Newburgh Free Academy Message Board
N.F.A. Message Board

   -       -   

NFA Message Board

Post a reply || Back to NFA Message Board

Friends of Old Historic Balmville School

Delete this post Submitted by Michael J. Hernandez NFA Cl-73 <> on 26/Jul/2016


~ "Friends of Old Historic Balmville" ~

I'd like to know if those of you, wherever you are now, who had grown up in or near Balmville, and had attended the Balmville School during the early years of your youth, would be interested in forming a historical organization/group, This would be totally Informal; solely on a volunteer basis, and something started and keep it going. It would be to help support the restoration and preservation of some of the landmarks that still remain there, so that its legacy will continue to remain alive. Please contact me - Michael (Mickey) Hernandez - NFA~1973.

I can be contacted at (602) 410-3984 or E-mail:


Article from the Record - Town of Newburgh — Town of Newburgh 10/17/2007

When Annie Delano-Hitch gave money to build the "new" Balmville School in 1897, she hoped it would serve the community for years to come. She got her wish, and then some. It's still standing 110 years later, though it's been more than two decades since any classes met there. Now the end of the line appears to have come for what is now known as the "old" Balmville School. The Newburgh school board says the two-story brick building is unstable and poses a health and safety hazard even to those just walking or parking outside. An architectural firm recommended taking down the building. The board agreed and recently authorized spending up to $375,000 to do that. It's hard to argue with the reality of an architect's report. Nevertheless, if the old school comes down, there will be a few tears shed. Charles Rapalje's been teaching at Balmville for 40 years, and when he started, his classroom was in the basement of the "old" building, sharing the floor with an art room. "It was a great building," said Rapalje, who hopes to save a little piece of it for posterity. Specifically, there's a stone plaque in the side wall with the inscription: "Balmville School. District No. 1. Town of Newburgh. Erected A.D. 1897." If it can be done, Rapalje hopes to save that plaque and some of the surrounding bricks to form a memorial on the grounds of the "new" Balmville School (which was built in the 1950s). The 1897 school was built when the student population at the original Balmville School (long since demolished), on what is today the Desmond Estate on Albany Post Road, outgrew the space. A well-known local family came to the district's aid: Warren Delano donated the land at Route 9W and Fostertown Road, and his daughter Annie Delano-Hitch (who was Franklin Delano Roosevelt's aunt) gave money for the project. The school filled the Balmville district's needs until 1953, when enrollment topped 200. It floated a bond to build the present Balmville School on land purchased 14 years earlier across the street for a playground, but the district continued to use the old school, too. In the mid-1980s, after it was no longer used for classes, it became office space for the buildings and grounds department, as well as storage space. District spokesman Tom Fitzgerald said there's no timetable for the project, but demolition probably will happen before winter comes. Most likely, he said, the site will become an expanded parking lot for the school.

President FDR's eldest son, who was BGen. James (Jimmy) Roosevelt USMC (Ret.) happened to be a 1st Lt in Carlson's Raiders (USMC 1st Raider Bn.) down there in the South Pacific during WW II and went on to Command the USMC 4th Raider Bn., when he had picked up Lt. Col., which eventually had gone on into China and became the 4th Marine Regiment, "4th MARINES", the "China Marines"!!! 

Replies to this post

Reply to this post

Your Name + Year:

E-mail (required):

NFA Alumni Name + Year for Memorial:


Insert smileys (Opens a new window)
Disable smileys