The Bay City Times - Saturday, September 21, 1940
Trombley School Is One of City’s Oldest
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Today’s history of the Trombley school is the second in a series of stories relating to the background of various buildings in the city public school system which The Bay City Times is publishing each Saturday. Next week’s article will tell the story of the origin and growth of Riegel school.)
Destruction by fire of a four-room frame building in 1877 in school district, No. 1, necessitated the erection of Trombley school in 1878, now one of the oldest school buildings in the city.
At the time of the school’s construction transportation with Bay City and its environs was either by foot, horse and carriage, by boat or by horse cars. There was a horse-car line from Bay City to Portsmouth, annexed to the city in 1873. Electric lines hadn’t appeared yet. They were something to interest residents of 1887, and were first inaugurated in West Bay City. Two years before the wooden Third street bridge was replaced by the steel span.
Bay Cityans at this time were just realizing how important agriculture was to the welfare of the community. They were seeing the opportunities offered in the rich land hereabout which for years writers had claimed were useless swamps. They began to realize that agriculture was the answer to the slump that was sure to appear after adjacent acreages were sheared of the timber that had attracted settlers.
Add 10 Rooms
However, there was still plenty of activity here connected with lumbering, and the F. W. Wheeler shipyard, not far from the Trombley school, was at the height of its industry. In fact after the erection of the school its four rooms were not enough to accommodate the children of families located here to work in the yards. The small one-room buildings erected for use during the school’s construction were still found necessary, until later four wings were added giving in all 10 rooms.
In this building, which received a rating of “good” on three determining factors of instructional efficiency in a survey of public schools made by a committee headed by Benjamin Klager, superintendent of schools, were graduated two high school classes, one in 1881 and the other in 1883. The building was judged “good” on its basement, safety, and water supply, and “fair” on administration, class rooms, general condition, heating, equipment, natural lighting and lavatory system, and poor on 11 points.
Location is Poor
Its location was considered poor by the committee and it was recommended that a new site be obtained as the first step toward a new building. Playground and recreational facilities were recommended for development in connection with the proposed new site. A strong adult and recreational program for the district was also advocated.
The school received its name from David Trombley, member of the board of education after the consolidation of Salzburg, Wenona and Banks school systems. The name was chosen to honor Trombley’s father, first pioneer of the village of Banks. E. J. Demorest was principal, and during the first few years after consolidation an eighth grade class was sent into Western High school each year. Later two classes were transferred each year.
Although the school building is far from being perfect, many improvements have been made. It has a gymnasium, 10 class rooms, a kitchen and office. Pleasant features are large high-ceilinged, well lighted rooms and wide central halls.
In 1907 the then recently organized Civic League, under the leadership of Mrs. G. Birney Jennison and Mrs. A. E. Bousfield, undertook landscaping a portion of the school grounds. The project was so successful that for years this was one of the beauty spots of the city. In April 1939 a branch of the Sage library was installed on a corner of the school property.
Miss Romelda Bammel is principal of the school at the present time, and here staff includes Margaret Griffiths, Katherine E. McDonald, Olive B. Mosher, Caroline O. Richardson, Janet Rowley, Minnie Sharp, Elizabeth Shearer, Florence Novakowski, and John Fraker.