Old Haverhill High Classroom Uncovered in $115,000 City Hall Project

A blackboard is uncovered as the offices of the Haverhill Retirement Board in City Hall receive a $115,000 makeover. (WHAV News photograph.)

A little bit of old Haverhill High School is being exposed as Haverhill undertakes a $115,000 renovation project on the third floor of what is now City Hall.

The Haverhill Retirement Board has temporarily relocated to a corner meeting room on the third floor as its offices are reconstructed. High ceilings, hardwood flooring and an intact blackboard were exposed as workers remove a 1973-era partition that had divided what was once a front-facing classroom.

Once workers removed a bulletin board overlay, the old chalk board was found intact.

It was in this building, somewhere between 1936 and 1939, Robert W. Montana was said to have conceived of characters and places for the Archie comic book.

The building was designed as the new Haverhill High School in 1909 by famed architect C. Willis Damon. HHS moved from the building when its new Monument Street building opened in 1964. Amesbury students used it from 1964 until the 1969 when fire destroyed Amesbury High School. It was later used for Northern Essex Community College before becoming City Hall following the urban renewal demolition of the 1861-era City Hall. The old City Hall had survived an 1888 fire that gutted the building and had to be rebuilt.

Work is expected to be completed before the end of the summer.

6 thoughts on “Old Haverhill High Classroom Uncovered in $115,000 City Hall Project

  1. The newest high school on Monument Street opened in the fall of 1963. I was in the first class to enter there as Freshmen that fall, the first to attend all four years, graduating in 1967.

  2. I read once that Bob Montana had drawn a cartoon on a blackboard at the old high school, and it was left undisturbed for many years. Supposedly, it was lost sometime during the Amesbury/NECC/City Hall renovations. Apparently, the blackboard in the photo doesn’t have a cartoon, but it holds out hope that the Montana blackboard may still exist. PS–the old City Hall dates from 1861/62. The 1848 Town Hall on the same site quickly became obsolete with the exploding population growth, and the new Hall was built after only a dozen or so years of use of the old Hall.

    • Thank you Curmudgeon! The correction was made. This is the problem when referring to Chase’s History of Haverhill which concludes during that era. Patricia Trainor O’Malley’s book, “A New England City: Haverhill, Massachusetts” was a better source.