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Watts School


4th & Edwards

Principals | Faculty | Staff | Sports | Classes | School History | Recollections

? Thomas
Carrie M. S. Pipes (c. 1928, 1929)
Charles Spain (? - 1950 - ?) - 1

Faculty: Some Teachers:

Ms. Brinkley - 3rd grade - 2

Ms. Phillips - kindergarten - 2

Mrs. Rice - music - 2

Mrs. Townsend - 6th grade - 2

Mrs. Wilson - 4th grade - 2


Sports: Some Coaches/Athletic Directors:


School History: The following sketch on the naming of the school is from the Manual of the Public Schools of the City of Chester, PA. It was written by Principal Thomas of the Watts School:

"The subject of this sketch was born a slave in Charlotte Hall, St. Mary's Co., Md., in the early fall of 1850, and was set free by the Civil War at the age of 13. Mr. Watts came to Chester in the early '70's and opened a small green grocery store, in which he developed quite a lucrative business. He served with credit as a Director of the Poor of Delaware Co., was a school director in the borough of South Cheater for twelve years and was also treasurer of the Board for one term. He was deeply interested in the establishment of the public school at Fourth and Edwards Sts., in 1889, and it is eminently fitting that it should now bear his name. He died of typhoid-pneumonia on the 8th day of March, 1894, mourned by hundreds of friends, both white and colored."

Recollections: "I have such fond memories of this school, which I entered in 1944 at the age of 6.  Teachers I remember include Ms. Phillips, my wonderful kindergarten teacher; Ms. Brinkley, my stern 3rd grade teacher; Mrs. Wilson, my genteel 4th grade teacher; Mrs. Rice, our gifted music teacher; and Mrs. Townsend, my demanding 6th grade teacher.  All were extraordinary in their expectation that collectively their students would go on to promote social justice for "colored" or "Negro" people (terms commonly used at that time).

I also remember Mr. Taylor, who monitored the crosswalks and served as the overall facilities manager. I believe Mr. Taylor could call each of us by name and in some ways served as a surrogate father.

One of the most forward-thinking characteristics of Watts Elementary School was its interest in carefully fostering the social development of its students, even boy-girl relationships.  Every Friday night, Mr. Taylor and one or two teachers monitored a dance for children in the upper grades, using Ms. Phillip's large kindergarten classroom. That classroom was our safe place on Friday evenings, a place where we stretched our abilities to get along with each other and to support each other's total development.

The May Days were extravaganzas that attracted the entire school community. Girls and boys were meticulously dressed in white and danced, marched, and wrapped the May pole lithely, guided by the melodies and syncopations of diverse music."

- Mary Carter-Williams, Ph.D.

"I attended Watts School for all of my elementary years, moving on to Douglas Junior High School. I remember "May Day"' most of all. The girls were required to wear beautiful white dresses. Each class presented some type of exercise outside on the playground. The highlight of the day was "wrapping the May pole". All of the children attending Watts were black."

- Joan Watson Short, Class of 1948

"I remember attending Watts School in the First grade. I remember Mr Spain, the principal. If my memory is correct, Watts was primarily or exclusively a black school. I remember a lady that lived down the street from the school who had great Sticky Apples for sale. Now they call them Candy Apples. Watts School was only a block from the Roxy Theatre at 4th & Central Avenue."

- R.LaFenus Billups, Lafenus.Billups@accenturewilm.com


Many thanks to the following for providing additional information for this page:

1 - Bob Vaughan

2 - Mary Carter-Williams, Ph.D.






If you have any information and or pictures that you would like to contribute about this school, please forward it to john@oldchesterpa.com

2001, 2002, 2003 John A. Bullock III.

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This page last updated 10/18/05