ADAMS, Mass. — More than 100 years of history came crashing down on Monday morning as the former Commercial Street School was demolished.
The building was owned by Commercial Street School LLC, which purchased the nearly one-acre lot at 87 Commercial from Aladco in 2014 for $125,000. The manager of the LLC is David Desmarais, owner of Aladco. The property was being used for parking for the laundry company across the street and warehousing.
The three-story building hadn't been used as a school in nearly 40 years. The structure was built between 1882-3 along with two other grammar schools accommodate the town's burgeoning population.
"It's always regrettable when a historic structure is demolished especially a school that may have fond memories for many former students and faculty," said Eugene Michalenko, a member of both Historical Commission and Historical Society. "Considering that new uses were found for the other former neighborhood schools, losing one to a wrecking ball leaves a bitter twitch in our community's memory."
Michalenko said the neighborhood around the school had grown up very quickly the year before its construction because of the opening of the Jacquard Mill, built by Renfrew Manufacturing Co. on Harmony Street. The now vacant mill had later been home to Dewey & Almy, W.R. Grace and MacDermid Corp.
The Commercial Street School was similar in structure, he said, to Renfrew School "but it was more graceful in architecture."
There were eight rooms serving children up to Grade 6 and it was designed for 350 students although in 1924, Michalenko said, only 229 were enrolled. When the new high school opened in 1969, Commercial and two other schools became kindergarten through Grade 3 and Renfrew was closed. When Proposition 2 1/2 was enacted in 1981 and severe budget cuts resulted, those three schools were closed.
While the school is now gone, its bell is on display at Hoosac Valley Elementary School.
Adams Excavating Co. made short work of the building on Monday and by afternoon it was mostly leveled. The demolition permits were filed in early April.
Aladco has no official plans on file for the soon to be open area and nothing has yet gone before the Planning Board.
This is the second large structure to be removed from the highly trafficked Commercial Street. A vacant building at 50 Commercial St., built in 1921 as an automotive garage, was demolished by the town last year because of its deteriorating condition.
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