The City of Trenton exists at the crossroads of history and progress. In many ways, our community is defined by its history: from the Revolutionary War to the birth of our nation, Trenton’s residents of days gone by have been eyewitnesses to some of the most critical events in our nation’s history. On the other hand, however, Trenton’s legacy has also been defined by its progress. Over the years, Trenton has been a strategic military location, a manufacturing hub, a governance place, and much more. As the years go by, each passing generation grows attached to the sites and sounds which defined their time in the Capital City.

When relics of the past are lost to time or other factors, making peace for those with attachments to the location can be difficult. Although memories live in the minds of those who witnessed this place in time, they can often evoke complicated emotions when a community relic is no longer what it once was. This phenomenon is especially relevant to the former students of Junior No. 1, a famed Trenton school of the 20th century. On May 15th, 2023, tragedy struck when Junior No. 1 was set ablaze, leaving significant damage in its path. To share memories and mementos of this iconic building’s time, the Trenton City Museum invites you to a conversation, “Trenton’s Junior No. 1 After the Fire.”

On Saturday, August 5th, guests are invited to the Trenton City Museum to discuss Junior No. 1 and this recent fire’s impact on the building’s legacy. The conversation will begin at 1 pm at the Ellarslie Mansion, 299 Parkside Ave., Trenton, NJ 08606. Admission is $10 for non-members and $5 for members of the Trenton City Museum. If you plan on attending, tickets can be reserved online here: Tickets – TCM. You can also purchase tickets for the day off at the door.

Designed by acclaimed architect William A. Poland, the famed school opened its doors in 1916 to hundreds of Trenton youth. Most recently, Junior No. 1 was the subject of a history and photography exhibit by Karl J. Flesch in 2021, which you can take a peek at here: K. Flesch – TCM. Now, Karl J. Flesch will be facilitating this particular conversation to help once again relieve the memories of this incredible school. Throughout the afternoon, important topics will be covered, including:

  • Why it mattered to Mayor Donnelly that the Board of Education build the school in its location
  • Why it was the first Junior High School in the east
  • The school’s renowned architect, William A. Poland
  • The reason for the new school’s delayed opening in 1916
  • Photos of the abandoned school before the fire; pictures during and after the fire
  • The construction of Trenton’s other junior high schools

Following the conversation, there will be a Q&A discussion to review any inquiries the audience may have.

No doubt a formative memory for hundreds of Trentonians, this particular conversation is precisely what the community needs following this May’s tragic fire. If you have questions or want to learn more before the discussion, please get in touch with the Trenton City Museum at (609) 989-1191 or for additional details. A walk down memory lane awaits you, so secure your spot today!

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