Public School 72 opened in 1892 on Maspeth Avenue just west of 61st Street. Many older residents of the area were schooled there. In 1944, the Board of Education decided that the building, in disrepair, was no longer needed, as there was adequate capacity at PS73 and PS153 for area students. The argument between bureaucrats and local parents became heated. Local civic leaders warned that after the conclusion of the war, school seats would be in high demand and the building should not be closed. Residents held the city off for 15 years, but in 1959, PS 72 was closed permanently. The building sat as a vacant vandalized eyesore until 1961, when 38 Lutheran congregations throughout the borough raised enough money to purchase the property, demolish the old building and erect Martin Luther High School, which opened in 1962. The only trace of PS72 left in Maspeth is a plaque, now located at Memorial Square at 69th Street and Grand Avenue, dedicated to alumni of the school who had served in WWI. (2017 photo by Tim Brown)