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posted Mar 9, 2015, 7:59 PM by Erik Arnold

Innovation Campus History Introduction

Prior to colonization the land that is now our school was controlled by the Pennacook Native American tribe. They lived opposite of the Pawtucket Falls and farmed on Tyng Island. Notable native americans that once lived in the general area include Passaconaway and his son Wannalancet. Passaconaway was the chief, sachem, of the Pennacook tribe between the mid 1500s and 1600s and was revered by native americans and colonists alike. Later in his life he was the chief of chiefs, bashaba, of a multi-tribal confederation. Passaconaway also played a key part in early native american-colonist relations. Wannalancet spent the last years of his life living in Tyng Mansion. Near IACS campus there is a rock slab that has a map merrimack river carved into it. It is said that this map was carved by Pennacook natives.

Since about the 1600s Innovation Academy and the land which it sits on has been used for many purposes. The land was first owned by the Tyng family. Colonel Jonathan Tyng purchased the land in 1676 and constructed a garrison house on it. After the house was destroyed, either due to fire or conflict with native americans or it was simply torn down, the Tyng Mansion was constructed. The Tyng family inhabited the mansion for many years. They were quite prosperous, acquiring their money primarily through trade. They were the "go-to" people for those that lived in the area since they had connections in Boston. The Tyng family lived in the Tyng Mansion, which was located next to the High School parking lot towards the road. The mansion was later abandoned, and then burned down in 1979. After the mansion was abandoned the land passed from the hands of the Tyng family to those of a different family. They called the land the Wannalancet Farm. The farm buildings were located where the High School parking lot is currently located and a little past it towards the forest/wetlands.

In 1922 this land was sold to the Marist brothers by the family who owned the Wannalancet Farm. The Marist Building was constructed by the Marist brothers in the same year. For many years the Marist building was used as a boarding school for aspiring clergy. At times it was a grammar level school, while at others it was high school level. In 1933 the third floor and part of the second caught fire. When the building was rebuilt shortly afterwards, the chapel was added. The sanctuary is now the library. At some point during these years the quonset hut was constructed.

In the 1980s the Wang Building was constructed by An Wang. The building's original intent was to be a graduate school in computer science. Later, the building was sold to Boston University. In 2008 Innovation Academy Charter School purchased the buildings and land; they then changed their name to Innovation Academy Charter School. Since its purchase, they constructed the track and field, which opened in 2011, and Landberg Hall in 2013. Interestingly, where the track and field are located today, when the land was owned by Marist brothers there used to be an open grass baseball field that was used by the boys studying at the novitiate. At some point in history, for many years the land behind the school, where the forest is now, used to be a granite quarry.

Innovation Campus History Conclusion

As recorded in history the Tyng family was quite wealthy. This is further supported by the objects that were uncovered near the Tyng Mansion: especially the brick, glass bottle, and porcelain shards. Many of these were quite uncommon and predominantly had by only the upper middle class and upper class. For this reason it is presumable that the Tyng family was indeed wealthy.

In the modern era daily life is so fast paced and focused upon the future that it is easy to forget our past. This is especially true at IACS as it is an educational institution that works on preparing students for higher grades, future, and for life. However, at times it is valuable to take a step back and review: to review whence you came, how far you have come, and the events that led you there. In summary, it is important to place yourself in context of the past and remember.

Marc Printz, class of 2015