Veterans Memorial Community Center (Formerly Veterans Memorial Elementary School)
In the era of contraction and the mournful closing of P.H.S., it’s hard to believe that within my lifetime, expansion was the watchword in public education. It had become clear by the early 1950s that the town’s children were no longer well served by the Central School House, 126 Bradford Street, and the Western School House, on School Street. So plans were prepared for a large new building to replace them and the Governor Bradford School, 44 Bradford Street. The Veterans Memorial Elementary School, designed by Walter M. Gaffney of Hyannis, opened in 1955 and served its purpose for 56 years.
Gaffney is probably best known today, to the extent that he’s remembered at all, for his elegant Map of Cape Cod of 1932. The town’s Building Survey Committee, appointed in 1952, explained how they decided to engage his services: “We visited one of his schools in Yarmouth and another school not designed by him in Harwich. As a result, we felt he was ably qualified to do a preliminary study.”
The school was opened in April 1955 and dedicated by the Lewis A. Young Post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (now at 3 Jerome Smith Road) and the Morris-Light Post of the American Legion. In 1959, a bell was installed on the flag pole from the freighter Provincetown. During the renovation of Town Hall in the early 21st century, Town Meeting was held in the all-purpose room.
In 2011, coincident with the decision to close the high school and move the younger grades into its building, the Recreation Commission voted to declare its Bradford Street building surplus and to move all of its programs, activities and offices into the Veterans Memorial as soon as it became available. (Minutes of the meeting, 2 March 2011.) That work is going on as this is being written. The building also serves as the town’s emergency center. ¶ Posted 2013-03-23
My understanding of the Recreation Department decision to move was that the town manager wanted to sell the Community Center building. Many people who use the Community Center voiced opposition — to no avail. This post implies that the Recreation Department decided to move. Do you know anything more about this issue?
Thank you so much for all your investigating!
Thank you for your kind words and for your inquiry. I don’t know enough to characterize the Recreation Commission’s response, other than by summarizing its official actions. That’s why I noted only that the commission voted as it did. I didn’t mean to imply any motives.
Thanks for your reply! No, I don’t think you implied any motives. I just wish the motives were clear. My assumption is that the town manager doesn’t care about the parts of the community that use the building. But it is an assumption from her previous actions, and from what i heard from the folks fighting the decision, not from my clear understanding of the facts.
Again, I appreciate your response and for your wonderful, if often sad, document of the town.
Hi David – The address for this building is actually 2 Mayflower STREET, not lane. There is also a Mayflower Ave. in town, which confuses people to no end.
I am curious to know how one might be able to locate class photos from decades ago. I attended 2nd, 3rd and 4th grades in 1966 through 1968. I would love to find a class photo of myself from that time. I had Mrs. Dutra, Mrs.(or Miss) Jenkins, and Mrs.(or Miss) Alves.Is there a source I can contact to get in the right direction?
I’m afraid I don’t have an answer.
There are electronic versions of the Long Pointer on a site called the Provincetown History Preservation Project, but they only go down to the seventh grade.
The best I can suggest is that you reach out to the school district (https://www.provincetownschools.com/contact-us). Given the fact that they’re coping with the pandemic, however, it may be a while before you hear from them.
I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful.