Like Broughal Middle School, Central School was an important place for the children of the neighborhood. Not only was it the elementary school for most of the children not attending parochial schools, but it was one of the main gathering places in the neighborhood. Central's old brick building primarily held classes for Kindergarten and elementary age children. A former teacher at the school remembers it as a place where children of all backgrounds gathered to play and learn. The school was mixed in with its residential surroundings and provided a place for children to congregate.
Gus Levin remembers how the teachers at Central School kept track of what was going on in the neighborhood. He remembers a teacher holding him up to one of the big windows and looking at his house across the street and saying "Look Gus, there's your mother bringing home your little sister" the day his mother brought his newborn sister home.
Unlike Broughal, Central School did not survive the 1960s redevelopment plans and was torn down along with most of the neighborhood. Some residents remember the difficulty of tearing down the school and how some of the items inside had to be left behind for the demolition crews. Linda Mertz-Michael, a former teacher at Central School, remembers how a baby grand piano could not be removed from the building and had to go down with the demolition.
If you have memories or photographs of Central School, please share them with us! You can help us recreate the neighborhood and keep the stories alive!
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Southside Memories by Mark C. Iampietro
Still Looking for You
Bethlehem, PA 18015
27 Memorial Drive West, Bethlehem, PA 18015