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East Orange Class of 1897

This photo was recently acquired by the Historical Society. It was identified as the graduating class of 1897 by clues in the photo, but we do not yet know the names of anyone pictured. The front of the building can be seen in the full photo, but remember, it is of the building that was built in 1890, not the one many people today remember as East Orange High School.

To see an enlarged version of this photo, click HERE.

The original school, built in 1890 and first occupied in 1891, is shown below. It was built facing Winans Street.

The above building was torn down in 1953 to make room for an addition to the 1911 school shown below. The "new" building was attached to the old and was built facing Walnut Street.

These buildings are all gone now, and we are waiting to see the buildings that are even now rising on the old foundations.

This shows East Orange High School from the south side looking north as of November 12, 2005 just before demolition began. This view is from the parking lot that was behind a row of stores on Main Street. Notice the form of the 1890 building still incorporated into the center of the complex. The new portion at the eastern rear housed a gymnasium and swimming pool.

At the groundbreaking ceremony held in November of 2005, Cicely Tyson was guest of honor at the school complex to be named after her. L-R: East Orange School Superintendent, Cicely Tyson, Mayor Robert Bowser.

Representing the Historical Society of East Orange, Inc. were Lucius Bowser and Goldie Burbage.

This satelite map view from 2005 shows the beginning of the demolition process. Winans Street will consist of two dead end streets with the school complex inbetween, approximately where the bridge is in the diagram below.


From the same southern viewpoint, this is the plan for the new Cicely Tyson School of Performing and Fine Arts Community School to be built in place of the old East Orange High School. On the right of the bridge is the Elementary School portion, merging populations of students from Washington and Whitney Houston (Franklin) schools. The bridge leads into the theater, which connects to the high school. This will serve the high school students from the former Cicely Tyson School of Performing and Fine Arts (V.L.D.).

All construction begins with an empty lot. This is the space where East Orange High School was. The photo is from December 6, 2006. The photo was taken from the elevated railroad station looking north towards Williams Street in the background.

The satellite map from early 2007 shows nothing left standing and construction just beginning.

From the same view looking north down the former Winans Street, we can see the beginning of construction of the new Cicely Tyson complex. In the background are the trees of Rowley Park on the other side of William Street.

This shows the construction completed as of October 9, 2008. The view is of the Elementary School side as seen from the railroad station, looking north.

This view is to the west (left) of the previous view, and shows the other side of the complex, with the central theater building and the high school on the far left.

Fall, 2009 - The New Cicely Tyson Community School of Performing and Fine Arts - ready to open for the 2009 school year. Click HERE to see the dedication ceremony held on October 24, 2009.

From the Google Map as seen in March 2011. The construction is complete, the school has been open to students since 2009. Notice that the planned bridge between elementary school and middle/ high school was never built, but as you examine the buildings from the ground level, you can see that the bridge plan explains the strange architecture in both buildings, where the bridge would have been connected if it had been completed.

If you have any historic school (or other) photos you would like to see included in our museum, please contact Jim Gerrish at [email protected]

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