2014-01-31 / Around Town

1874: Rogers High School Dedication

At the turn of the 18th century, Robert Rogers ran the Newport Academy, a private school providing a classical education, and in 1843 Newport established one of the first public high schools in the state, primarily for college preparation.

In 1872, William Sanford Rogers, son of the schoolmaster, bequeathed $100,000 to the city "for the education of youth of both sexes.... the income to be applied to the support of teachers of the highest qualifications." Of this, $10,000 was designated to be used to aid in construction of a new building.

The elegant Rogers High School building on Church Street was dedicated in January 1874, with an enrollment of about 100 pupils. An open house was held on Jan. 20 and hundreds of citizens visited the new school, examining every room in the building, and dedication exercises held the following day in the chapel drew 300 people. The first headmaster was Frederick W. Tilton and three courses were offered: college preparatory, scientific, and general; there were no electives. The high school remained on Church Street until 1905, when the school meant for 100 was bursting at the seams with 360 students. They moved to a new location on Broadway; the Church Street building later became an elementary school and is now home to the Boys & Girls Clubs.

The current Rogers High School on Wickham Road opened in 1957 with 1,216 students. Today, the school has 600 pupils.

For more information on Rogers High School, visit rhsalumni.org.

The image above appeared in the

May 20, 1876 issue of American

Architect and Building News and was identified as Rogers High School, Newport, R.I. by Geo. C. Mason & Son

Architects.

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