Needham History Center & Museum Needham History Center & Museum, Needham Massachusetts 02492
 

51. the Carter and Avery Schools

The Avery School, circa 1880.  Teacher Miss Hardie is in the upstairs window.

The Avery School was the main elementary school in the Heights for about 50 years.  As it grew crowded, the Carter School was built across the street, and the grades were split.

The Avery School was built in 1869 on land owned by Jonathan Avery, a prominent landowner in the Heights, and important in the development of its knitting industry. He also served the town as Postmaster for the Heights, and as Assessor.  The school was enlarged in 1885, using money from the Wellesley settlement over the division of Needham.  It was replaced by the current brick building in 1906.  It was used as a  school until 1972, and later converted into condominium residences.

The Carter School was named in memory of William Carter.  Carter came to Needham in 1856 as a knitter, and eventually built the largest of Needham’s knitting companies.  The company, still known as Carter’s but no longer family-owned, is now the largest manufacturer of children’s clothing in the world.  Carter served the town as a member of the School Committee, Board of Selectmen, and Library Trustee. He was famous for his generous gifts of land and funds for important town projects. The Carter School was built in 1921; it was closed in 1981 and replaced by the Webster Green complex.

The Carter School, cross the street from the Avery School, circa 1950.

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