Boston Women’s Heritage Trail board member, Mary Smoyer, was recently dubbed an “amazing guide” by the North End Brownie Troop #72123 when she treated them to the BWHT North End walking tour. Taking the tour with Mary helped the Brownies complete their Step 4 – “Be a landmark detective” portion of the Celebrating Community Badge.
One highlight of the tour was a visit to the North Bennet Street Industrial School, founded in 1881 by Pauline Agassiz Shaw (1841-1917). Shaw established the school to train newly arrived Italian and Jewish people in skilled trades. America’s first trade school, North Bennet School now holds an international reputation for courses in fine furniture, jewelry, violin making, carpentry and piano and violin restoration.
Shaw, active in social reform, gave financial support to the woman suffrage movement. She is also responsible for the institutionalization of kindergarten in Boston Public Schools. In 1857, the School Committee accepted responsibility for continuing these kindergartens, gradually adding more. Today, one of Boston’s public schools in Dorchester is named for her.
Check out the BWHT North End tour and take a walk today!