Goodyear Burlingame School
A History of Goodyear-Burlingame School
(With thanks to the Onondaga Historical Association)
Since the early 2000s, alumnae of the Goodyear-Burlingame School have been included as members of Manlius Pebble Hill’s Alumni Association. Although Goodyear-Burlingame never officially merged with Pebble Hill, its 1952 closure is often credited as Pebble Hill’s motivation for becoming a coeducational institution.
The “Goodyear Girls” (and a few boys) have been seamlessly integrated into the MPH community and, each year, MPH hosts several Goodyear-Burlingame gatherings, wonderful occasions for getting to learn more of the Goodyear-Burlingame story. This commemorative edition of Reflections would not be complete without including a recap of Goodyear-Burlingame’s history.
The following advertisement appeared in the Syracuse Journal on June 14, 1888.
THE MISSES GOODYEAR’S
School for Boys and Girls
Will open September 17th, 1888, at 99 James St.,
the late residence of Bishop Huntington.
Special classes in English branches, French
and German. For circulars apply to
Miss Fannie Goodyear
157 James St., Syracuse.
The Misses Goodyear, Fanny and Harriet, were taken to Europe as small children to enrich their education. They were nieces of Charles Goodyear, who developed a method to vulcanize rubber. Financial reverses changed the lifestyle of the young ladies, and they were faced with the problem of earning a living. With their educational background, teaching seemed a reasonable venture. Thus the School was started.
It all began in a charming house at 99 James Street. It was a solid square house with a small front porch. The windows had pointed arches, and there were elm trees in the yard. The Right Reverend Frederick Dan Huntington, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York lived in the house for nearly 20 years. The house then reverted to Judge Comstock, who leased it to Miss Fanny. In later years the numbering was changed to 509 and finally, by 1914, it was changed once and for all to 625 James Street.
There were several fireplaces in the building, and Miss Fanny had a rule that fires should be kindled in them when the temperature outdoors dropped to 18 degrees above zero.
In 1890, Walter Burlingame, son of the Ambassador to China, joined the ladies as Co-Principal and the school became Goodyear-Burlingame School. Burlingame’s brother-in-law, Frederick R. Hazard, President of Solvay Process Company, furnished the money for the three officers of the school to purchase the building. Hazard’s interest in the school led many Solvay Process executives to send their sons and daughters to the genteel care of the Goodyear-Burlingame faculty.
An 1891 advertisement in the Syracuse Standard announced that Goodyear-Burlingame scholars were fit for Regents examinations and also for college.
Graduation exercises were held on June 14, 1899 at the School on James Street. There were about 150 persons present. The address of the evening was given by Judge A. Judd Northrup, father of Miss Edith Northrup. He urged the young ladies to be conscientious at all times. Diplomas were presented by Rev. Dr. Samuel R. Calthrop, who reminded the graduates that their education had just begun. He urged them to be all-round women who could harness a horse, pump up a bicycle tire, and cook a steak, as well as understand the world. That was a large order. The house was prettily decorated with cut flowers and palms, and there was a reception following the program.
A 1911 brochure heralding the 23rd year of the School announced that the School aimed not only to give the pupils routine knowledge, but to awaken and broaden their minds by systematic guidance along the lines that lead to true culture. Interest was added to the study of geography by the weekly use of a picture lantern. French plays were given by Seniors as a test of their proficiency in the spoken tongue. It was felt that the body should go hand-in-hand with mental training, and a thorough course of physical exercises was given in a gymnasium by a special instructor. The School provided a sunny laboratory where the pupils could work among specimens of plant and animal life. Sciences were taught by modern laboratory methods for which complete apparatus was provided.
The brochure for the 1914 school year noted that the School was now at 625 James Street. It also contained the information that the School had the use of a large playground, and that a study hall was provided from 2 to 3:30 p.m. The fees per annum ranged from $150 for the Academic Grades (Senior High School) to $80 for first year Primary. Instructors included Miss Fanny Goodyear as principal, Miss Harriet Goodyear and Mr. Walter Burlingame as associate principals, also Miss Edith Northrup, Miss Annie Dyer Tuttle, and Mrs. Ethel B. Ames. Monsieur Charles Berand taught French, Mrs. Blanche Weaver Baxter taught articulation and diction, and Mrs. Charles H. McCormick was the Gymnastics Instructor.
Changes in Leadership
Walter Burlingame retired at the end of the 1915 school year. One of the diplomas he signed was that of a Ramona Baxter Bowden. She remembered that Burlingame had a style of teaching essentially his own. “In English, history and German classes, educators would have been shocked at his casual pedagogy. He was a raconteur rather than a high school teacher. The stories of his life in China following the Boxer Rebellion and his travels with Mark Twain were fascinating and kept his students wide-eyed with wonder.” Burlingame died the year after his retirement at the age of 65.
In 1925, Miss Edith Northrup, Miss Marion Edwards, and Mrs. Ethel Ames took over the running of the School until 1946.
Miss Harriet Goodyear ended her teaching career at the end of the 1926 school year. The following August, she died at her summer home in Cazenovia. Miss Goodyear was a leader in women’s organizations, art, music, and literature. She organized the Alliance Francais, and was president of the Political Equality Club and a leader in the suffrage movement.
Former Governor Nathan Miller returned to Syracuse, his one-time home, to address Goodyear-Burlingame School’s 1938 graduating class. Among the graduates was Miller’s granddaughter, Mary Elizabeth McCarthy. The exercises were held in the Grand Ballroom of the Hotel Syracuse.
In 1943, Miss Fanny Goodyear, the founder of Goodyear-Burlingame School, died at her home – 101 Burlingame Road. Long after her retirement, she had served on the teaching staff and as president of the Board of Directors. She was a member of May Memorial Church and one of the first Syracusans, along with her sister Harriet, to campaign for women’s suffrage.
Syracuse was chosen by Fortune Magazine as a test city for post-war planning, and in 1944, a Syracuse Onondaga Post War Council was set up to discuss and solve post-war problems. Miss Edwards represented the school on the council. Goodyear-Burlingame School participated in this plan by having three open discussions on post-war education, labor, industry, delinquency, and world peace. For their term papers, the Juniors and Seniors wrote about some phase of post-war planning.
Dr. Finla G. Crawford, vice chancellor of Syracuse University, addressed the 1946 graduating class on June 22 in the Hotel Onondaga Ballroom. His topic was, “Your Atomic Bomb.” Miss Mary Baxter delivered the valedictory address. Goodyear-Burlingame School was then sold to three new owners – all recently discharged from military service as commissioned officers with lengthy teaching experience. The new owners were Frank T. Bertsche, Robert E. Fuerst and Gordon D. Smith. Miss Edwards remained with the School, and Miss Northrup served in an advisory capacity.
Cloud Wampler, president of Carrier Corporation, gave the 1947 commencement address, “Adventure in Living.” He urged the young ladies to arrange their lives so that they would get fun out of living. This was the last class to be graduated from the old building. The 16 members of the class included Mr. Wampler’s daughter, Miss Eleanor Wampler, and the ceremonies were conducted in the East Room of the Hotel Syracuse, with Headmaster Gordon Smith handing out the diplomas.
The new owners of the School, working with a committee of parents, selected 1055 James Street as the new home for Goodyear-Burlingame School. There was a simple but impressive dedication ceremony at which Mrs. Ames spoke of the simple traditions set by the founders. The old Goodyear-Burlingame School building was sold to Clark, Clark, Millis and Gilson, an architectural firm.
In 1952, The Goodyear-Burlingame School was closed. The building at 1055 James Street was sold. Arrangements were made by an interim board of trustees to dispose of the other assets of the School.
Gone but not Forgotten
In March of 1962, Mrs. John S. Hancock, of 211 Brattle Road, and Mrs. Stewart F. Hancock, of 12 Brattle Road, opened their homes for a reunion of graduates of the Goodyear-Burlingame School. About 50 young ladies were invited to each home. Because Goodyear no longer existed, there was a feeling that some of the school traditions should be carried on at Pebble Hill School, where there were former Goodyear teachers and students on the faculty and where between 30 and 40 children of Goodyear alumnae were enrolled.
Albert Getman, assistant headmaster at Pebble Hill, spoke at both gatherings. Among those attending were Mrs. Edward L. Bisdee, who taught at Pebble Hill and used to teach at Goodyear, Mrs. John B. Crosby, a former Goodyear student then on the Pebble Hill faculty, Mrs. Charles Bennet, who taught at both Schools, Robert Tucker, then on the faculty of Pebble Hill and whose mother had taught at Goodyear. Also present were Miss Marion Edwards, Mrs. Gerard M. Edell, Mrs. A. McKinley Terhune, Miss Marie Achilli, and Miss Frances Gere, all former faculty members at Goodyear. Miss Edwards, who had become a co-owner of Goodyear-Burlingame School in 1925, died soon after the reunion.
The offices of the architectural firm of Clark, Clark, Millis and Glison at 625 James Street, former home of the Goodyear-Burlingame School, were destroyed by fire in 1979. The building was a complete loss.
A 1992 reunion, spearheaded by Mrs. Louis Steigerwald Jr. and held at the Onondaga Golf Club, was attended by 68 former Goodyear-Burlingame students.
The Goodyear Spirit lives on...
In 2002, Goodyear-Burlingame alumni were “adopted” by Manlius Pebble Hill School in DeWitt at the urging of a few passionate Goodyear-Burlingame alumnae and with the support of MPH Alumni Board President Russ Andrews ’64. On May 18, 2002, Manlius Pebble Hill School hosted the first Goodyear gathering on its campus, bringing the two educational institutions together and cementing their relationship.
An archival area in the Kreitzberg Family Alumni Lodge is dedicated to Goodyear-Burlingame memorabilia. Goodyear-Burlingame School has a home again!