Mitchell History


About the William Mitchell School

Dr. William Mitchell was born in Lachute, Quebec, Canada in 1872 and came to Needham after he received his medical degree from McGill University. He was very active in the community, becoming a longtime member of Town Meeting, director of the Board of Health, member of the School Committee, trustee of Glover Memorial Hospital and a member of the Needham Rotary Club. He also served on the Needham Bicentennial Committee in 1911, over 100 years ago.

Dr. William Mitchell

Dr. Mitchell

Dr. Mitchell donated the land upon which the Mitchell School was built. He passed away in 1949, two years before the school opened in 1951.

The William M. Mitchell School was built in 1949-50 and included an office, kindergarten, library, clinic, combination gym/auditorium/cafeteria, teachers' room and six classrooms. The school was named after the town's beloved physician, Dr. William M. Mitchell.

In 1950 as an enduring tribute to Dr. Mitchell, his friends placed a memorial stone on the Mitchell front lawn. A plaque on the the stone says, "For more than half a century he served the town with skill, devotion and abounding kindliness; as physician in the family, the hospital, and the schools. Forgetful of personal advantage, he dedicated his life to the service of others. He truly lived the golden rule, 'Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them'."

Dr. Mitchell

Mitchell Headstone

Dr. William M. Mitchell and the Mitchell dedication stone.

The first addition to the Mitchell School was erected in 1950 and added a separate gymnasium, kindergarten and eight more classrooms. A second addition in 1969 added the media center and an additional six classrooms.

In 1976, the media center was named the Natalene J. Tavalone Media Center in memory of Mr. Tavalone, who was principal of Mitchell School from 1960 to 1975. A plaque donated by Mitchell School children hangs on the wall outside the media center.


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