The History of the Gateway Regional School District
In 1949, the concept of a
regional high school was presented to the townspeople by Superintendent,
Dana O. Webber as a solution to the educational facilities problem in
this valley. The idea was voted down at that time but was presented
again in 1950-1951. Many meetings were held in the towns involved, and a
brochure suggesting curriculum and cost was presented to the townspeople. But in 1952 the
issue was once more turned down by the voters. It was not until 1955
that the matter was reconsidered. The committee spent more than a year
trying to arrive at a solution best suited to the four towns, and in May
of 1957, Huntington and Montgomery voted in favor of accepting;
Blandford had a tie vote; and Chester defeated the issue. In July of the
same year, the towns of Huntington and Montgomery voted to form a
two-town district, the nucleus of the eventual Gateway Regional School
District. Worthington and Chester were admitted by amendment in 1959,
but Chester withdrew in 1960.
At town meetings in 1961,
initial funds were appropriated for capital outlay, and an option to
purchase the present school site was taken. The architects and
contractors were chosen, and ground-breaking ceremonies were held on
June 28, 1962.
Superintendent Dana O. Webber
was elected Superintendent by the committee at its inception and has
been re-elected each year since. Mrs. Stella Belisle was elected clerk
of the committee in 1961.
In the fall of 1962, the town
of Middlefield requested an amendment for its admittance to the
district, and in November that town was admitted.
The new school began its
official school year on Wednesday, September 4, 1963, with an enrollment
of 240 Students.
During the days prior to the
abolition of slavery, an "underground railroad" was developed to assist
fugitive slaves in their escape to Canada. This "railroad" had many
branches with "stations" spaced one night's journey apart, where
"conductors" or "station-keepers" would feed the slaves and hide them in
cellars or garrets, caves or haymows until night-fall. People say, and I
suppose it's true, that:
One such "railroad" led
through Murrayfield, now Huntington, with Millers Tavern as its
"station." The cellar under the barn floor and the thick hollow walls
with their hidden stairways are silent reminders of these clandestine
adventures. This Tavern, being the last "hiding place" enroute, became
known as "the gateway, " for such it was to all who seeking their
freedom passed this way.
Today, the main district
complex that encompases the High School, Middle School, and Littleville
Elementary stands on the old Moore farm property, the house and barns of
which served as Millers' Tavern and Stage Coach Inn during those early
days. Therefore, it was natural to take the suggestion for a name for
Gateway from the history and heritage of the past, so this parcel of
land could continue to be "The Gateway.”
The gateway to freedom is
truth, and the gateway to truth is knowledge; therefore, this school
stands to all who pass through its portals as --
The Gateway to better
The Gateway to knowledge and truth.
The Gateway to a better life and a