Niagara Gazette

Opinion

June 10, 2013

HIGGS: Trott Vocational through the years

Niagara Gazette — Many former and current residents of Niagara Falls received their formal and vocational education at Trott Vocation High School located at 11th Street between Ashland and Elmwood avenues. According to “Schools Bells Ring,” compiled and written by Patricia Wilson Rice, “Trott was dedicated on March 11, 1929 and named for James Fullerton Trott.” Mr. Trott was elected as a trustee of School District Number 2 of the Town of Niagara in 1848 and in 1856 he was elected as one of the six original members of the Board of Education to the Union Free School District. Following the incorporation of the City of Niagara Falls in 1892, Mayor Wright appointed Mr. Trott to the City Board of Education. His total of 56 years of service to education earned him the title “Father of our Schools.”

Another note of historical significance regarding James Trott relates to the Cataract House situated on Main Street on the banks of the Niagara River. Operated by Parkhurst Whitney from 1825 to 1845 and by his son Solon Whitney and sons-in-law James Trott and Dexter Jerauld from 1845 until the later 19th century and was one of the two largest hotels in Niagara Falls. You will recognize their names on street signs and other schools in the city. The Cataract House was destroyed by fire but has achieved its place in history as an employer of African American service staff who listed their birthplace as a southern state and helped slaves escape to freedom. One more moment in history refers to Mrs. Trott who has been given the status of naming the Niagara River steamer built in 1847 and dedicated at the landing below the ferry dock as the “The Maid of the Mist.”

Let’s move on to 1929 and the dedication of Trott Vocational School where Dr. Lewis A Wilson, assistant commissioner of Vocational Education stated “the school is organized to meet the educational need of the people of this city, who are interested in preparing for vocational services and to assist those employed in industry who need additional training.” He added, “it will prepare many boys and girls to meet the ever increasing demands of industry and commerce as well as “provide an aid to thousand of adults who must secure additional training to keep abreast of changing industrial conditions or those who wish to prepare for a better position in industry.”

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