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Deerfield Academy/ Dickinson High School

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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In 1858, the town of Deerfield, Massachusetts, had no free school for secondary education. A Massachusetts law of 1827 required that any town with more than 500 have one, and Deerfield was indicted under this law. The trustees of Deerfield Academy, residents and leaders of the town, met and formed a free high school component of the Academy, with costs shared between the Academy and the town. This arrangement continued uneasily until 1875, when Esther Harding Dickinson left the town $50,000 for the construction of a free high school and town library. The Academy then decided to form a new joint town/academy school, the "Deerfield Academy and Dickinson High School ." A new building was designed by the Boston firm of Peabody and Stearns costing $23,500 with steam heat and was built on the Deerfield Common. It officially opened on January 2, 1879. This continued until a 1917 law requiring a complete separation between the private Academy and the public high school. The separation was made through a buyout in October, 1923, which required that local children be admitted to the academy free of charge. The building was demolished in 1930 to make way for the Academy's Main School Building.


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