Edgar C. Stiles School
It was just a few days before the long Thanksgiving weekend. The boy sat in the first grade classroom at Stiles School, looking out the window in the direction of the Armstrong factory, and wondering what it must be like to make tires all day in a factory. His father had told him that it was hot and dangerous work, and that the factory never closed—it ran both day and night.
The boy wondered why the people were made to stay in that factory around the clock, working and working, and never getting a chance to sleep. Didn’t they get tired? Did their families miss them?
In the distance, he could hear Miss Oppertshauser’s voice droning on and on about numbers, or spelling, or something. He had liked kindergarten, with Miss Skinner and Mrs. Jorgensen, but his first grade teacher was just plain mean. Maybe she didn’t like boys. Or maybe she just didn’t like daydreamers, which was too bad, because the boy had always been a dreamer, and thus he would always be.
He couldn’t yet tell time by the clock on the wall, but he could see the shadows moving across the parking lot behind the school, and so he knew that class would be letting out soon. In fact, there was his bus—number 87—just now pulling up beneath the classroom window.
Stiles School was operating on something his mother called “double session” and for now the boy only went to school in the afternoons. When he got home, it would almost be suppertime. He would get off the bus, go into the house, change into his play clothes and play with his baby brother while he waited for his father to come home. After that, he would–
“Daniel, just what are you looking at out there?!?”
Abruptly, the dream snapped shut; The Dreamer was in trouble once again.
It is a fact that the boy had always wondered who this man Stiles was, and what someone had to do in order to get their name on the front of a school. Well, the story goes like this…
In 1863, a son was born to a Hartford couple, Frances Thresher Stiles and Levi Stiles. Young Edgar Stiles, whose father was a harness maker, grew up in Hartford and graduated second in his class from Hartford Public High School in 1882.
He then continued his education at Yale, graduating in 1886. Stiles immediately began his career in education, as a school principal in Norwalk from 1886-1887. From 1887-1889, he served as a principal in Litchfield; then from 1889-1898, he served as the principal of Seymour High School. Finally, in 1898 Edgar C. Stiles took the position of Superintendent of Schools in West Haven, a position he would hold until his death in 1933.
To be continued