Updated: Dec 1, 2022
I. Mansur Beard, a Harvard graduate, believed that boys should be taught by men (not women) in classes of 15 students or less in order to provide optimum individual contact between children and teachers. Concerned about overcrowded classes and increasingly feminized public education, Mr. Beard started the Longmeadow Country Day School for Younger Boys in September 1923.
First Church leased the house at 30 Williams Street to the school as well as its chapel (altered so that it could be used as a gymnasium). In 1924, the school added a dormitory to its campus – the Mason House on Colton Place. Graduation ceremonies and theatrical performances were held at the nearby Longmeadow Community House. All of the instructors at the Longmeadow Country Day School were male.
The school was open to boys aged 14 and under. While most of the students came from the greater Springfield area, some came from farther afield, including Lowell, MA, Farmington, CT, and even Cuba. Athletics was an important part of the education. Football, baseball, and the “manly art of self-defense” (boxing) were included in the curriculum along with choral singing, plays, and crafts such as carpentry.
In 1929, the school moved to 1087 Longmeadow Street (the house in the above photo). The barn, which still stands behind the house, was adapted to serve as the school gymnasium. Hoping to accommodate more students, it leased the neighboring Alvah Colton property (1077 Longmeadow Street) in 1930. However, the economic realities of the Great Depression took over and, in January 1931, the facilities in Longmeadow closed and the students transferred to the Winchester Junior Academy in Wilbraham. Winchester staff highly praised the education that the Longmeadow faculty had provided to the boys.
Sources: Longmeadow Historical Society archives Springfield Republican June 10, 1923; July 21, 1923; Aug. 15, 1924; Sept. 18, 1924; Oct. 4, 1925; June 15, 1928; July 8, 1930; June 10, 1931
Contributed by Elizabeth Hoff, Board Member, Longmeadow Historical Society
Originally published May 21, 2020