A Brief History of the Oak Hill Middle School
Oak Hill Middle School has a rich and long history dating back to the 1900s. The school is located in the Oak Hill village in Newton, Massachusetts. Until 1920, the Oak Hill area was largely rural. With the population increasing and development taking place throughout the 1920s and 1930s, there was a need to build a new school. As early as 1929, Mayor Edwin O. Childs suggested that there was a need for a new school to serve the development at Oak Hill. However, land for a new school was only acquired by the City in 1935. The plan for the construction of the school also included space for a library. Construction was in part paid for by a grant from the Federal Government. The Oak Hill School and the library were constructed in 1936 and were designed by the firm of Densmore, Le Clear & Robbins, a prominent local firm with many buildings in Boston and Cambridge. The original school was built on Wheeler Road based on a rectangular plan; the building has two stories and a basement, and includes a library wing (today this is the art room) on the east side connected to the school main building.
Construction underway at Oak Hill School in 1936.Like many of the school buildings of this time period, the building is constructed in the Georgian Revival style with distinctive architectural features and beautiful exterior details. It is constructed with red brick and trimmed with a cornice as well as a cast stone door and window surrounds. The main building is built with a hipped roof and the library wing with a gable roof. The main building has symmetrically placed doors at each side of the street. The entrance doors and the windows above the doors are set within cast stone surrounds, and the windows have cast stone sills.The original school was closed in 1984, an era of declining school enrollment in Newton. The building was rented to the Solomon Schecter Day School as well as a Montessori school. Due to growing enrollment, the school was re-opened as the Oak Hill Middle School in September, 1997 with Mr. Marvin Shapiro as the principal serving 614 students. In 1997, the west side of the building was demolished and a new addition was constructed to replace the older one. Later Hank Van Putten worked as a principal from 2004 to 2009. Eva Thompson came to Oak Hill and worked as a principal until 2013. Presently, Dr. John Harutunian is the Oak Hill Middle School principal. For over 20 years, Oak Hill Middle School has been a place where dedicated staff, involved parents, and terrific students come together in a caring and nurturing environment, that encourages students to grow to their full potential. Oak Hill is proud to serve students in grades six through eight grade. It continues to uphold its reputation of excellence in education.
The entrance door and window above the
door is set within cast stone surrounds
and the window has cast stone sills.
Above the door is keystone with a pediment.
There is a balcony made of wood at the
center window on the first floor.
Door serves as a window.
Wood bracket below the balcony with acanthus leaf.
A two story wood cupola is located at the center
of the main roof. The upper part of the cupola has
corner pilasters with arched, louvered openings and
is capped with a domed copper roof and weather vane.
The old library door (today, the art room)has decorative wrought iron railings at theexterior. A curve is set high in the wall of theeast gable of the library wing.
Arched door with barrel vault (Today
the music room entrance door).
Bay window of the old library/currently, the art room. Balcony, with wrought iron railings,
outside the art room.
Greek Revival brackets. South side of the art room. Plate with a swag on each side.
The art room fireplace chimney.
The main building has a masonry chimney
at the center of the north wall.
Telescoping facadePrincipal's original office entrance, now
a classroom door.
Hallway of the old school wing with original
door. Example of tile wainscot and door surround
Old cubbies in a classroom. Resources
- Oak Hill School Historic Report. City of Newton Web Site:
http://www.newtonma.gov/gov/building/historic_reports.asp- The Jackson Homestead, Newton - Massachusetts.- Ms. Trunk - Art Teacher, Oak Hill Middle School