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School History
School History

The original Schenevus Academy was built in 1872. It was a wood structure located on Arch Street. A new brick high school was built in 1911 and replaced the original wood frame Schenevus Academy. The former school building served as a glove shop, fire department, and auction house before it was finally torn down in 1976 to make way for the Snyder Apartments.

In 1941, the schools of Westford, Maryland & Schenevus combined to form a central school district and built a new school building, named the Andrew S. Draper Central School at a cost of $242,047. In November of 1993, the $5.5 million school addition was dedicated. It added 5 Elementary & 3 Middle School classrooms, 2 Music rooms, a Tech room, a Science Lab & the Vincent A. Ciliberti Gym for the 410 students. The Oct 1990 vote to approve was 347 to 216. In 2003 a new bus garage was constructed providing the district with six bus bays, a working garage with lifts, a wash bay and bathroom facilities for the athletic fields. Lastly, in 2015, the voters approved a $6.7 million building project with a focuses on energy efficiency and modernization. Construction will begin in the summer of 2016.

Excerpt from the 1945 Yearbook

-- PROGRESS OF EDUCATION --

Indeed remarkable advances have been made in the educational system of this vicinity during a period of about 145 years. The progress will be recorded in this summary of education as three steps.

The first step: A log cabin served as the first "place of learning" and was built in the year 1800. In this crude school house, the elementary"three R's" were taught. The usual school term was the four summer months and if school was conducted during the winter season it was necessary for the parents of each child attending to supply a certain amount of wood for heating the building. Teaching standards were low and the instructors were all poorly paid. The log cabin was replaced in later years by Schenevus Academy.

The second step was made by the consolidation of the many small school districts, and as a result of this consolidation Schenevus High School was erected in 1911. Quoting from Schenevus High School Catalog of 1921, we find, "The building contains the best heating, lighting and ventilation facilities up to this time." The five school districts in the town of Westford combined in the early 1900's and the Westford Union School was built. Secondary or four year high school education was added to the already taught elementary or grade education. A revised curriculum, used by both the Schenevus High School and the Westford Union School, included vocational subjects in addition to the regular academic subjects.

The third step of progress as begun when citizens residing in the townships of Maryland, Milford, Roseboom, Decatur and Westford voted on June 30,1939, to have a centralized school. Now the school pupil has an advantage over the scholar of former days because he is instructed by highly trained teachers of college status, who are well paid for their services. The school syllabus contains a variety of information and interesting studies. The school today not only trains not only trainsthe mind buy physical education and health are also taught. Today the magnificent structure which stands in Schenevus and has been named for the great educator, Andrew Sloan Draper, is a symbol of the steady improvement and progress that has been made in the educational facilities of this vicinity, through the efforts of many, over a period of time.
Legends and Folklore
The Legend of Chief Schenevus

On South Hill...across from Chaseville, there is a place called Manaho Gorge. It is named for "Manaho," the only daughter of Chief Schenevus. Years ago, the now tine brook was a roaring stream which flowed into a foaming waterfall & cascaded down into a tranquil pool at the base of the gorge. It was here that the great tragedy of the tribe of Chief Schenevus...the tribe of the Speckled Trout occurred.

Schenevus was an Indian Chieftain in the region of the Susquehanna River. There was no Chief as powerful & feared as he. Chief Schenevus had many warriors under his command. He also had many scalps which hung in his wigwam. But even more than all his power, Chief Schenevus loved his daughter, Manaho. Manaho was light of foot, light of heart, happy and loving. Her voice was like rippling water and her form was like the passing of a soft breeze.

There were many lovers who sought the favor of Manaho, but she loved only one man...his name was Manatee, son of Wameto. Manaho and Manatee's favorite retreat was the pool at the bottom of the falls, in what is now called Manaho Gorge. One evening, while gazing into the pool, the young lovers' happy faces were mirrored side by side on it's tranquil surface. "Look," said Manaho, "we are there together." Manatee replied, "It is a sign from the Great Spirit that where I am, there you shall always be."

One clear summer morning, the braves of Chief Schenevus set out to hund deer. Manatee took the trail that led along the edge of the gorge. Another brave, named Ghangu, (who also loved Manaho), followed Manatee closely. At the edge of the gorge, high above the pool, Manatee stopped. He bent over the edge to gaze at the pool beneath. Ghangu took this opportunity to catch Manatee off guard. He sprung forward and pushed Manatee into the gorge. As he fell, the pines on the hill echoed Manatee's dying wail. The waters of the pool stirred greatly as they received him but were quick to close over him peacefully. Ghangu departed and was never seen again.

Later that evening, all of the hunters returned. All that is, except Manatee. Manaho, thinking that perhaps he was waiting for her at the gorge, went to the edge above the pool. He was not there. She leaned forward to gaze at the waters below and staring up at here were her lover's cold, still eyes. Manaho looked again and there mirrored on the surface, were their two faces side by side. It was then that she remembered the words of Manatee; "It is a sign from the Great Spirit that wherever I am, there you shall always be."

The two young lovers were found dead beneath the watery surface of the pool. Upon hearning the sad news of their discovery, the village mourned greatly for Manaho, the last blood of Chief Schenevus.

Since then, years have passed. It is said that even now, when twilight falls and the wind blow through Manaho Gorge, and echo in the hills still whispers, "Where you are, there too I shall always be."

What was then a great stream is now only a trickle, but there is a huge stone at the base of the falls where the pool of water lies, which bears a great red stain. It was here that the life blood of Manaho and Manatee was mingled.

So ends the legend of Chief Schenevus and Manaho Gorge.

Thank you to Chief Schenevus Restaurant and Bakery for sharing a pamphlet containing this legend.

Gold In Schenevus

During the Revolutionary War, it is said that Tories and Indians passed through the town of Maryland many times. There is a vague belief that during these trips, the Tories and Indians hid gold, believed to be either stolen or belonging to the British, near Schenevus. This belief was handed down and kept alive by descendants of the Tories and Indians, who visited Schenevus at various times aroused attention with their supposed strange movements, There is a story which goes along with this belief, and it goes as follows:

In 1870, an Indian claiming to be a medical doctor arrived in Schenevus. Soon after his arrival, two strangers drove up to a farmhouse a mile or two from Schenevus, had their horses put into a stable, and went off by themselves. They were seen in certain fields, apparently in search for something. After a couple of hours, they returned to the farm, got their horses, and left. A few days later, they came back at early evening, put their horses in the stable, and went away, only to return sometime during the night and ride off with their horses.

These strange movements aroused the curiosity of many people. This curiosity was increased by a report that these men were descendants of Tories who had lived in Schoharie County during the Revolutionary War times. A search was instituted for the cause for their strange movements. Measurements were found that had been made from certain springs and permanent landmarks, and stakes were stuck in the ground along these areas. At one point, there was an excavation of earth, in which the dirt that was thrown out was returned. The hole was reopened and at the bottom was the plain form of an old fireplace dinner pot with a flat stone near it that fit as a cover.

The searchers never found out what had been in that pot, but the belief is that it was filled with gold at one time.
Schenevus Pictures
Schenevus Central School District
159 Main Street, Schenevus, NY 12155
Phone 607 638 5881 | Fax 607 638 5600
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