Granger Homestead Blog

June 7, 2010

Granger Place School for Girls

Filed under: Homestead — grangerhomestead @ 2:22 pm

The Granger family occupied the Homestead from 1816 until the fall of 1868 when a series of tragedies occurred.  Francis Granger died on August 28, 1868, and his son Gideon died six days after him.  As the home ostensibly failed as a safe haven for the Granger family, Isaphine (Mrs. Francis Granger) refused to live a day longer in the mansion, and her family moved to a nearby cottage in Canandaigua.  The house remained unused for eight years until the lawyer Walter S. Hubbell encouraged a new school for women to replace the defunct Ontario Female Seminary.  The abandoned mansion was a perfect, central location for a girl’s school, and the Grangers sold the Homestead to Caroline A. Comstock and her associates for $7500.  In order to create an exceptional place of learning, Comstock and her colleagues physicalled changed the Homestead drastically.

To the south of the central mansion, the three story Granger Place School Annex was built, designed to maximize the learning experience of the young ladies.

Miss Caroline A. Comstock. Perhaps the most dedicated contributor to the Granger Place School, Comstock oversaw many changes to the Homestead.  Among the most interesting changes that Comstock introduced were to the grounds.  In order to safeguard the “fair young womanhood” of the girls, Comstock built a large fence around the entire grounds and oversaw the addition of considerable amounts of foliage to keep away the Academy boys and “other interested folk.”

Samuel Cole Fairley. Amherst alumnae Fairley succeeded Comstock as principal of the Granger Place School in 1896.  Under Fairley’s management of the school, the grounds were changed significantly again.

Granger Place School with Fairley’s Renovations. In order to lure more affluent students to the School, Fairley attempted to dispose of the isolated, cloistered feel of the School.  He removed the large fence from the grounds and painted over the drab gray of the buildings with a soft, attractive yellow.  Fairley also renovated the inside of the School, installing new plumbing and paint.

Music Classes in the Victorian Parlour. Along with the library, music classes were taught on the main floor of the mansion.  Such rooms were also used to entertain guest lecturers and readers.

Art Classes. As part of a traditional liberal arts education, Art classes were taught to the young ladies on the main floor of the mansion.

Faculty Room. The second floor of the mansion was designed to house the faculty of the school.  As shown in the picture, the faculty often graded papers and prepared their lessons in their rooms.

Girl’s Rooms. The third flood of the mansion was expanded to allow ample housing for the resident students.  The girls were encouraged to decorate their rooms with all of the comforts of home, and they proudly hung GPS posters on their walls. The girls often developed strong academic aspirations from their classical liberal arts education at the GPS, and looked forward to continuing their educations at elite schools like Cornell.

Students in the Laboratory. On the second flood of the GPS Annex, girls learned the science of chemistry and physics.

Classroom. The main floor of the Annex was used as classroom space.  According to the image, the classrooms were quite spacious and well-lit, probably because of the new materials used in the construction of the Annex.

Acetylene Gas House. In 1904, the light fixtures of the GPS were converted from coal gas to acetylene gas.  This House was built to store the gas.  The girls of the GPS named their newspaper after this type of gas, perhaps because of the gas’ ability to illuminate.

“This institution had had achieved broad recognition in a day when education for women was in its pioneer status.”

– Article in the Ontario County Times-Journal, celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Granger Place School.

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