1954-1971

The new campus was a sixty acre estate known as “Land of Clover” (which had been passed from Lathrop Brown to the LaRosa family, who owned LaRosa Spaghetti company) on Long Island’s prestigious North Shore. It included a thirty-five room Georgian mansion modeled after Westover Plantation in Williamsburg, Virginia by the eminent architect, Archibald Brown; a distinctive barn and riding facilities; access to horse riding trails and close proximity to New York City. In a curious twist of fate, Mrs. Houghton’s funeral coincided with Opening Day for the new campus in the fall of 1954. Much had to be done to convert the estate into classrooms, dormitories and a gym, but Mrs. Phinney who was now 75 years old found her age to be no obstacle.

Although her influence continued for years to come, Mrs. Phinney was ready to retire in 1958, and Miss Laura Louise Wood (A.B. Wheaton, A.M. Radcliff), a teacher at Knox from 1927 through 1944, was given the task of overseeing construction and programs at Knox. Miss Wood’s list of accomplishments was impressive and included developing a riding program under the direction of Harry de Leyer, who allowed the girls to ride his famed horse Snowman; installation of campus lighting, paving the roads and adapting the Cottage and Terrace to dormitory use; construction of a new gymnasium (Bancroft-Phinney Hall in 1963) and a faculty house (Knipe Cottage, built by Mrs. Phinney in honor of Mrs. Knipe in 1966). Under Miss Wood’s watch, Knox continued to have the Houghton-Phinney stamp until Laura Wood retired in 1969.

The fifth principal of Knox was Miss M. Patricia Bayless (B.A. University of London), who had previously taught in New Zealand and Rhodesia. Her approach differed from that of her predecessors, but she had great hopes for the future of Knox. Unprecedented events such as the war in Vietnam and social upheavals in the U.S. made the atmosphere on many independent school campuses just as unsettled. Enrollment plummeted to an all-time low, and prospects for the School looked bleak as Miss Bayliss tendered her resignation effective June 30, 1971 with only seventeen pupils re-enrolled for the 1971-1972 school year.

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