History

The Webster School building was opened in the winter of 1921, originally as a Junior High School, then an Elementary school.  The construction process was wrought with delays in opening and ended up being considerably over budget. Thanks largely to the building's architect, Perkins, Fellows and Hamilton, who had recently been fired from Chicago Public Schools for building buildings that were too ornate.  

Other notable buildings by the architect include several buildings at the Lincoln Park Zoo, numerous school buildings around the midwest including the University High School Building at U of M. Perkins would later go on to literally write the book on educational building design. 

Webster Elementary School was named for Elmer R Webster a local businessman and long-time school board trustee. He was well respected in the community and when he passed away in 1936 his funeral was held in the building's auditorium. He is interred under a prominent headstone in Pontiac's Oak Hill Cemetery. 

In 1971, after a historic lawsuit between the NAACP and Pontiac School District, Webster was one of the community's predominately white schools that was ordered to participate in a bussing program, taking students from there to attend school at a number of largely black elementary schools around the city. 

"A Community is often judged the the schools that its children attend. Surely we have nothing to be ashamed of."

-- E.W. MacKenzie at the opening of Webster School 

December 16, 1921

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The building operated as the elementary school for the west side of Pontiac until 2008. As Pontiac's economy and population were in rapid decline, it was selected to be shuttered and its students shared among the remaining elementary schools. It would ultimately be sold in 2015 as part of a packaged deal with seven other schools for two million dollars. 

Noteable Alumi

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Lawrence Bacow
President, Harvard University

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Alfred Taubman

Inventor of the Indoor Shopping Mall