When the reservoir came to town, it pushed a huge portion of West Boylston’s residents and businesses elsewhere. Also affected by the floodwaters were the town’s numerous schools. Today, West Boylston has one elementary school. In the late 1890s, there were over ten primary schools located across town. Each mill district had its own schoolhouse, which was easier for transportation and provided a better student to teacher ratio.
As construction on the reservoir continued, more and more schools began to close down. The list of schools below also marks when a school closed. In 1900, Lower Factory Primary closed. That school taught children of mill workers and people who lived near the factories. Three more schools closed the next year. The year after that, 1902, two more schools closed, leaving the town with two of its original three intermediate schools and six of its original eleven grammar and primary schools.
As townspeople lost their homes and sought work in nearby towns, the remaining residents were left with fewer schools. In 1898, there were 511 students enrolled in West Boylston schools. By 1903, there were only 243, a true testament to just how rapidly the town’s population declined as the reservoir swamped its industrial and political center.
A full list of the primary schools and schoolhouses is posted below, as well as a photograph of the Northeast Intermediate School.