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The First School 39

 School 39 was first called the School 25 Annex and was located at 75 Yates Street in 1914.  By 1916, the school had expanded so much, it moved to 1682 N. Goodman Street.  It was at this 11 room frame house where the number 39 was given to our school.  125 students attended it in 1916.

 75 Yates Street today                          1682 N. Goodman Street today

      yates                                                                                 goodman

School 39 Gets a New Location

By 1918 it was obvious that they needed to expand the school.  Land was acquired off of Jackson Street and the planning and construction began.  This building was the first of its type.  Built in the shape of a lower case h, it was designed to expand to a upper case H-type.  The construction began in the summer on 1924 and the building opened in 1925.  When the building opened in September of 1925 579 students came the first year.  Due to high enrollment, plans were immediately put into place to expand to complete the H-type building.

When School 39 opened its doors for the first time on Midland Avenue Kathryn O. (Ward) Wright was the principal.  She is pictured below.

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School 39 Gets a Name:  Andrew J. Townson         

ajtAndrew J. Townson was born in Carlisle, England on May 2, 1856. His family immigrated to America in 1867.  Being the family's sole support after his father's death, Andrew became a stock boy at Sibley's at the age of 11 and he attended night school. He impressed everyone with his work ethic and by the time he was 30 years old he was the firm's president.  He obtained his position through hard work and effort. He impressed everyone.  Everything Andrew did, he did with passion. He was also know for getting what ever job was assigned to him done on time or early. "He never put off doing a thing but did it on the minute and thus had time for other things that came along.  And yet he was never in a hurry.  He was active, accurate, and always alert, so he was able to turn his mind to many andvaried interests during his day's work." 


Andrew J. Townson's life was filled with service to others. He held the following positions in the community:

  • School board member for eight years, six of those years serving as president

  • Trustee of the University of Rochester

  • Trustee of Vassar College

  • Treasurer of the Theological Society

  • Director of the Rochester Dental Dispensary

  • Trustee and Treasurer of the Rochester Orphan Asylum

  • President of the Stecher Lithographic Company

  • Director of Alliance Bank

  • Director of Mohawk Condensed Milk

  • Board of Municipal Research

  • Trustee for the Chamber of Commerce


After a life time of commitment to the Rochester area Mr. Townson passed away on February 16, 1920.  It is a honor for our school to be named after such a great man.

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