In 1836, a Baptist seminary was established at this spot, but later it was demolished and replaced by the existing structure, designed by J.C. Dumaresq. Dumaresq was the architect behind the Provincial Legislature and several other significant public edifices across the Maritime Provinces.
The inauguration of construction in 1891 is celebrated by the carved keystone of the front arch. After its opening in 1893, this structure served as the Fredericton High School up until 1925, boasting some of Fredericton’s finest brickwork.
In 1785, the newly appointed governor, Colonel Thomas Carleton, was taken with the charm of St. Anne’s Point, prompting him to establish his headquarters there. A month later, he renamed it Fredericton and declared it the Capital of the Province. As he began to run the Province with a military emphasis, he ordered a fresh survey of the capital. Areas were designated for military use, a public common, a farmers market, the Church of England, and a School. This newly formed School would later evolve into Fredericton High School.
Fredericton High School and the University of New Brunswick originated in a small wooden structure situated near the banks of the Saint John River. This institution, known as the Provincial Academy of Arts and Sciences, was run entirely on Anglican principles and its curriculum was exclusively classical. It only catered to a handful of male students and did not allow the admission of girls. In a stark contrast to those days, UNB Saint John recently reported a gender ratio of 50/50.
Although Fredericton High School and The University of New Brunswick both started in this modest wooden building by the St. John River, they soon required more space to grow. By 1829, the University had set up on the hillside, and the academy had relocated to Brunswick Street. This newly relocated School would later become known as the Collegiate Grammar School. Only two red-brick buildings of the original Fredericton High School remain in the city’s older section: the old York Street School, built where the old Baptist Seminary once stood, and the George Street School (now a middle school), built on the location of the old Park Barracks.
Regulations for the Collegiate Grammar School at Fredericton were approved by the Council of King’s College on November 19, 1829. The guidelines stipulated cleanliness and proper attire for every student and the preservation of school property. There were also provisions for two annual vacations: a four-week-long summer break and a two-week-long (a fortnight) winter break. It is noteworthy that vacation times at FHS have seen a significant increase over the past 178 years.
In 1829, the School branched into two divisions, marking the point when the Collegiate Grammar School became autonomous. Two departments were established: English and Grammar. The Grammar School taught thirty boys using the “Westminster” system, grooming them for both advanced education and life as gentlemen. On the other hand, the “Madras” system was employed in the English department, instructing forty boys in reading, arithmetic, and religious rehearsals. The School didn’t admit girls until 1880.
As FHS approached its final five years at the York Street School from 1920 to 1925, they were faced with considerable challenges. Principal Foster grappled with issues of grooming and truancy for the first time in his career. The senior girls wore ribbons made of tissue paper in their hair due to the high cost of silk, while the senior boys would skip school to catch the afternoon harness races.
In 1924, Fredericton High School relocated to a new edifice at the junction of Regent and George Streets, which is now known as the George Street Middle School. The new school commenced classes in 1925, starting with an enrollment of 425 students. By 1931, an annex comprising five classrooms and a garage was built to cater to the growing student population. Post World War II, Fredericton High School continued to expand, offering academic, commercial, and vocational courses. The graduating class of 1952 was the first to complete a twelve-year program.
As of September 1972, more than 2500 students attended Fredericton High School across different locations. The current FHS building officially opened its doors on Saturday, April 28th, 1973. Before this, students were dispersed, with Grade 10 students studying in the Old Normal School building on Queen Street and the Business Education Department situated in the Old York Street School. The inauguration of the current Fredericton High School was a major occasion, with the architect William J. Lake, engineers, general contractors, district and administrative staff, teachers, and students in attendance.
Today, the building houses condos and is referred to as York House.
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