Liberty St. Project #1 | P.S.6


The Liberty Street School

"Before Washington Heights formed a neighborhood association or worked to rebuild an old dress factory into a neighborhood center, the gathering places for Heights residents were out on the bluff and inside Liberty Street School.


Liberty Street School was constructed in 1891 in response to the burgeoning population on Newburgh’s south side, especially all the new families who had moved to “The Heights.” At the turn of the last century, Newburgh was a commercial powerhouse in the Hudson Valley and most of its citizens, men and women, worked in its many factories. The majority of the plants were located south of Broadway. Knowing that many eligible young people did not attend school (dropping out to help at home or in a family business was common by fourth grade), the city’s Board of Education recognized the need for thorough and practical education for its workforce. Primary and Grammar school levels were given budget and curriculum emphasis in the 1890’s and 1900’s “as to secure the pupils therein the best and most practical education possible.” Teachers were selected who could nurture these children who were often the first in their families to go to school. When it opened, the school hummed with activity during class hours and after hours as well when the neighborhood used its rooms for meetings and social events.

Liberty Street School was Newburgh’s sixth grammar school, a designation still seen carved over the doorway. The elegant building was designed by a home-grown architect, Frank Estabrook. The school was one of his first professional jobs as he set up his practice in his hometown after study at Brooklyn Polytechnic. He designed it to take advantage of abundant natural light and ventilation to be a healthy place for children. It was fashionable in the early 1900’s to train ivy over educational buildings to give them the air of an old campus. Liberty Street School was once ivy-covered as this...image shows. So were other Newburgh grammar schools." 

(from an article by Newburgh historian Mary McTamaney, originally published July 27, 2005, via Newburgh Restoration)


1 Liberty Now

The Liberty Street School's final class left the building in June, 1980. For over thirty years, this beautiful brick building sat unoccupied.

RipRap LLC will repair and build out the school building at 1 Liberty and transform it into a multi-use creative space, giving attention to historic preservation as well as modern green building practices. Cleaning and stabilizing the structure has already begun. The building will include studios for artists and entrepreneurs, as well as flexible spaces for galleries, classes, and community happenings. RipRap is hoping for a harmonious reinvigoration of the school building and the surrounding community.

Please "like" the Facebook page for the School to keep up with this project as it comes to fruition!


Photos of the School taken by a previous owner circa 2001, and acquired by RipRap LLC.