History

Considered excessively expensive at a cost of $118,851, the Samuel W. mason School was built in 1905 by John A. Fox, a prominent Boston architect. The building is a traditional red brick primary school - three stories high with close to 28,000 square feet. The Mason was described in The Brickbuilder in 1916 as having..."rooms all arranged with partial southerly exposure and
wardrobes at the teacher's end...with the usual playrooms, toilets and hanging apparatus" in the basement. Se on a large lot, the school's playgrounds were on either side of the building, and the main entrance was on one side not in the recessed wall between the wings, which would have been more typical. Today the school sits next to a City of Boston swimming pool facility, uses the former schoolyard for staff parking and a city owned playground and playing fields for recess.

A Dorchester resident, John A. Fox, was an architect for more than fifty years, and credited with erecting some of the most notable buildings of his time. Among them were the Globe Theatre, the Providence Opera House, Chelsea Academy of Music and the Provincetown Town Hall. A creature of habit, Mr. Fox is also remembered for having lunched at Young's Hotel almost every day from 1860 - 1920; the only exception being his stint in the army during the Civil War!

The school was named in honor of Samuel W. Mason, who was active in the Boston Public Schools for fort years. Known affectionately as "the schoolboy's friend", Mr. Mason was born in Cavendish, Vermont on October 11, 1824 and was a graduate of Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. After a few years of teaching in Connecticut, he settled in Boston with the intention of studying law, but eventually returned to "his true calling"
education. In 1850, he was appointed sub-master of the Eliot School in the North End, was the Eliot headmaster fom 1855 to 1876, an then became a member of the Boston School Board of Supervisors from 18, supervising schools in East Boston and Charlestown. He married Ann Williamine SMith on July 28, 1853, and was a long-time Chelsea resident and active community member.

As an educator, Mr. Mason was strong believer in the importance of physical exercise as poart of the curriculum, and authored a Manuel of Gymnastic Exercises for Schools and Families while at the Eliot. He referred to himself as "the schoolmaster of the old, old school" and was quoted as saying" "I do not believe that supervisors are created to go into...

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