The New Method of Education

Professor Whittemore and the New Method of Education

The Whittemore Block was a wooden, three-story tenement house that was built in 1844 by John Hutchinson and stood until 1950, when it was torn down to build the Tydol Flying-A-Station. In addition to providing housing in its later years, the building also held public and private school classes over the years. The Milford Cabinet called Professor William Lewis Whittemore, who owned the building, “possibly the most famous, and perhaps the most interesting teacher, who ever attempted to educate Milford youngsters.” A disciple of Horace Mann and a proponent of the normal school movement, Milford High School’s third principal (and its only teacher for some 80 pupils), Whittemore had a storied, and sometimes controversial career. As the title of his posthumous book, “The New Method of Education” suggests, he attempted to move local education forward with progressive ideas. At one point a seemingly innocuous plan to use high school girls to teach kindergarteners under his supervision, led to Whittemore resigning, purchasing the three-store building to later bare his name and setting up a private school on the grounds.

A truly heart-warming 1904 gathering on his 80th birthday brought together dozens of his former students to honor him. In his final years, Whittemore, then heavily bearded, was often seen puttering around the gardens to the rear of the building in his long, linen duster.

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