aka Claudius W. Bradshaw School
aka Challenge Square Academy
aka Met East High School
1151 Kaighn Avenue

Camden had become an industrial city by the 1880s, and although the country went into an economic slump in the early 1890s, generally referred to as "the panic of 1893", the city continued to grow and with it the need for new schools. The 1892-1893 school year began with 8,620 students on roll. The tax rate was down to four mills, and the school budget was $167,450. One year into the depression saw the school budget increase by more than 18 percent to $197,750 and this became a burden on many taxpayers. In July 1893, with the effects of the depression everywhere, the commission approved erecting a new eight-room school near Twelfth Street and Kaighn Avenue, in Liberty Park, using the same style as the Jesse W Starr School. They named the structure the Lincoln School, in memory of the nation's 16th President of the United States, and officially accepted it from the contractor on June 25, 1894. The school opened as a secondary school, with Kate F. Dinan, a graduate of Millersville Normal School, as the school's first principal, and four assistant teachers.

Following her appointment, the commissioners learned that some community members opposed the appointment of Dinan and one of her assistants, Mary Welsh, because these two were Catholics. "It was claimed that the matter was taken up by the AP.A [American Protective Association] and that they prevailed on their members to reconsider the action." About three million Irish and German Catholic immigrants arrived in American between 1820 and 1860. This gave rise to xenophobia, nativism, and such movements as the Know-Nothing Party. The A.P.A was a secret anti-catholic, anti-immigration society in the United States that became a disquieting factor in most of the Northern States during the period 1891-1897. The 60-year old Marylander, Henry F. Bowers on March 13, 1887, at Clinton, Iowa, established the first Council of the A.P.A Its purpose was to promote the interests of all Protestants everywhere in the world, and to try to obtain the services of a Protestant, regardless of position, before hiring a Roman Catholic. The association arranged for lectures by ex-priests, distributed anti-Catholic literature, and opposed the election of Catholics to public offices. The A.P.A reached its high tide in 1894, when more than two million members belonged.

The National A.P.A organization made an effort to prevent the nomination of William McKinley in 1896, and when the futility of this attempt became apparent, they endeavored to secure recognition, in the Republican national platform, for one or more of the principles of the order, preferably the one opposing appropriations to sectarian institutions. This also failed. President-elect McKinley's appointment, in March 1897, of a Catholic (Judge McKenna, of California) in his first cabinet probably best illustrates the low regard he had of the importance of the A.P.A The society completely disappeared by 1911.

The following month, the commissioners reconsidered the previous report of the committee on teachers. City Solicitor Morgan, unmistakably told the commissioners that those appointed in July had certain rights, which they were bound to respect; namely, they could only remove teachers for cause. The majority report of the committee on teachers related:

“That the motion to reconsider did not name a cause; and that when the mover [Commissioner Francis] was pressed to do so, he named an irregularity in the line of promotion. This statement is misleading.

Discussions by your Honorable body brought forth the fact that the representatives of certain secret organizations had notified the chairman of the committee in person, and other members of the committee by mail, that these organizations were opposed to two of the appointees on the ground of their religious faith.

We would here say that this thing is at the bottom of all the opposition to these appointments, and it is useless to disguise the fact. In this connection, your Committee desire to say, that no political or ecclesiastical interference should be allowed or tolerated in the management of our Public Schools, nor should any organization, secret or otherwise interfere therewith.

Your Committee therefore decline, after due consideration to change their report ... for to reverse them would be illegal, and in violation of the national Constitution, an act that might be justly characterized as un-American ... and subversive of the most sacred rights of man.

The minority report proposed Emma Hall as Lincoln School's principal, and to that suggestion the solicitor responded that "it would be very detrimental to the successful management of the public schools if any teacher regularly appointed could be removed for capricious whim of the commission, for political or other reasons without legal cause." He indicated that once adjourned,

“Any attempt made by the Commission at a subsequent meeting to reconsider the vote by which the appointments were made is clearly without authority of law .... I am of the opinion that all those persons mentioned in the report of the Committee who were promoted, changed or appointed by the Commission ... [are] appointed to their respective positions and can be removed only upon good and legal cause.”

The commission affirmed their vote of July 30.

The census of 1894, found between 18,000 and 19,000 school-aged children living in Camden "for whom the Commission, by law, are bound to make provisions for." Bergen insisted that the district needed more schoolhouses and facilities, and he wanted them to "build additional wings to our large schoolhouses where we have room," because there is an economy of scale, and bigger schools allowed siblings to attend the same school as an older brother or sister. The commission constructed additional rooms in the rear of the Starr School, four-room additions each to Central and Mickle Schools, and purchased land adjoining the Starr and Lincoln Schools. Yet, the need for more classroom space became apparent when the committee on teachers reported that in the Mount Vernon School,

Camden now had two schools named for Lincoln, one in East Camden and one on Kaighn Avenue. The commission changed the name of the Lincoln School on Kaighn Avenue to the Claudius W. Bradshaw School, in memory of the former Democratic Mayor, who recently died. The wisdom of the name change, however, was "questioned by many sections, because Mr. Bradshaw had never been identified with the public schools."

Claudius W. Bradshaw was born in Sheffield, England, in 1834. He came to America at age five, and settled in West Philadelphia. He moved with his family to Camden in 1843, where he received a common school education, and became a wood turner. He joined the Independence Fire Co. in his early twenties, and in 1870, he became City Marshall, on the Democratic ticket. Later, he became the first elected Councilman-at-Large under the supplemental act of the City Charter. At his election, he received a large brass key, which he always kept with a great deal pride. He became Chief Engineer of the fire company in 1876, and held that position until 1880, when the voters elected him Mayor on the Democratic ticket. The voters returned him to office over challenger, Dr. Henry H. Davis, in 1883, but he was defeated in his try for a third term, in 1886, and ended his career of public service as a member of the County Excise Board. Bradshaw, who lived at 520 South Second Street, is buried in Evergreen Cemetery.

In January 1904 the Claudius W. Bradshaw School on Kaighn Avenue was renamed the Abraham Lincoln School, and the Lincoln School on River Road was renamed the Benjamin C. Beideman School.

In early September 1935, the Board officially applied to the Federal Emergency Administration (FEA) of the Public Works Administration to put an addition on the Powell School and for a new school near 32nd and Federal Sts. Other projects for which they applied included converting the basement room at Lincoln School to an auditorium, application filed October, 1935.

In February of 1938 the Board of Education approved the appointment of Florence M. Dickinson as principal of Lincoln school at a salary of $2200 annually. The Lincoln School continued to serve the children of the surrounding neighborhood for many years.

After closing as an elementary school in the 1990s, the building was used as The Challenge Square Academy, where youth who had been involved in criminal activities were educated in small class settings. In the fall of 2005 Lincoln School reopened as the Met East High School, a magnet school sponsored and funded by billionaire owner of Microsoft, Bill Gates. Met East remains in the old Lincoln Building as of the spring of 2008, and budgetary errors and other mismanagement by Camden Board of Education and political officials indicates that despite overcrowding, Met East will remain in the old Lincoln building for some time to come, at the very least through the 2008-2009 school year.

Philadelphia Inquire * June 1, 1899

Teacher Assignments & Transfers - June 22, 1933

Camden Courier-Post * February 1, 1938

Appoints 2 Instructors and Pensions 2 Others; Wilson Enrollment High

The Camden Board Education last night approved transfers of 14 teachers, the appointment of two new instructors and the retirement on pension of two others.

The board then adjourned until 11.45 a. m. today and it was announced the 1938-39 board will be organized at noon when Commissioner Mary W. Kobus is expected to be re-elected president.

When the report of the teachers committee making recommendations for appointments, transfers and retirements was read it was approved by unanimous vote and without comment.

Following the meeting Carlton W. Rowand explained that most of the transfers were made to meet emergencies in teaching classes at Woodrow Wilson High School, where more than 1500 students will be enrolled for the second semester, be ginning today.

Rowand explained that enrollment at the Wilson school is the highest in its history, due to many students taking up English and commercial courses instead of entering Camden senior high school, which will have an enrollment of approximately 1540 students, the smallest in several years.

List of Transfers

Transfers affecting teachers in junior high schools are: Louis E. Feinstein from Hatch Junior High School to commercial business organization, Wilson High School; Frank E. Sias, from Cramer Junior High to physical education, Wilson High; Jessie W. McMurtrie from Cramer Junior High School, to physical education, Wilson High; Wilton D. Greenway, from Cramer Junior High School to mathematics, Camden High; Elizabeth Dickinson, from Bonsall; to English, Cramer Junior High; Mrs. Mildred C. Simmons, from English to mathematics, Cramer Junior High; Miss Celia Boudov, from Hatch Junior High to departmental geography, science, and penmanship, Liberty School; Mrs. Elizabeth R. Myers assigned to English, Hatch Junior High;

Thelma L. Little transferred from, Grade 5 to Cooperative Departmental; Dudley school.

The following elementary school transfers, also effective today, are:

Beatrice W. Beideman from Starr to Sharp school; Mrs. Esther S. Finberg from Cramer to Broadway school; Dorothy M. Lippincott from Parkside to Dudley school; Mrs. Alva T. Corson from Washington to Broadway school, and Mary G. Cathell from Washington to Dudley school.

Teachers whose retirement was approved are Carolina W. Taylor, Grade 2, Broadway school, and William M. Thayer, mathematics [Camden] senior high school. Both teachers had resigned and applied for their pensions, the report read.

Appointments Made

Nathan Enten was appointed as physical education teacher in the Cramer school and Harry S. Manashil was appointed commercial teacher in Hatch school. Each will receive $1400, annually. The board also approved the appointment of Florence M. Dickinson as principal of Lincoln school at a salary of $2200 annually.

The assignment of Miss Grace Hankins as principal of Parkside school to succeed Miss Dickinson also was approved. Ethel Thegen was approved for appointment as assistant librarian at the Camden senior high school at a salary of $5.50 a day. All appointments are effective today.

To relieve overcrowded conditions among pupils the board approved the transfer of 7A and 7B classes from the Washington to the Cramer school.

The board vote to open a library in the Cramer school and Raymond G. Price, supervisor of building was instructed to provide, the necessary equipment.

A resolution of condolence upon the death of Ethel C. Wenderoth, for 19 years a teacher in the Broadway School was passed and secretary Albert Austermuhl was instructed to send a copy to members of the deceased teacher's family.

2 New Faces on Board

The board received and filed a letter from Mayor George E. Brunner in which he stated he had appointed Mrs. George W. Tash, Samuel T. French Jr. as new members and had re-appointed Robert Burk Johnson as a board member.

William B. Sullender, of the Tenth Ward, who was not re-appointed, was commended by the members for his services. E. George Aaron said he regretted the fact that Sullender was leaving as a member and wished him success. Others joined in this tribute.

Sullender in reply thanked the members for their co-operation during his term of office.

Camden Courier-Post - February 11, 1938

Broadcast in Afternoon
4th Annual Child Welfare Institute Being Planned for April

The desire to carry on toward the goal envisioned by founders of the Parent-Teacher Association will be emphasized throughout the country in honor of the 41st anniversary of the National Congress of Parents and Teachers.

A Founders Day broadcast will be heard on the Parent-Teacher Radio Forum next Wednesday from 4.30-5 p. m. over the NBC blue network. 

Mrs. Percy Powell, Mrs. Fred M. Raymond and Miss Mary England are in charge of the program.

One of the vital topics to be considered that day is "What needs to be 
done for children today?"

The celebration of Founders Day started by Mrs. David O. Mears in 1910, thirteen years after the organization of the National Congress of Mothers, and the "birthday gifts" from local units are used for the extension of this service to childhood so that it may be carried to every girl and every boy in the country. 


Mrs. Herbert Schoellkopf, county Americanization chairman, urges every parent-teacher member to display the American flag on three important birthdays being celebrated this month, namely: Lincoln's Birthday, February 12; Founder's Day, February 17, and Washington's Birthday, February 22.

Word has been received of the cancellation of the "Homemakers Forum" on station WOR. The series of talks on the adolescent which were to have been given on this program, are available in mimeographed form from the office of the home demonstration agent, Miss Mary M. Leaming, room 208, courthouse, Camden. In requesting this information, the name of the particular talk desired and the definite number of copies needed should be specked.

Parent-Teacher members are looking forward to the fourth annual Child Welfare Institute to be held in April. Plans for this institute are being formulated by Albert M. Bean, superintendent of Camden county schools, who is general chairman. The theme this year will be "Guidance" being divided in four classes pertaining to career, character, community and health.

Guest Speaker

MRS. MORRIS FOULK Director of the southern P. T. A. district and second
vice president of the New Jersey Parents and Teachers Congress, who was guest
speaker at the Garfield School, Camden, P. T. A. meeting: last night.


Broadway — Mrs. Ralph Jones, county magazine chairman, was the guest speaker at the meeting Tuesday night. A playlet in commemoration of Founder's Day was presented by a group from the Northeast-Sewell association. Mrs. Thomas Melchore presided. Mrs. George Lee, welfare chairman, has made arrangements for an industrial tour on February 21. Mrs. Walter Gross attended the meeting of the Home Demonstration Extension on Monday. Mrs. C. Fred Becker, parent discussion group leader, is holding a meeting in the school on Tuesday at 1.30 p. m. A donation of $1.25 was approved to be given the recreation committee toward the New York trip of the winners in the sewing contest held recently.

CassadyMrs. M. Moullette, Summer round up chairman, has appointed a committee to assist her in her work. They are Mrs. E. Hudson, president; Mrs. R. Bowen, vice president; Mrs. H. Mount, secretary; Mrs. A. Reinhold and G. McGrath Kershaw. The executive committee will hold a meeting next Wednesday at the home of Mrs. K. Hudson at 8 o'clock.

Cooper—Health night was held at the regular meeting Monday. Mrs. G. Kramer, county health chairman, spoke on the importance of correct food for children. A play was presented by the Seventh grade English class, under the direction of Miss E. Hanna. A violin solo was rendered by Miss A. Claypool, accompanied at the piano by Miss V. Merwall. An educational trip has been planned for this afternoon at 1.30.

Cramer — The county president's message echoes from the release were read by Mrs. William Rown-tree, president, at the meeting last week. A gift of $1.25 was sent to the committee on the Doll Dressing Contest. Mrs. Arthur Fichter, membership chairman; Mrs. Fred Creag-er, welfare chairman, and Mrs. William Rowntree, president, attended the city group meeting last week. The executive committee will meet at the home of Barney Brown, vice president, 2566 Baird boulevard, on Tuesday night at 8 o'clock. The association is sponsoring a three-act comedy, "Here Comes Charlie," to be given by the Queen Esther Society of Asbury M. E. church, on Thursday night, February 17, at 8 o'clock in the school auditorium.

H. H. Davis—Members of the discussion group met in the school yesterday under the leadership of Mrs. William Allen, discussion group chairman, followed by rehearsal for the Founder's Day play arranged by Miss Kathleen Willetts, Founder's Day chairman. A candle lighting ceremony will also be given in observance of Founder's Day, at the meeting Thursday. Calvin Chambers will compile the publicity record book to be displayed at the annual luncheon. A trip to an industrial plant is planned for next Wednesday afternoon. A bus will leave the school at 1 p. m.

Dudley—Mrs. Elizabeth James and Mrs. Sarah Miller who were in charge of purchasing of basketball suits for the school team, reported that donations of $10.65 have been received from business people and friends. The executive committee has approved sending $1.25 to the Recreation Commission toward the New York trip for winners of the Doll Dressing Contest. Mrs. Clara Batten, chairman of the committee in charge of purchasing a new banner, has been authorized to purchase same as soon as possible. Mrs. Florence Fiedler, newly appointed summer round-up chairman, is making plans for a thorough survey of the school neighborhood in order to enlist the aid of the parents of preschool children. Founders' Day exercises will be held tonight at the meeting.

McKinley—Harry Roye will speak at the meeting next Tuesday night. There will also be a Founders' Day ceremony. Those taking part will rehearse Friday at 3.30 a. m. at the school. Mrs. Rudolph Koerner will hold a study group meeting at her home next Wednesday at 2.00 p. m. Next Thursday a covered dish luncheon will be held by Mrs. R. Koerner and Mrs. Morris Sellers at the home of Mrs. R. Koerner, Fremont and Thirty-fifth street. On Thursday a meeting on character education will be  held at the school at 3.30 p. m. Miss Alice Butler, general secretary of the Y. W. C. A., fill speak.

Liberty & Starr—The meeting of the executive committee will be held ext Thursday night at the home of Mrs. Charles Baden, 954 Pine street. Mrs. Emily S. Hurd, publicity chairman, who served as chairman of the judging committee of the sewing contest sponsored by the Recreation commission, recently acted as judge of the sewing contest held by the T. A. at SS. Peter and Paul school on Tuesday night.

Parkside—Mrs. Robert Simmington, council chairman, and Mrs. Rocco Palese, city chairman, gave brief talks at the meeting last Thursday night. Corsages were presented to them by Mrs. Sinclair Sondie, program chairman. Proceeds from the sale of a cake will be sent as a Founders' Day gift to he National Congress to be used or extension work.

North-East & Sewell — Mrs. Grace Dill, discussion group leader, attended the meeting in City Hall Monday under the direction of Miss Mary Leaming, home demonstration agent. A meeting of the discussion group was held in the Sewell school on Tuesday afternoon.

Sumner—The ways and means committee met at the home of Mrs. Grace Thomas, president, on Monday. Plans for various entertainments for the months of February, March and April were made. A membership campaign was launched. The topic of discussion at the meeting on Wednesday was "How the School Prepares for Home and Family Life."

H. C. Sharp—The regular meeting was held Friday. Gordon Carrigan presided. The Rev. Eric A. Osterle of Collingswood. discussed "Youth Problems." "Founders' Day" was observed, also the ninth birthday of this unit. A large birthday cake was lighted by the past presidents, and a large candle lighted by Miss Ethel Lee for Founders Day. Miss Lee was congratulated for her wonderful co-operation with all presidents and P.T.A. work; and was presented with a corsage of red roses. Each president in turn was presented with a red rose bud boutonniere by Miss Esther Bauer, who had charge of the program, assisted by Miss Maier and Mrs. Barton. Each president gave a "Reminiscent" of his service. They were as follows: Chester Knaub, Harry Krattenmaker, Herman Neissner, Gordon Carriean, Howard Stewart, Raymond Price.

Washington — Rev. E1wood A. Harrar spoke Tuesday at the Founders Day meeting Tuesday. Mrs. Howard Weeden, city juvenile probation chairman, was guest speaker. Miss Charlotte V. Dover, former principal of the school, was also a guest. A brief history of the association were called upon to speak. John White was the first president. He was followed by Jacob Grosmick, Mrs. Wilbur Cassedy, and the present president, Mrs. Richard Baker. Mrs. F. Kau ff man reports the cake sale a success. Mrs. William Mitchell reported plans to form a First Aid class that will be given a course by the Red Cross.

H. B. Wilson—Plans were made for the Founders Day program at the executive committee meeting Thursday afternoon in the school. Mrs. Lawrence Miller was named chairman. Miss Harriet Reiners will speak on character education at the next meeting. The basketball team was furnished with suits by the unit.

Yorkship—After a short business session with Mrs. James L. Ferris presiding, the monthly meeting was turned over to Mrs. J. P. McMillion, county chairman of alcohol and narcotics. Rev. H. S. Lepperd, of Fairview M. E. Church, spoke. Mrs David Pyper, chairman of ways and means, announced plans for a care party to be held on February 18. Proceeds will be used for expenses to carry on the monthly dances and Annual Field Day. The discussion group met today in teachers lunch room. Mrs. Malcolm Steck, leader, will use as a topic "What Interests Adolescence." As a special feature for the monthly dances the organization has arranged to have a half hour of dancing instructions before the regular dancing begins. Attending the city group meeting at City Hall were Mrs. James L. Ferris, president; Mrs David Pyper, Mrs. M. Johnson, Mrs. Eleanor Wynn, Mrs. W. Clemmens Mrs. George Mehaffey and Mrs. Harold Turner attended.

Lincoln—Dr. Helen Schrak gave a talk on health and a report on health conditions of the children of this school at the last meeting. A Founders Day sketch was presented by Mrs. M. Beaumont, Mrs. G. Welmrich, Mrs. E. Schelpat and Mrs. K Conlin.

9/11 Ceremony at MetEast High School - 2007
Note the sign over the door that once read
"Lincoln School"

Click on Images to Enlarge

Thanks to Fred Reiss, Ed.D. , for writing the defining book on public education in Camden prior to 1948, PUBLIC EDUCATION IN CAMDEN, N.J.- From Inception to Integration, from which much of the above history of the Kaighn School is derived.