Letter to Editor: School days remembered

To the Editor:

In the news story by Becky Pritchard in the April 18 edition of the Islander regarding the need for remodeling or replacement of the Conners Emerson School in Bar Harbor, I would like to correct something.

Principal Barbara Neilly was quoted as saying that the Conners building was 85 years old. I was in the first kindergarten class at that school when it was opened in February 1953, after the Heald School was damaged by a collapse and rendered unsafe, then condemned in 1951.

I believe Ms. Ethel I. Conners was principal of the Heald School and Mr. Orville Guptill was the school superintendent at the time. Mr. Guptill’s wife ran a sub-primary school on Federal Street for many years.

After the condemnation, work commenced on the present Conners building and in the meantime, classes were held all over town.

My kindergarten class was in the basement of the YWCA where the Bar Harbor Food Pantry is now located. Some students were in church parish halls and basements, others at the Masonic Hall.

By my math, that makes it just over 66 years since the school opened. The Quonset-hut-styled all purpose room was even cited in the Encyclopedia Americana as an example of excellent modern architecture!

Not that it doesn’t need repairs or replacement, just that Ms. Neilly’s dating of the school is almost two decades off.

Martha B. Higgins


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