Remembering the Past: Tall Ships and Public Schools in Perth Amboy

by Diane Norek Harrison
PERTH AMBOY- Back in 1982, I was in Perth Amboy when the Danmark was docked at the Perth Amboy waterfront and had the tour of the ship. Many years later when speaking to former South Amboy resident Adam Kierst, he filled me on some of the details of the Danmark.

The Danmark, docked in Perth Amboy around May 3, 1982.

“The Danmark had on it cadets from The Danish Marines completing a five month tour of duty as part of their training. Sailing ships of this type were a common sight in the 1800-era in South Amboy, Perth Amboy and the Raritan Bay. The ship was a guest of the Perth Amboy Yacht Club on May 3, 1982 with Captain Hansen, commander. The Yacht Club also hosted the Danmark in 1976 for the Bicentennial Celebration.”

If anyone has memories of the Danmark or any other ships docked in Perth Amboy at any time, tell all!
This is from my own material dated 1921: While private schools were maintained for the children of the well-to-do, education in public schools, was somewhat delayed. A private school was established in the early days in what was known as the “State House,” then the home of the Governor of East Jersey, and later known as “The Westminister”

The earliest record of an attempt to found a system of public schools is contained in a minute of a public school meeting, bearing date Jan. 9, 1788.

The work public schools was carried on for many years in the City Hall, or in rented rooms, until 1780, when the first public school building was erected and in a greatly enlarged capacity still serves, and is known as School No. 1.

In 1895, the city took on a new life, and its growth developed a fine system of schools consisting of thirteen large, well equipped elementary schools and an up-to-date capacious High School. Pupils from surrounding districts enjoy the privileges of the High School. Graduates of the High School are admitted on certificate to twenty-two colleges and universities. The teaching corps numbers over two hundred, and the total enrollment to be 8,500. Population 41,707.

Charles C. Hommann, James S. White, Adrian Lyon and Samuel E. Shull have rendered valuable service as City Superintendents. Mr. Shull has been City Superintendent continuously for a period twenty-five years, and his leadership is very generally recognized.

If anyone has memories or any past material from any school from the towns listed below, let me know for another column! If you have your own memories or past information for Carteret, Edison, Metuchen, Perth Amboy, Sayreville, South Amboy or Woodbridge you can email me at or send “copies” of your material to me at CMD Media, P.O. Box 1061, Rahway, N.J. 07065.

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