History of the Pebble Hill School

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History of the Pebble Hill School

History: Pebble Hill School

In 1926 a group of Syracuse fathers decided they would like to establish a school outside of the city where their boys would receive the benefits of an academic and physical education to train their minds and bodies for the future. At the time, Goodyear-Burlingame was teaching their daughters and they were looking for a similar school for their sons.

The School was to be structured after the Country Day School concept, where students would have evenings and weekends at home with their family, not away at a boarding school. Meetings were held and the number of interested parents increased. A committee was appointed to find a suitable rural location for this venture. Early in 1927, a part of the Conway Estate on Jamesville Road in Orville (DeWitt) was purchased.

The school was to be non-sectarian, non-profit and the first year would enroll boys ages seven to fifteen. The fee for the Lower School was $275 and the fee for the Upper School was $400. Teachers were hired mainly from New England where the old type Latin Schools and Country Day originated. They were hired because of their academic background and ability to coach sports. If they could not coach, they taught music, art, public speaking and manual training.

Mr. Robert Boyden, a graduate of Harvard University and the former headmaster of several country day schools, was selected to be headmaster of Pebble Hill. Mr. Boyden assisted with the planning and construction of classrooms, a gymnasium, tennis courts, and playing fields (formerly an orchard).

Pebble Hill School opened on September 20, 1927. Forty-nine boys were enrolled on opening day and by the time the school year ended there were 65 students. In 1928, attendance increased to 100 and the School was off to an excellent beginning. The first graduating class was in 1931.

Before 1929, all Pebble Hill students had their classes in the Farmhouse. With the construction of a new building in 1929, the Upper School was moved out of the Farmhouse. In 1935, all the buildings on campus were remodeled, new heating systems were installed, and the Farmhouse was painted white.

In 1952 Pebble Hill School welcomed girls, which was about the time that Goodyear-Burlingame closed its doors. The Lower and Middle Schools moved to the newly constructed Bradlee Building in 1955. At the same time the Farmhouse was painted red and the classrooms were converted into a dining center for students.

The Pebble Hill campus grew over the years to include numerous buildings. In the late 1960s the school was doing so well it was bursting at the seams. To accommodate its growth, Pebble Hill merged with The Manlius School in 1970.

The Farmhouse (dating back to 1832) is still used today. In 1991, MPH created a Pre-kindergarten program and until 2006, it was housed on one side of the building. That space is now used for after-school programs. The basement, with its original dirt floor, contains the academic records for all the former students of The Manlius School, Pebble Hill, and MPH. The first floor contains the office of admissions, a conference room and the board room. The office of the Head of School, Business offices, and Community Programs offices are located on the second floor. The attic and cupola are used for storage. What began as a home of one family has evolved into a home for many children and today is the heart of the Manlius Pebble Hill School campus.