Photo of the Week


“How shall we know it is us without our past?”
– John Steinbeck   


Riverhead High School Buildings, 1899 – 1924


Riverhead High School Class of 1917. (Image from the Suffolk County Historical Society Library Archives. Copyright Suffolk County Historical Society. All rights reserved.)


Graduates in the 1917 photo, left to right: Front row (seated): Marion Terry, Lansing Hawkins, Marietta Downs, Dewey Adams, Julia Homan, Robert Barker, Grace Corwin. 2nd row (standing): Rose Nelson, Robert Lee, Ida Goldman, Earl B. Robinson (school principal), Althea Tyte, Moncrief Jefferson, Marion Howell, Louise Dunbar. Back row: Henrietta Naber, Amy Smith, Agnes Becker, Norman Bess, Carrie Squires, Grace Meyer.

In 1899 in Riverhead, a new two-story wooden school building was completed in time for the opening of the school year. Located on the west side of Roanoke Avenue, the building was heated by coal-burning hot-air furnaces and contained twelve classrooms and an assembly room in the attic. There were outside bicycle racks, basement activity rooms, a principal’s office, and electric bells. It was considered the finest public elementary and four-year high school in Suffolk County. The new school employed eight teachers.

In 1908, a four-classroom addition was constructed, and in 1916 fire escapes were erected to enable quicker evacuation of the classroom floors. By the 1920s, the school was overcrowded, and in 1924, a new three-story brick high school was built on Roanoke Avenue just south of the 1899 building, which continued to be used as an elementary school. By the mid-1930s, both Roanoke Avenue schools were overcrowded, and a new junior-senior high school was built on the fairgrounds on Pulaski Street. The 1924 Roanoke Avenue building was converted to an elementary school and remains one today. The 1899 wooden building remained vacant and burned down in 1940.

Suggested Reading: Riverhead: The Halycon Years, 1861-1919, by Thomas M. Stark (Maple Hill Press, 2005). 


Read about the history of the U.S. Juneteenth Federal Holiday here:

HOLIDAY CLOSURE: We will be closed on Saturday, June 17, 2023 in observance of the Juneteenth Holiday. We will reopen on Weds., June 21 at 10:00 a.m. 


Copyright © 2023 Suffolk County Historical Society. All rights reserved. 

Suffolk County Historical Society
300 West Main St.
Riverhead, NY 11901



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