Harvard and Fellows Ave, T. Aaron Levy School (former William Nottingham High School)
- Built: 1924
- Architect: Albert Brockway
In the early 20th century the City of Syracuse was expanding rapidly, and the influx off immigrants put a strain on the school system. Building new schools was one of the big political issues of the day (sound familiar?). Under Mayor Walrath a massive building program began, but the mayor and School Board (under Superintendent Percy Hughes) argued about the number, size, and placement of new schools (sound familiar?). The Herald reported on May 18, 1923 that the city finally decided on the Fellows Avenue site for the William Nottingham Junior High School, after protests of plans to build the school within Thornden Park, off South Beech. Mayor Walrath battled Hughes over which architectural plan to use for the building – Walrath pushed for a plan by Gordon Wright employed in the 19th Ward, which was less expensive and housed more students. Hughes and board held out successfully for a plan by Albert Brockway, first for the Thornden site, and then settling for Fellows Avenue. The school opened in September 1924 (see Syracuse Herald, Sunday, September 07, 1924). By the end of the decade it was renamed William Nottingham High School. Brockway was a leading local architect who designed the Pennock House, also on this tour.
Nottingham High School moved to a new building on Meadowbrook in 1953. The old school was renamed the T. Aaron Levy Junior High School, later changed to T Aaron Levy Middle School, a name it retained until 2009, when Levy was disbanded.
T. Aaron Levy had served on the School Board in the early part of the century. He was a reformer, and worked hard to united different ethnic and religious groups in the city into a civic community. Levy advised the Roosevelt administration and was instrumental in Pioneer Homes being erected as one the first public housing projects in the United States. Levy was also Jewish, a member of Temple Society of Concord. That probably counted for a lot in the school naming, since the population of the neighborhood in the 1950s was significantly Jewish, and Concord’s Rabbi Benjamin Friedman lived just up the street. Friedman also participated in the dedication of the new Nottingham on October 19, 1953.
Gruber, Samuel D. “Recycling T. Aaron Levy Middle School / Central Tech,” My Central New York (Nov. 20, 2011).
Rudolph, B. G. From a Minyan to a Community: A History of the Jews of Syracuse (Syracuse: Syracuse university Press, 1970).