Early Middleport was often the scene of devastating fires but none as sad as the early morning fire of February 23, 1910. Firemen were called to the south side of Park Avenue near Vernon Street to the building that housed the Union Free School, which had been established in 1891 to ensure “educating our children at home and not at some of the neighboring towns.” Additions to the original 1870 building were built in 1893 and again in 1898 to house the growing school population and ranking the school #8, one of the best in New York State.
The first volunteers to arrive at the fire found the cistern frozen and no water handy to spray on the building. A call was made to Medina where several firemen arrived on the 7PM train each carrying a roll of hose on their back. Sadly their hose connections did not fit the ones used in Middleport. The fire totally destroyed the structure as well as all the records stored in the building.
For the remainder of the school year classes were held in various buildings within the community, including church basements, second floors of downtown stores and in at least one private home. In January 1911 the Board of Education made the decision to build a larger school building and in July 1911 ground was broken at the State Street site of our present high school.