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Frederick Harris was born in Springfield on September 26, 1852. His father was the President of the Third National Bank in Springfield and Frederick went on to also work at the bank. In 1871, he started as a messenger and quickly rose to the position of 1st cashier. By 1910, he became Bank Vice President for a year before becoming the banks 4th President, succeeding his father. He was bank President for 1 year before taking on the Chairman of the Board position which he held until 1915. During 7 years of that time, he was also a member of the Springfield School Committee and served as the Alderman for Ward 6. He died of a heart attack at the age of 73 in 1926.

Third National Bank of Springfield

Fredrick Harris

Frederick Harris School actually started as Whittum Avenue School, a portable school, complete with pit toilets in the back of the classrooms. In 1927, the first building was constructed and renamed Frederick Harris School. It was completed and dedicated on May 20th, 1927.

Whittm Avenue School

1st Day of School Whittum Avenue School (Pre 1927)

In 1928, its first year, there were 307 students.

First Day of School 1928

Here is a picture of the school after a snowstorm in the 1940's. As you can see, there were no houses on this side of the block. Interestingly, there weren't snow days back then. All students lived within walking distance and were expected to be at school and arrive on time. It is said that some of them walked to school uphill each way. This picture was taken from the corner of Hartford Terrace and Allen Street.

Snowstorm in the 1940s

In 1941, Annes Garden was dedicated to remember a 6-year-old girl, Anne Smith who had died in a house fire that started while she was home cooking her lunch. According to her parents, she was an ;enthusiastic gardener. Annes Garden is now located below the flagpole on the Hartford Terrace side of the building.

Anne's Garden

The first addition to the school was in 1947. Over 15,000 square feet were added and featured 4 classrooms, a teacher lounge, and an auditorium. Annes Garden was also moved to the Whittum Ave. side upon completion. In 1954, another addition of 2,800 square feet was added but it was actually 2 portable classrooms for 70 students.

Fredick Harris School (Post-1957)

In 1964, the library was dedicated and renamed the Elizabeth R. Kelley Memorial Library. Miss Kelley had been a Springfield teacher for 37 years, 27 of which were at Harris School.

In 1986 there were 302 students enrolled at Harris School. They were supported by 16 full-time and 2 part-time teachers, as well as, 4 support staff members. In order to build capacity, Frederick Harris School was expanded again in the year 2000. Anne's Garden was moved back to the Hartford Terrace side of the building.

Architect's Rendering of 2000 Renovations

Our very own Anne Marie Rosberg attended the 1999 groundbreaking ceremony (when they dig a small hole to indicate the beginning of construction) where she performed a song she wrote for the event. The topping-off ceremony (celebrates the placement of the last structural beam) took place on March 16th, 2000 and included the placement of a tree on the beam to signify no injuries during construction.

Song by Anne

Currently, Frederick Harris School educates over 600 Pre-k through Grade 5 students. This year (2016) students will be educated by 55 teachers and 15 paraprofessionals/support staff. These numbers do not reflect all the others who help support students and staff, such as custodial, cafeteria and nursing staff. Dont forget to thank these people for helping make our year go smoothly.

Frederick Harris School

This is the shovel used at the groundbreaking ceremony. Do you know where it is located?


Below you will find some interesting facts about Frederick Harris School and its past.

COOL FACT! Prior to Frederick Harris School being built there was a small plane runway located at Gillette Ave. and Hartford Terrace. It was in operation from 1919 to 1920.


Who is this girl?

1st Breck Girl Roma Whitney

COOL FACT! Roma Whitney (Armstrong), the first Breck Shampoo girl attended Harris School during her 5th - 6th grade year from 1930 to 1931. Her 1937 portrait (above), done when she was 14 (although some records indicate she was 17), became a Breck trademark in 1947. Breck shampoo was invented and produced in Springfield. Here is a picture of her with her classmates.

Roma Whitley

COOL FACT! In the early days, due to the practice of mid year promotions, students regularly completed 2 grades in a year. This explains why Roma Whitney was in Grade 5 - 6. She would have started the year in Grade 5 and in February she would have been promoted to Grade 6 as long as her grades were good. Nowadays, we call this "skipping grades".

Recognize this guy? No, he didn't got to Harris but...

Tom Selleck

COOL FACT! Author Robert B. Parker attended Frederick Harris School until 1944. Many of Mr. Parkers books featured a fictional character named Spenser, a private detective. In the 1980s, this character inspired a television character named Magnum P.I., portrayed by Tom Selleck.

COOL FACT! The flag pole on the Hartford Terrace side of the building was a gift from descendants of Frederick Harris, our schools namesake. Thank you!


The photographs below represent some of our Harris family from the past.

Grade Unknown (Pre - 1928)

Class Picture

Grade 3 (1927)

Grade 3 1927

Grade 4 - 5 (1928)

Grade 4 -5 1928

Early Primary (Year Unknown)

Early Primary Year Unknown

Upper Grade (Year Unkown)

Upper Grade Year Unknown

Early Primary (Year Unknown)

Early Primary Year Unknown

We have always been on the cutting edge of technology. (1979)


A typical class. I counted 34 students in the picture. (Year Unkown)

A Typical Class Year Unknown

This page is a living document. A living document works similarly to Wikipedia. It can (and hopefully will) change as different and/or better information presents itself. If you have any concerns, questions, suggestions, or resources about this page, please contact Walter Brewer at: [email protected]

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