Brayton was part of three school buildings constructed between 1897 and 1898. The other schools were Houghton and Johnson Schools. Brayton was on the west side of the city and facing Pine Cobble, was built very similar to Houghton School which was on the east side of North Adams and it cost $52,601.17. To its left was a flourishing brickyard operation and across the fields one could see the Greylock Cotton and Norad Mills.
Many people questioned the need for three new educational facilities. In the 1898 annual report, the school committee defended the process with these words: “There was a great need of these buildings, and they are certainly none too large, for according to the statistics given in detail in the superintendent’s report every school room in the (old) Brayton, Veazie and Beaver districts was over crowded three years ago and nearly every sitting at Drury and Miner schools occupied. Since 1885, however, there has been an increase of over 900 pupils in the public schools, enough to fill twenty school rooms.” (The average size of a classroom was about 44 students)
A total of 223 students attended the first year of classes at the new Brayton school. Grades eight, seven and six (38 students) were taught together in one room, grades five and four (49 students) were together as were grades three and part of grade two (40 students). The rest of grade two (44 students) was taught in a separate room. Grade one (52 students) also had their own room. The first principal was Miss Eva I. Haskins and her salary was $18.00 a week.
School minstrels became common as the 1900’s began with the help of teachers and parents. In 1949 a skating rink was added during the winter months for the enjoyment of many. In the summers, there was a wading pool. Parents from Brayton and Greylock schools formed the Braylock Parent’s Group sometime in the 1940’s only to change their name to the Brayton-Greylock Parent Teacher’s Group in 1957.
Renovations were needed by 1955 and so new ceilings, lights, plumbing and a new fire sprinkling system was added over the next few years. In 1962, the state ordered the three basement classrooms to be abandoned due to excessive dampness which caused a good amount of mold.
In June of 1960 the Brayton Honor Society was formed and on April 13, 1961 they held their first annual tea at the Howard Johnson’s Restaurant. Society members were 7th and 8th graders who had to achieve the grade of B or better.
After declining student enrollment and lack of funds to maintain the integrity of the school, it was closed in the mid-70’s. Brayton School played an honorable part in the city’s history and contributed to many happy memories.
Adapted from a story for the North Adams Historical Society.