slater avenue school estate

The City of Providence is daily enforcing the law requiring owners of property to connect their estates with sewers and remove the unsightly outhouses and yet in some of the school yards outhouses are to be found This question of school sanitation was fully considered by a competent committee appointed by Mayor Quincy in Boston last year After a thorough investigation the committee reported that without doubt the loudest complaints proceed from the condition of the detached privies and urinals which once the best things which could be afforded are inheritances of the past and should be condemned Attempts have been made.


And there you have what Lovecraft experienced on his first trip to public school.

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