Legend has it, according to former student Bruce Miller, that there was a small farming community by the name of Mongaup Center along the shores of the Mongaup River where it crossed under the carriage road that ran between Monticello and Liberty which eventually became known as New York State Route 17, the major two-lane highway that was became the main thoroughfare between the New York City area, Binghamton, and the Southern Tier of New York State. This is the same road that was replaced by the new 4 lane Route 17 “Quickway” we have known since the 1950s. It is said that the community was also known as “Brookside” and the cemetery there bears that name to this day.
The family of Isaac Harris lived in Mongaup Center. Isaac was the assessor for the Town of Thompson for 21 years. He was also the Superintendent of Highways for two years. As the local population increased, Isaac saw the need for the community to have its own post office, and he launched a campaign locally to achieve this goal. In time, the creation of the post office was approved, and the little settlement was renamed “Harris” in recognition of Isaac’s relentless pursuit. His great grandson, Kirkland (or “Kirk” as he is known locally) has become a successful businessman in the local community as he is the owner of the “Harris – Monti Insurance Agency”, which is located in Monticello.
The Harris School is shown on both the 1856 and 1875 maps of the Township. Records show that the school was actually “deeded” into the district in 1909. The school was closed in about 1955 as a result of the centralization effort.
If you wish to visit the site, please refer to the map that is featured on this web site, or enter the following coordinates in to your GPS device:
The Harris school is one of the few that a 1949 photograph of an interior view was found and donated by former student, Bruce Miller.
Former students Bruce Miller and Norman Kaufman