Built to accommodate the growing industrial population of South Canton, the Gridley School marks important changes in school architecture throughout Massachusetts from the 1840s on. A handsome two-story gabled rectangle of wood, painted white, the Gridley School provided two classrooms for three grades each. The Massachusetts Department of Education, under the direction of Secretary Horace Mann, developed a series of guidelines for school architecture in 1840 that still informed this building in 1854. The requirements were exacting and scientific, with guidelines for light, ventilation, and space per pupil that set new standards for the region and the country. The Gridley School continued in service until 1975; it now appropriately provides space for a childcare center, its original character well maintained.
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