1963: A New School Called Wedgewood

  • Knowing Rush-Henrietta needed yet another elementary school in the early 1960s, district leaders decided to take a different approach. Instead of building a school that would attract new homes, the next school - casually referred to as Wedgewood Elementary - was designed to fit into a community as it was being developed.

    “This is the first time we have been in a position to plan this way for a new school,” Dr. John Parker, the district’s first superintendent, told the Democrat and Chronicle in 1961. “Usually, school boards have to guess where building will take place when planning schools.”

    The school was planned as part of Henrietta’s new Wedgewood subdivision, located north of the Dome Arena and Calkins Road. A June 1963 story in The Henrietta Post announced the school at 85 Shell Edge Drive would be named for David B. Crane.

    Eleanor Kalsbeck, Henrietta town historian, recommended Crane for the honor. According to The Post, “The board’s decision to name the school after the early educator is in line with their policy of selecting names from local persons actively interested in education.”

    In 1826, Crane, became the first principal of the Monroe Academy. Located at the corner of East Henrietta and Lehigh Station roads, the Academy was described as “the first institution of higher learning west of the Hudson River.” A March 14, 1974, story in The Henrietta Post, says, "Mr. Crane was asked to take four shares in the school and he also contributed a substantial sum toward the purchase of the bell." He left in 1830 and the next year founded a boys’ school at an Episcopal church in Rochester.

    Crane Elementary School opened in September 1963. Constructed at a cost of $1.4 million, it was designed to accommodate more than 700 students. It sits on a 15-acre lot that was acquired for $31,000 after a community vote in May 1961.

    Adding the new school proved essential to the success of the district. As Crane was opening in 1963, the number of students attending Rush-Henrietta rose by 500 to 5,400. That’s an increase of more than 10 percent in a single calendar year. Despite its best efforts, the district was barely keeping pace with demand.

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