Belleville High/Middle School: Did it have a pool?

and other questions

Belleville Middle School

(formerly Belleville High School, Belleville Junior High School)

By Anthony Buccino

Designed by architect Charles Granville Jones - the Belleville High School, 279 Washington Avenue at the corner of Holmes Street was built in 1915. The first addition came in 1923, and the second addition in 1936.

According to Images of America: Belleville author Nicole T. Canfora: The building was at first 300 feet from the road, and walkways in the shape of semicircles led up to the front doors of the school, which only seniors were able to use.

Between the walkways stood a flagpole and sundial. There were boys' and girls' gyms, a cafeteria and many classrooms.

Legend has it that there was once a swimming pool, which was covered over with concrete and made into the present lower gym after a student drowned. Former principal Mario DiMaggio said the pool was located under the floor of the present cafeteria and had been used lately for storage.

Principal Carmen Guinta later allowed a viewing of the disputed area. One access to the pool area is near a stairwell by the boys' lavatory. It is used for storage of desks and more (see photo). It has a low ceiling and is not inviting for explorers. Another access point is through a floor hatchway at the rear of the cafeteria's kitchen cooking area. This access is even less inviting.

The auditorium stage on the second floor is the same stage where Connie Francis sang when she attended Belleville High School. The pop star idol was honored by the Belleville Education Foundation in 2009.

The new Belleville High School was built across from Municipal Stadium on Passaic Avenue and Division Street and opened in October 1964 to house the growing student population.

At that time, the old high school was converted into a junior high for Grades 7 through Grade 9. It was later converted to a middle school with only Grade 7 and Grade 8. Belleville Middle School is now Grade 6 through Grade 8.

Today, the Belleville school system is K-5, 6-8, 9-12.

Charles Granville Jones also designed the town hall, the First National Bank, the Methodist Church, the Public Library. He died in 1938.

Sources

Content compiled 1990 through 2015

Belleville High School - The Four High Schools

Images of America: Belleville - Nicole T. Canfora

Mario DiMaggio, Middle School Principal, interview 1990

The Belleville Times article by Anthony Buccino, 1990

Dr. Marilyn McGrath, Middle School Principal, 2004

Carmine (Carmen) Guinta (2012)

The Belleville Public Library

Belleville Schools/Board of Ed

Belleville Middle School

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