Miscellaneous » About Us » History of Schools

History of Schools

Several Taunton schools are named in honor of important figures and events from our community's history.

Edmund Hatch Bennett School

Edmund Hatch Bennett (1824-1898) was Taunton’s first mayor, holding office from 1865 to 1867. A native of Vermont, Bennett moved to Taunton in 1848 where he became a prominent local lawyer and one of the authors of Taunton’s municipal charter. (Source: "A History of Taunton Massachusetts," William F. Hanna, 2007.)

Joseph C. Chamberlain Elementary School

Joseph C. Chamberlain (1896-1965) was first elected to Taunton’s municipal council in 1940. A painter by trade and active in the local sports scene, Chamberlain went on to become the city’s thirty-sixth mayor, serving from 1954 to 1960. As mayor, Chamberlain worked to improve Taunton’s water system, and the 22.5 million gallon Prospect Hill Reservoir was completed under his administration. (Source: "A History of Taunton Massachusetts," William F. Hanna, 2007.)

Benjamin A. Friedman Middle School

Benjamin A. Friedman, a World War II veteran, was elected to Taunton’s municipal council in 1961 and went on to a successful run for mayor in 1963, serving until 1970. Under Friedman’s administration, the city saw many improvements, including the construction of Edmund Hatch Bennett School, the dedication of the Vietnam Memorial Fountain on Church Green, and the opening of Massasoit State Park. (Source: "A History of Taunton Massachusetts," William F. Hanna, 2007.)

Harold H. Galligan School

Harold H. Galligan (1900-1984) was superintendent of Taunton Public Schools for 21 years before his retirement in 1970. Under his administration, four new schools were built and plans for a fifth were completed. Galligan once said: “Freedom, democracy, and our public schools are not merely privileges to be enjoyed, they are trusts to keep and maintain.” (Source: “Taunton Daily Gazette,” 1984.)

Hopewell School

In 1633 Elizabeth Pole, founder of Taunton, sailed from England on the Speedwell along with two other ships, one of which was called the Hopewell. The Taunton neighborhood around Bay Street became known as "Hopewell" in honor of the early settlers’ ship. Hopewell School, a Renaissance revival building constructed in 1914, is on the National Register of Historical Places, and has proudly served generations of Taunton families. (Source: Taunton’s Hopewell School celebrates a century of learning, “Taunton Daily Gazette”, 2014.)

Edward F. Leddy Preschool

Edward "Frank" Leddy (1910-1974) served eight years on the Taunton School Committee, four years on the Ward Representative Council, and 12 years on City Council. He was also postmaster of the East Taunton Post Office. A World War II veteran, Leddy was often asked to sing the "Star Spangled Banner" at city events. (Source, “Taunton Daily Gazette,” 1974.)

Joseph H. Martin Middle School

Joseph H. Martin (1889-1969) was a great American success story. He joined the Taunton-based silver company Reed & Barton at age 13 as an office boy and retired 54 years later as a Vice President. Active in the community, Martin served on the Taunton School Committee and was a trustee of the Taunton Public Library for 38 years. (Source: "A History of Taunton Massachusetts," William F. Hanna, 2007.)

James L. Mulcahey Elementary School

James L. Mulcahey was a member of the THS class of 1934. After graduating from the University of Notre Dame, Mulcahey returned to Taunton where he coached at Coyle High and taught English at Taunton High School. Inducted into the Army in 1942, Lieutenant Mulcahey led troops into four major battles and was awarded the Purple Heart. He died in defense of his country in 1944. (Source: "A History of Taunton Massachusetts," William F. Hanna, 2007.)

John F. Parker Middle School

John F. Parker(1907-1992) became Mayor of Taunton in 1947 at the age of 39. Prior to his election, Parker had served nine years on the School Committee and worked at the Taunton Daily Gazette, where he wrote a popular sports column, “Time Out.” In 1952, Parker was elected to the State Senate, representing the First Bristol District. (Source: "A History of Taunton Massachusetts," William F. Hanna, 2007.)

Elizabeth Pole School

Elizabeth Pole (1588-1654) was born in Devonshire, England. A Puritan, in 1637 she set sail for the New World, where she purchased land from the Native Americans, laying the foundation for the settlement of Taunton. (Source: "A History of Taunton Massachusetts," William F. Hanna, 2007.)