Pocantico Hills Central School opened on Sept. 7, 1932, Sleepy Hollow, NY - (current main building, below, with expansion in 1955, above). Pocantico Hills has historical links to the Revolutionary War, NY Hudson Valley Architecture, and the Rockefeller's Philanthropy .
The original 1932 Pocantico Central School and main building today.
SEPTEMBER 24, 2010: U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama talks with students from Pocantico Hills Central School as she tours an herb garden with first ladies from various countries at Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture in Pocantico Hills. The visit is part of the First Lady's healthy eating program.
Pocantico IN the Movies! The Great Gilly Hopkins (2015) Filmed at Pocantico with students as extras. Starring Kathy Bates, Glenn Close, Octavia Spenser, Julia Stiles and Sophie Nélisse.
Timeline of Pocantico School Houses
Pocantico School Buildings Locations- Total of 5 separate school houses!
Speculative sites of all 5 Pocantico School Houses on current map
1901/today overlay with locations
Speculative sites of all 5 Pocantico School Houses on 1926 aerial map
Building #1: Pre-1880's Squash Hill School Located approx. where the current school is, s.e. corner of Bedford Rd. and Raffenberg Rd, on 1872 map. It was one room, unpainted, and held up by a pole. Dates back to at least 1830's.
First Pocantico School, Squash Hill, located s.e. corner of Bedford Rd. and Raffenberg Rd, on 1872 map. Marked as School No. 3
Eastern state journal. (White Plains, Westchester County, N.Y.), August 08, 1891, Page 2
Building # 2: 1880's-1893 Pocantico Hills School (Ferguson House/ Wheeler Hill) Land was deeded for one dollar by Harriet Wheeler. In the 1880s the Pocantico Hills School was located on the south side of Bedford Road, several hundred yards southeast of the Lowery mansion. By 1893 the school had outgrown its building, and the trustees rented the Lyceum as aclassroom for the primary grades and employedanother teacher. In 1895 it was determined by the community to build a new school. The one-story frame structure and is known as the Ferguson House/Wheeler Hill. It was razed in 1972 for new school expansion. Located approximately where tennis courts are today.
Ferguson House (Building #2) (Image source- Kostich, J. L. (2013). History of Pocantico
Hills: 1880 to the present.) Colorized
1880-1893 Ferguson House/Wheeler Hill, circled on map (undated circa 1900).
(Image Source: Kostich, J. L. (2013). History of Pocantico Hills: 1880 to the present.)
Eastern state journal., May 14, 1892, Page 2
Building #3: Lyceum, built 1890, used temporarily as school 1893-1897
Library and community center. Located where the firehouse is now. See below for more on Lyceum.
Lyceum, temporary school (Building #3)
Building # 4: 1897- 1932 Pocantico Union Free School On a one acre tract donated by John D, Rockefeller, Sr., near the Rock Cut, the new schoolopened in September1897. It was 4 rooms for 3 teachers. This building has since been razed. Ray B. Walker was Principal from 1922-1931, and continued as first Principal of Pocantico Hills Central School in 1932.
Pocantico Union Free School 1911 (Building #4) (Image source- Kostich, J. L. (2013). History of Pocantico Hills: 1880 to the present.) Colorized
Public School, Pocantico Hills, NY
Undated postcard, 1897-1931 Pocantico Union Free School (Building #4)
Eastern state journal., Dec 19, 1896, Page 3
1897-1932 school house - Location, near second rock cut. (source: https://giswww.westchestergov.com/HistoricalAerial/MapContent.htm)
Second Rock-Cut location (Image source- https://archivesleuth.wordpress.com/2011/09/21/the-eastview-trestle/)
(Building # 5): 1932-September 7th-Present, Pocantico Hills Central School Opens - Current Main Building. John D. Rockefeller, Sr. and John D. Rockefeller, Jr. advocated for a new school for many years. They insisted that it be an elementary / grade school. By January 1930 members met at the Lyceum to form Pocantico School District, abandoning Sleepy Hollow and East View Schoolhouses. In 1931 several acres were donated by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and paid half the price of the school. Opened Sept. 7, 1932. Ray B. Walker was first Principal until 1949.
Lyceum Meeting - School District, January 1930
Nov. 9, 1931, Tarrytown Daily News
Feb. 7, 1931, Tarrytown Daily News
Students at Pocantico Hills Central School swimming in the pond (circa 1940), before the pool.
(Image Source: Kostich, J. L. (2013). History of Pocantico Hills: 1880 to the present.)
Pocantico expansion in the late 1950's (source Hille, R. T., & Hille, R. T. (2011). Postwar Modern Schools, 1940s & 1950s. In Modern schools: A century of design for education (pp. 104-105). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons.)
1958- Pocantico outdoor pool opens John D. Rockefeller, Jr. donates land, $350,000, swimming pool, bathhouse, and tennis courts to Board of Education as recreation center for area. 1974- Pocantico 2nd Expansion (Ray B. Walker Addition) Groundbreaking on January 23, 1972 by N.Y. Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller Expansion includes: middle school area, gym, locker rooms 2007- Pocantico renovation with $5 million bond 2011- Pocantico Pool redesign.
The existing pool was demolished, saving as much of the the stone veneer retaining walls as possible. Site worked included: Stone veneer retaining walls and stairs. Secure entry points with ornamental wrought iron style fencing. Concrete pool decks. Seating built into the hillside. Drainage on the pool decks. Landscaping.
The Toll House: In the 1930's, teachers from Pocantico lived here. It was sold in the 1970's. Unknown why it is called the Toll House, perhaps because the road once had a toll.
The Toll House (circa 1940) (Image Source: Kostich, J. L. (2013). History of Pocantico Hills: 1880 to the present.)
Articles on the conception and building of 1932 Pocantico Hills Central School & the Rockefeller Estate (New York Times, Tarrytown Daily News)
Before Pocantico Hills Central School (pre-1932) In the area...
1926 aerial image with approx. locations
Butler's Sawmill (1800's) - Located approx. where pool and recreation are.
Before 1925 D.E. Perry's Ice-houses were located below Ferguson Lake, where the pool is now. Ice was collected from the lake in winter and stored.
Berkeley Inn - 1886(?)-1899
Berkeley Inn (Image source- Kostich, J. L. (2013). History of Pocantico Hills: 1880 to the present.)
St. Mathew's Military School 1899-1931 In 1899 the Berkeley Inn closed, and the buildings were taken over bySt. Mathew's Military School. Included a dormitory for 60 students, stables, armory, bowling alley. After several years the school was moved to Dobbs Ferry and the property acquired by the Rockefeller's. Located by Lake #2.
St. Joseph's Normal College 1900-1930
Run by the Lasallian Christian Brothers; opened in 1906 and moved to Barrytown in 1930. Land was acquired by Rockefeller Estate in 1928, adjoining property. Located north on Bedford Rd. of current school. 5 stories on 300 acres. Razed in 1930.
Maps of Pocantico Hills
1872 Map, before Rockefeller land purchases. (Note School #3- Squash Hill School location, and Hotel (Berkeley Inn- then became St. Mathew's Military School)
1901 Maps, Pocantico School location (building #2) and St. Mathew's Military School, Church of the Magdalene
1914 Map of Pocantico. Unnamed school approx. located where Pocantico Hills Central School is today. (Ferguson House?)
1911 Maps with Pocantico School location (#2) and St. Joseph's Normal School (Christian Brothers)
1929-1931 Maps with 1897 School, Union Church, Church of the Magdalene
1901 / Today Map Overlay
Pocantico Hills Lyceum, Oct. 19, 1890-1930, -- school, library, town center for meetings, church services and social events. Library items were moved in 1932 to new school. In 1930, the Lyceum Building became the home of the Pocantico Firehouse. In 1969 the Lyceum was razed for the new firehouse.
Oct 18, 1890
Pocantico Lyceum Events - circa 1910-'s-1920's, Tarrytown Daily News
Pocantico Lyceum Library Records, 1890's
Sleepy Hollow School Buildings 1865-1931 (Source: In M. Marshall & S. Mascia (2010). Children at School. Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow in the 20th century)
Sleepy Hollow Free School located on Sleepy Hollow Rd., was established circa 1865, and rebuilt, shown here, used until the 1890's.
In 1896, a one room elementary school was constructed next to the 1865 school on Sleepy Hollow Rd.. This is the 3rd and final building at that location. Pictured here in 1915, the school closed in 1932 when Pocantico Hills Central School opened.
Historical Research about Pocantico, with school details- (circa 1970's)
Pocantico history with detailed dates (written in the 1970's) https://storage.rockarch.org/FA443_4.pdf
Pocantico Hills School on TV- November 10, 1957 CBS- New York, Noon... where is the kinescope?! "Let's Take a Trip," New York-based Sunday-morning series in which youngsters accompanied host Sonny Fox on field trips to such places as the UN and the School of American Ballet, where George Balanchine choreographed `Yankee Doodle Dandy' for the kids.
My cherished times at Pocantico!
Me circa 1982!
Bibliography: Hille, R. T., & Hille, R. T. (2011). Postwar Modern Schools, 1940s & 1950s. In Modern schools: A century of design for education (pp. 104-105). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons. Historical Society of Tarrytown (2017). School Days. Images of AmericaTarrytown and Sleepy Hollow (p. 71). Charleston, SC: Arcadia Pub. https://www.appelosborne.com/portfolio/k-12-education/pocantico-hills-central-school/ https://archivesleuth.wordpress.com/2011/09/21/the-eastview-trestle/ https://archivesspace.manhattan.edu/agents/331?agent_type=agent_corporate_entity https://bt-wpstatic.freetls.fastly.net/wp-content/blogs.dir/720/files/2017/05/Pocantico-shcools.jpg https://cciv.westchesterclerk.com/ImageViewer/HistoricalAerialViewerPDF.aspx?A9A88775A3B48F56E486C8055725B02BA10D5E9A035EF6585248502E691F5E8A&ENCRYPTED= http://oripter.com/catholic%20retired%20school%20new%20york.html https://pocantico.pocanticohills.org https://storage.rockarch.org/FA443_4.pdf https://www.tvguide.com/tvshows/x/202662/ https://westchester.pastperfectonline.com/bysearchterm?keyword=Mount+Pleasant+-+Pocantico+Hills+-+Schools https://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~30341~1140858:9-Atlas-rural-country-district-nort?qvq=w4s:/who%2FE.%2BBelcher%2BHyde;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=15&trs=24# http://www.epodunk.com/cgi-bin/genInfo.php?locIndex=1448 https://www.openstreetmap.org Ibid, 42-47; Personal Interview, Wylock with Bearss, March 13, 1970 In M. Marshall & S. Mascia (2010). Children at School. Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow in the 20th century (p. 41). Charleston, SC: Arcadia Pub. Kostich, J. L. (2013). History of Pocantico Hills: 1880 to the present. Place of publication not identified: publisher not identified. Newcastle Tribune, The New York Times, The Rockefeller Archives, The Tarrytown Daily News, The
In memorial of John D. Rockefeller, Sr., and John D. Rockefeller, Jr., who built Pocantico Hills Central School, with passion and philanthropy for public education.
This is an educational, non-profit, research archival project. Digital items are property of their respective copyright holders.
An archival & history research project to preserve and teach history of Pocantico Hills School. Collect information and ephemera. Connect alumni, former students, teachers, staff and share stories, pictures, and memorabilia. Teach current students local history and research.