Museum displays pieces of Trenton Central High history

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Thursday, December 11, 2014
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The Ellarslie Museum is exhibiting priceless treasures salvaged from the now crumbling Trenton Central High School.

TRENTON, N.J. (WPVI) -- At the Ellarslie Museum in Trenton's Cadwalader Park they are preserving the best of Trenton Central High School.

It's now crumbling and due for demolition, but when it opened in 1932, Trenton High was a showcase.

"The Trenton school was the model high school in its day for the entire country. If you went to this high school, you got into any college you wanted to get in to," said James Strobel, Ellarslie Museum.

It was designed to look like a college campus and everything was top shelf - from the chandeliers that hung in the auditorium and the library to the light fixtures made by Lenox.

The school even had marble in the bathrooms and porcelain fixtures made locally.

Assembled by local historians Richard Willinger and Karl Flesch, the Trenton High exhibit features salvaged treasures from the school like the caged clock from the gym, an early version of hand weights used by students to exercise, as well as chairs and desks complete with decades of carvings.

"Because we're collectors, it's just so important to save history. We keep building new buildings and we tear things down and it just gets trashed," said Sally Baxter, Ellarslie Museum.

This exhibit is all about saving things that can't be replaced, including the four stunning mosaics from the school's lobby - considered works of art.

"We are being told that they are going to be saved, there going to be removed by a professional and then reinstalled in the new school," said Strobel.

One of the most unusual items in the exhibit is a skeleton. It's actually a human skeleton used to teach anatomy classes back in 1932.

"I don't know who it was but it's what they used as part of their teachings," said Strobel.

If you'd like to take a walk down memory lane the Trenton High exhibit will be on display until March 1.