Darwin writes: "Ironically, the 'looking up' picture of the building is taken from the exact spot where kids went to smoke various things. They were often targets of large paper or Styrofoam cups filled with water dropped from one of the top windows, which was the student lounge. Photo by Jar With Most (a.k.a. Tom Wirt).
Darwin reminds us that the now-demolished St. Matt's School was also home to the Valley School for many years...
I'm a Valley School alumni (Class of '82) and I spent a number of years at the old St. Matt's. I have many fond memories of my time spent in that building. At the time, Valley was going strong and that old building rang with life from top to bottom.
It makes me sad to see they tore down the place. I saw the pictures of the demolition and recognized the blue color of the walls of the classroom where I struggled through 3 years of French with Madame Heitman. It's like they tore down a piece of my childhood. I always felt that big old pile of bricks was more like my second home than just a school. From that school as a base, I explored the best remnants that late seventies/early eighties Downtown Flint had to offer. We'd sign ourselves out in the main office at the top of those long granite stairs and head out into the world.
We were regulars at Halo Burgers, and spent a lot of time at the Montgomery Ward's lunch counter too. I remember 99 cent Spaghetti Wednesdays and Fish and Chips Friday, Not to mention all the lunch and after school hours and quarters burned on the Asteroids machine at Perry Drugs or the Gorf machine at Doobies.
We hit the A&W, taunted the inmates at the jail, never got questioned at Hat's or the Torch. We never ripped off the blind attendant who ran the concession stand in the basement of the PO across the street. It just wasn't done, no matter how bad you wanted a Twinkie or a bottle of pop. We spent many an hour at the park up on Church Street playing softball or baseball and practicing soccer for our hopelessly outclassed small school sports teams. To train for a distance race, I once ran around the school building 100 times on that wonderful blacktop. When the Red Dragon Hobby Shop opened downtown to complement Bachman's Hobby Shop, I was in geekboy heaven.
I can still almost hear the creak of the old tongue and groove hardwood floors in some of the classrooms, and see the marble mosaic tiled floors worn smooth in the main hallways and on the stairs; the massively overstocked library; and the huge circular hand washing fountains in the boys room. If someone saved the front doors, you can scrape off the new paint and find the green layer of paint that I put on them so many years ago.
I never knew it as St. Matt's, only as Valley with its Led Zeppelin mural painted hallways, student decorated lockers, bright red carpeted rugrat dungeon, massive basement art suite with potter's wheels, kilns, and silk screening presses, the darkroom, and the ever popular 3rd story student lounge.
Well, at least the Gym is still standing and it's gleaming, ferociously waxed floor — home to many intense basketball and floor hockey games, as well as the karate tournament that paid for our graduation — and the dank, never quite clean locker rooms (with showers that no one ever used!) will live on to remind us of what once was.