|Harmony Plains School District, 1873 map|
It was first called the Gravel Hill School, but by the middle of the century had changed its name to the Harmony Plains School. By the 1870s, the Harmony Plains District was one of more than a dozen in Hillsborough Township, each with their own one or two-room schoolhouse.
|Harmony Plains School circa 1900|
But the Harmony Plains name goes back even further, as evidenced by the detail from the 1850 Somerset County map shown below.
|Harmony Plains School 1850 map|
|Harmony Plains School circa 1913.|
Note the student population has more than doubled.
Between 1912 and 1920 Hillsborough's population more than doubled from fewer than 2,500 residents to more than 5,000 - and all of that increase was in the Manville section of the township. After building the two schools, Hillsborough's school board was reluctant to spend any more money on Manville. The two schools were forced to go to split sessions and use substandard basement classrooms to relieve overcrowding. The issue came to a head in 1928 when New Jersey withheld Hillsborough's state school aid until a plan was in place to relieve the problem.
|Main Street School, Manville circa 1930s|
By that time a few of the school board members were from Manville, and they were able to form a coalition to push through an acceptable solution. Hillsborough agreed to add four rooms to Manville School 1 and build a completely new school, which became Roosevelt School. Hillsborough also used the opportunity to build a new school for themselves - but that is for a future post.
|Demolition of Main Street School, December 1984|