After the Civil War, a burgeoning immigrant population in the area of the city of Newark that came to be known as the Ironbound made the building of another public school necessary. In 1868, construction began on Newark Public School # 10. It soon opened to educate the newly settled youngsters from Western Europe. The cost of the structure was fifty-five thousand dollars.
Many of the children and grandchildren of these hard working German and Irish immigrants who worked in the numerous factories that dotted the Ironbound excelled at P.S. 10, later called Carteret School. As adults, many moved out of the area. The turn of the new century ushered in another influx of immigrants from southern Europe began their quest of the American dream. African Americans from the south also immigrated north to find jobs in the countless factories of Newark and settled in the area, too.
Carteret School was expanded twice. The final addition was completed around 1915. Finally, it was renamed Oliver Street School. The faculty continued educating the children of an ever changing immigrant population. During FDR’s administration, the immigration policy allowed more Eastern Europeans into the US in greater numbers so new surnames appeared on the rolls of Oliver Street School. This constant movement of immigrants in and out of the area within a few generations continues to this day.
The richness of Oliver’s past is still evident throughout the building today. Capped gaslight pipes peeping out from the walls and the huge fireplace in room 105 remind us that the comfort of our children was always a priority. The exquisite and ornate arched entrance ceiling, the majestic columns in the auditorium and the hand-carved tiles continue to surround children with beauty. The outside facade is our crowning glory and biggest secret. Just walk across the street, look up and be wowed!
written by Mariarosa DaCosta
Faculty member since September 1971