Quincy, Mass. Historical and Architectural Survey

318 Hancock Street

2 Quincy North High School at 318 Hancock Street was built as North Junior High School in 1926 at a cost of $450,000. A large wing was added to the east end of the building in 1931 and the school was transformed into North Quincy High School and graduated its first class of seniors in 1934. North Quincy High School came to another crossroads in the 1970's when the school, seriously antiquated, received a probationary accreditation. The City was forced to decide whether to build a new high school for North Quincy, a new high school to consolidate North Quincy High School and Quincy High School or to make a major investment in updating North Quincy High School. Amid much acrid turmoil, the decision was made to add to North Quincy High School and totally renovate the existing building.

The architect for both the original 1926 North Junior High School and its 1931 and 1936 wings was the well known Frank Irving Cooper, who began his architectural study under Henry Hobson Richardson and eventually became a recognized expert on school design. Together with Elmer Smith Bailey (Cooper & Bailey) he had previously designed the Atherton Hough School, 1083 Sea Street in 1911. The architects for the major additions/renovation in late 1970's were the Colletti Brothers of Hingham.

John J. Donovan and others. School Architecture Principles and Practices. The Macmillan Company. New York, 1921.
William Churchill Edwards. Historic Quincy. Massachusetts, 1957. p. 149.
Massachusetts Historical Commission files.
Original plans. Maintenance Department. Quincy Public Schools.
Quincy Patriot Ledger. August 29. 1939; February 13. 1979. p. 6.
Quincy Sun. February 27. 1986. p. 5.

In 1921, Frank Irving Cooper, Chairman, National Education Committee on Standarization of Schoolhouse Planning and Construction contributed a chapter, entitled "Standards of Schoolhouse Planning" in School Architecture Principles and Practices by John J. Donovan, B. S and others. Pages 569-574. He wrote,"The increasing flexiblty of educational courses, the changes which this imposes upon schoolhouse design, and the economic pressure, all emphasize the imperative need of fundamental standards in schoolhouse planning....it is the duty of the school architect to provide them (pupils, teachers, principals and superintendents) with a plant which shall be 100 percent efficent, so far as the structural element is concerned....The design of the modern school structure should be elastic, not unyielding...The architect must be a man of vision. He must have in mind provision for the school of tomorrow, a school of new standards." It was this expert on school design who was chosen to be the architect of the North Quincy High School. He adhered to his own 1921 standards on the 1926 first section of the school, modern, efficient with a facade totally fenestrated with simple large rectangular openings separated by thin vertical wall strips. In 1931, he designed the east wing and in 1936, the west wing, each placed at a wide angle to the origanal structure, creating a pleasing wide angular curved building, unified under a plain bracketed cornice. Architectural ornamention is focused on the central entrance (see photo) composed of double doors, capped by an entablature decorated with a raised design of an open book amid Vitruvian scrolls. Short, thick composite Ionic columns, topped by a balustraded balcony, flank this entrance. Other decorative elements are found on the solid, brick diapered patterned wall of the additions: an arched plaque, edged with a classical border and filled with the works,"Liberty Cannot be Preserved Without A General Knowledge Among The People." John Adams, Class of 1960 on the east side, while on the west side, a similar plaque reads, "Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You - Ask What You Can Do For Your Country." John F. Kennedy, Class of 1961. With the 1960 Coletti Brothers addition in the rear, the building became T shaped. The North Quincy High School is one of Quincy's finest large institutional buildings.