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User / Frank C. Grace (Trig Photography) / 1886 BMC Durfee High School
Frank Grace / 4,309 items
Fall River, MA

History of this gorgeous building is below my short reason for the photo.

I have been in contact with someone who graduated from BMC Durfee High School back in 1961. He is currently retired living in Costa Rica and writing a book of stories of his youth while growing up and causing trouble in Fall River during those years. He asked for a photo of the school for a cover of his self-published book. I was never really happy with shots I took of the building years ago and this was the perfect time to get the portrait framed shots of the clock tower that he specifically requested. But while I was there I couldn't help but get one of my over-the-top shots while in my hometown of Fall River. My Dad has stories of he and my grandfather making parts for the telescope that was in the observatory. I've never been inside though. After its restoration it is now used as a probate and family court.

The history:

"The building was built as a donation from Mrs. Mary B. Young to the people of the city of Fall River, in memory of her son Bradford Matthew Chaloner Durfee, who had died at a young age in 1872, leaving a sizable inheritance.

George A. Clough, a Boston architect was chosen to design the building. Ground was broken in August 1883. The first story of the school is constructed of native Fall River Granite, while the stone of the upper portions is from Mason, New Hampshire. The new high school was formally dedicated to the city on June 15, 1887.

The building occupies a commanding position atop a hill in the city's Highlands neighborhood, and is visible from miles around. Even today, the school's sports teams are known as the "Durfee Hilltoppers".

Recent history

In 1978, the city opened a new, much larger high school in the north end, also named "B.M.C. Durfee High School". The old high school remained vacant until the early 1990s when it was taken over by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, for use as a Probate Court House. The restoration was completed in the mid-1990s. The Southeast branch of the Massachusetts Housing Court is located in the building as well."
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Dates
  • Taken: Sep 12, 2021
  • Uploaded: Sep 12, 2021
  • Updated: Oct 16, 2021