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October 13, 2007


Ron Newman

The Western is now the Tufts Administration Building and the city Senior Center. The Southern was torn down for housing, but the city eventually decided to create Nunziato Field and the Growing Center there instead. Where was the Northeastern?



The Northeastern (which my wife attended) was on Marshall Street. it was razed around 1980. There is a condo development there today which was built ca. 1982. This development was, as I recall, built by Acorn Structures of Acton using their modularized system.

Of the three JHS's, only the Northeastern featured a yellow brick exterior.



I too miss the old Western Jr. High. I missed the only reuion that I can remember. All I know it was a good school and Mr. Jones was a great guy. I sure do miss the school.


Fran Hart

Greetings -

I attended the Western between 1966-67, for all of 7th grade and part of 8th grade before moving to Burlington. I have pretty fond memories of it, my teachers and classmates. Mrs. Reynolds and Mrs. McNally were my homeroom teachers in 7th and 8th grade respectively. The others I remember include Mr. Tighe (social studies), Mr. Donahue (English), Mr. Nunziato (phys ed), Mr. Caven (science), Miss Johnson (Latin). Dr. Della-Colli (sp?) (drafting), was it Mr. Ball (sheet metal) - I might think of more later. I think my 6th-grade teacher (Mrs. Donahue - no relation to Mr. Donahue) moved there from the Hodgkin's as I visted the Western sometime in the late 70's and she was there.

Does anyone know where some online photos might be of the school? I haven't had any luck through searches. How about some documents in the local library or the SJ archives? Is the SJ on microfiche in the local library?


Ron Newman

The Somerville Journal is on microfilm in the Somerville Public Library, though it can be hard to read.

To see what the Western looks like now, go to Google Maps, enter the address "167 Holland Street, Somerville MA 02144", and turn on Street View. Here's a link to that view.

I don't think the exterior of the building has changed much since you attended it, but it now belongs to Tufts University. It also contains a number of city offices, and SCALE (Somerville Center for Adult Learning Experiences). The SCALE page also has a small photo of the entrance way.

Ron Newman

The Somerville School Department or the city's Historic Preservation Commission might have old photos of the Western. No guarantees, but worth checking.

Fran Hart

Thanks for the suggestions Ron!

Fran Hart

To Fran Hart

I hope you are not going to drag up every lame article this guy has wrote?



Thanks for the info on the old pictures of the Western. I graduated from the Western in 1969, the year it burnt and we had to finish out most of the year doing double sessions (12-4PM) with the Southern. I would like to find out if there are some negitives hidden away somewhere of the class pictures we got back then so I can replace the one I have. As you can imagine after almost 40 years it is a bit tattered and torn...Also, I would like to find out about getting copies of year books.

Ron Newman

How badly did the school burn, and how long did it take to reopen it? Did they have to rebuild any of the exterior, or just the inside?

James Norton

Whyme -

If you call the High School, they will probably be able to put you in the right direction as far as yearbooks. If they can't help, you can try the central administration, but I would definitely try the High School first - they have quite the collection of yearbooks and other memorabilia and have the capacity to reproduce stuff in-house.

Jamie Norton


The Western was burnt pretty good. It was a case of arson. It burnt in Oct. 1969 and opened in time for the following school year.

Thanks for the info.


Go to the below link for the library.

Somerville Student Magazines and Yearbooks
1882-1884, 1895 - present (paper and microfilm)
This collection includes the student magazines and yearbooks for Somerville High School Radiator, the Somerville Trade High School Trade Winds and the magazines for the Southern, Western and Northeastern Junior High Schools.


The City Room at the Somerville Public Library has a fairly complete volume set of SHS yearbooks as well.

BTW, the Western was torched over a $10 bet.



Just a question, John (a.k.a. JAR):
When do you think you'll write the definitive book on the history of Somerville? I for one can't wait to read it!

dapper dan

I don't know about a definitive book but a discussion group about life and times in Somerville could be interesting...I know alot about a specific time and place (West Somerville 1972-1980) but very little about other times and places. I think many local historians or historical societies may want to capture these stories before we all get too old.

Any interest in such a group? JAR? Jimmy D?

James Norton

About a book - the idea has been in the back of my mind (and my father's truth be told) - about writing a book. If we got a smaller group together - me, Jimmy Del, JAR and a few others - and started writing about the good, the bad and the ugly of Somerville in the last 40 years, I think we would be able to amass quite the reading material. Then just write it up, edit the hell out of it (double negatives left in of course) and make something special. Hey, it's an idea.

Jamie Norton

Ron Newman

Tricky could contribute a lot to that book, too.


Hey, Jim, I have that rolled-up panoramic class photo from Western.

In it, you're in the front row - they arranged us by height, as I recall - and you're sitting on the ground, crossed-legged, with your elbows resting on your knees, your hands drooping down out of sight of the teachers, and your middle finger is extended.

There's an irresistibly evil smirk on your face.

I also remember Mr. Mackey, waving his ruler in the lunchroom, yelling in that booming trumpet of a voice, "Last call for ice cream! Last call for ice cream!"

jay collins

Does anyone remember the name of the gym teaher at Northeastern JRH in the 70s ? A Mr. Peterson, or Pederson ? And what happened to him if you know ?


Yes, it was Mr. Peterson, according to my wife. She doesn't know what happened to him, however.

The girls' gym teacher at the time was Ms. Tarimino (sp?).



Mr Tom Peterson. Whereabouts unknown. Ms Tarimino became Miss Morris. Sadly she passed away from cancer in the late 80's/ early 90's

Michelle Montgomery

I went to the Western! I had the time of my life there. I miss that old school. Of course I remember Mr Jones! How many times did he have to call us down to his office over the PA system and let us know when we got there that he was incharge of running the scholl and not us?? The class of 1981 - YOU ROCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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