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 Rafael Hernandez School (Elementary & Middle)

370 Columbia Road, Dorchester
Acquired 1972

Rafael Hernandez (1892-1965) was a Puerto Rican composer and poet. He was born while the Island still belonged to Spain. Since he came from a poor family, his education was limited to elementary school. Nevertheless, he taught himself music and composed several beautiful and popular songs. These songs reflect contemporary life in Puerto Rico. The building, which was originally an automobile sales-room, was re-conditioned by the City of Boston in order to provide a facility for bi-lingual education. It became an integrated magnet school with an emphasis on a bi-lingual, bi-cultural approach to education.

The 2004 telephone book has this school listed at 61 School Street, Roxbury.

One respondent says: I was born and raised in Newton, but in 1959, my parents and I went to what was then Stilphen Motors and bought a blue and white Country Squire station wagon in this building. The showroom paralleled Columbia Road, and the service areas (where we picked up the car to drive it home) were along the tracks. The storage shed next to the playground at that time supported a ramp over which cars could be driven up to the roof. Both of my children attended the Early Learning Center here, for their kindergarten years. By that time, the Hernandez had moved to what (I believe) was the old Theodore Roosevelt School in Roxbury.


What's In a Name? Names of Boston's Schools: Their Origin. Boston: School Volunteers for Boston and the Boston Public Schools, 1980.

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Created: March 7, 2004   Modified: December 28, 2010