The Huntington Sewing and Trade School has been around since the early 1900s and is the home of the Huntington Historical Society. It was purchased by the Historical Society in 1982 and is used for administrative services as well as the society’s resource center. This building has been a part of Huntington for decades and played a positive role in its growth and success.
In addition, Huntington Sewing and Trade School was the first vocational school in the United States. The school taught many woman the important skills needed to keep a house and daily life moving forward as well as many trades to the men and young boys. Its classes included English, cooking and the arts as well as religion.
Many photographs of children in class at the trade school can be found in the Huntington Historical Society’s archives. Looking at those photos allows anyone to step back in time and see how different life was compared to today. It truly puts things into perspective.
The school building was designed by Cady, Berg and See in 1905, the same designers that created the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Building across the street. Their resume holds works of art such as the Metropolitan Opera House and The American Museum of Natural History. However, their specialty was school buildings. They showcased the Tudor Revival style in the trade school, which was very popular at the time.
I love the architecture of this building. The next time you are walking by on Main Street be sure to take a good look at all of its unique characteristics. Its decorative accents are a combination of medieval and colonial design. The whole purpose of this style was so the building looked different and not as commercial as the rest. Think of the Arts and Crafts movement and this style fits it like a glove.
The arched doorway is typical for Tudor design and you can see Medieval accents in the hinged brackets and door knob palette. The brick and stone exterior plays on natural elements of the earth and the details in the wood is elegant and clean. Nothing is too loud, yet the building exerts power and strength. I love that. The second floor windows are beautiful and I feel they add that crafty touch.
Around the 1900s, Main Street along with New York Avenue was the center of town just as it is today. With all of its businesses and the great location, Huntington was an ideal place to live. The Huntington Sewing and Trade School was in the middle of it all, helping people learn and grow so that the community could gain success. It’s surely a place that will never be forgotten.