The Development of Grove City and the Schools – Part 6

(The following was written by Faye and Harold Morland, and is reprinted from “The Epoch of the Park Street School 1853-1964 and Grove City, Ohio”.  Any opinions made in the article are from the author.)

A high school charter was secured in 1895. High school was a three year course of study at that time. The first high school graduation was that of the class of 1896. There were four members in this class.

An editorial of the first graduation was written in the “Grove City Blade” issue of Thursday, June 4, 1896. (The Grove City Blade was the first newspaper in Grove City. It started business in 1894). The write-up states that the Grove City School in the past and present is the most prominent in the township and rivaled by few Villages. It also printed, “A.C. Fries, now superintendent, stated that this first commencement of Grove City High School marks an epoch in the history of our town.”

Dr. Hoover, president of the Board of Education, introduce the speaker. The speaker was Honorable O.T. Corson, State commissioner of schools. He gave a “sound, hitting-the-nail-on-the-head” speech. He emphasized that the most essential thing for every avocation of life was education.

The members of the Board of Education in 1896 were: Dr. Will Hoover, A.L. Nichols, Edward F. Darnell, John Baumgartner, D.D. Dupree and Aaron Neiswender.  Teachers in 1896 were: A.C. Fries, Miss Ivy Clark, Miss Jessie Snouffer, and Miss Dora Caywood. The total school enrollment that year was 200.

There were no lights in the school at this time. On stormy days the rooms were quite dark, consequently little studying was done. There were no modern inside toilets. The four rooms were individually heated with “pot-belly” stoves.

High school students were attending here from other school districts: Jackson, Pleasant, Franklin, and Prairie townships in Franklin County and Scioto Township in Pickaway County.

Drinking water was pumped from a covered dug well about 50 feet Southeast from the front door steps of the school. The long iron handle of the pump had a heavy iron counter-balance weight on the opposite end. An interesting little story took place about this pump along about 1917. One day a boy by the name of Russel Darnell stooped to pick up a marble he had dropped under the weight. Just as he stooped, a girl lifted the handle to pump a cup of water. The weight went down on Russ’s head and the stars of the universe he did see!

(The continuation of this story in the next blog entry.)

The Development of Grove City and the Schools – Part 5

(The following was written by Faye and Harold Morland, and is reprinted from “The Epoch of the Park Street School 1853-1964 and Grove City, Ohio”.  Any opinions made in the article are from the author.)

Until 1886 the Board of Education consisted of three members. It was then increased to six. Among the names of earlier members we find: Dr. Bulen, R. Higgy, William Nichols, Ignatz Miller, Elias White, Jonathan Gantz, George Weygandt, Daniel Smith and Nelson Grant. Later:  W.R. Mench, W.H. Barbee, Aaron Neiswander, Ezra Neiswander, R.D. Grant and Dr. Hoover. In the early 1900’s members were: John Baumgartner, J.E. Stump, Dr. Nesley, Dr. Geissinger, D.D. Dupree, L.P. Graul and Fred Hensel.

Grove City was replatted in 1886 showing expanded boundaries, mainly West of Broadway. The replat was recorded that year in the Franklin County Court House.

In 1886 the school was crowded. The following year the voters turned down a bond issue, saying the taxes would be ruinous. However, in 1888 the voters passed a bond issue to build a four-room brick school house. They argued first over a three or four room building. The four room backers won.

Before putting up this third school building, the Board of Education of Grove City Special School District procured, after considerable negotiation, the title to Lot No. 32 (easterly of the two school lots) from the Jackson Township Board of Education. The title was then clear to both lots and vested in the Grove City Special School District. Building proceeded in 1888 on both lots.

That year the first or front section of three sections of the present grade school was erected from brick made in the Grove City Brick Yard operated by A.G. Grant. William Sibray and his son, J,E. Sibray, were awarded the contract for the brick masonry. The first section had four rooms, two up and two down.  The two lower rooms were used until 1890. The teachers were Supt. L.T. Fisher and Gertrude Mench. In 1890 A..C. Fries joined the school’s staff. A third room was opened for his class.

Supt L.P. FIsher began to develop a high school. Four years later a fourth teacher, Miss Jesse Snouffer, was added to the teaching staff and the work in the fourth, the upper west room, became more distinctly one for a high school curriculum.

Some of the teachers, other than those already mentioned, proceeding 1895, were: A.L. Nichols, George Smith, S.E. Johnston, Eva McGiven, Olga Brush and Bertha Lynch.

(The continuation of this story in the next blog entry.)

The Development of Grove City and the Schools – Part 4

(The following was written by Faye and Harold Morland, and is reprinted from “The Epoch of the Park Street School 1853-1964 and Grove City, Ohio”.  Any opinions made in the article are from the author.)

Grove City was growing. The Mt. Sterling hack and other horse-drawn wagons rumbled over the Broad Street corduroy pavements. This pavement was logs and planks lying side-by-side across the road to prevent the wagons from becoming mired in the deep mud.

More settlers came. More stores and more churches were being added to Grove City. About this time, the early 1870’s, the Council of Grove City passed some ordinances, one of them:

A fine of $0.25 minimum and $2.00 maximum would be imposed on violators who galloped a horse, mare or gelding on any Grove City Street.

County Road was settled between st. John’s Lutheran Church and Hoover Road. It later was named Stringtown Road, because these settlers all played stringed instruments. They formed a band and played in a “Spirits Club” on the corner of Hoover Road. The settlement was called String Band Town. Later the word Band was dropped and the settlement was called Stringtown. The road picked up that name.

The nights were dark. Street lights were unknown until the 1870’s when several coal oil street lamps appeared. In the late 1880’s they were replaced by improved gasoline and air mixture lamps. These were in use until electricity was established in 1913.

On November 1, 1884, the first train to run over the Cincinnati, Midland City and Columbus Railroad (now the B. & O.) stopped in Grove City. The Grove City commuter train service to Columbus started in 1891. The hack or stagecoach service was discontinued. The fastest steam locomotives took over, carrying large numbers of people and much freight.

Among the rules and regulations adopted by the early Board of Education of Grove City Special School District where the following:

It shall be the duty of the board to provide at least two sessions in each year; the first to commence on or about the first Monday in November and to continue four months of twenty-two days per month; the school during the second session to be divided into two departments whenever the school scholars demand it.
Other sections provided for legal holidays, for teaching certain branches, for regulation of conduct, and suspension of undesirable pupils.
One section reads: “It shall be the duty of teachers to prevent pupils from going to or hanging around the stores or taverns during recess.”

The code was signed by Joseph Bulen, William Nichols and R. Higgy, directors of the board.

(The continuation of this story in the next blog entry.)

The Development of Grove City and the Schools – Part 3

(The following was written by Faye and Harold Morland, and is reprinted from “The Epoch of the Park Street School 1853-1964 and Grove City, Ohio”.  Any opinions made in the article are from the author.)

The original recording of the plat of 78 lots was destroyed by fire at the Franklin County Court House. However, a recording of a copy of this plat may be found today in the Recorder’s Office. The copy was filed together with a petition signed by 37 citizen voters, praying for the Incorporation of the Village of Grove City as shown on the Platte. The name prayed for was, “The incorporation of the Town of Grove City”. The County Commissioners granted the charter the same day the petition was filed on March 9, 1866. All was recorded the same date. In 1868 Grove City became a special school district.

On June 12, 1869, Elizabeth Campbell Breck deeded to the Board of Education of Grove City Special School District Lot No. 33, next to Arbutus Avenue, for $50.00 paid to her by the members of the School of Education. See Deed Book No. 98, page 436, Recorder’s Office. Members of the board where Dr. Joseph Bulen, M.A. White and Ruben Haughn. The population of Grove City in 1870 was 143.

A second and larger two-room frame school building was erected on Lot No. 33 in 1870. The directors of the Board of Education of Grove City Special School District decided to build the new two-room frame school on the newly acquired Lot No. 33, because the title was clear. Moreover, the title to the log school on Lot No. 32 was vested in the Board of Education of Jackson Township. The new school was built and the inadequate log school was removed. Conveniences were more modern. When this second school building was no longer suitable in size or convenience for school purposes, it was sold. Mr. A.G. Grant purchased this building, moved it to Broadway where the Norris Funeral home now stands, and converted it into a double house for rental purposes. It was torn down in 1939. Some of the early teachers in this school were: William Barnett, Samuel Parks, Lydia Spade, Ardilys Harsh, Matilda Grant and David Braggs.

Maple trees seem to have been in great favor in those days. The principal streets were lined with them. Captain J.A. Swaney planted a row of them on the East edge of Lot No. 32. All lived. Later pupils planted them all over both lots on Arbor Day. This second school was soon crowded, but served the village until 1888.

(The continuation of this story in the next blog entry.)

The Development of Grove City and the Schools – Part 2

(The following was written by Faye and Harold Morland, and is reprinted from “The Epoch of the Park Street School 1853-1964 and Grove City, Ohio”.  Any opinions made in the article are from the author.)

The first teacher in this first school house in Grove City was a gentleman by the name of Mr. Canfield. II was Miss “Teeny” Yates, who taught one summer. The third was Mrs. Young, maiden name Viets, who in the autumn of 1853 though but a girl of 18 traveled from Oberlin to Grove City to teach our school. She began teaching November 22, 1853. Eight pupils entered, her average daily attendance was 60 pupils. Other teachers in this early school where Professors Hannam, Stonestreet and William Sibray.

Among those who took a prominent part in securing the school were William Foster Breck, Hugh Grant, Jr., George Weygandt, Daniel Smith, Jonathan Gantz, and Joseph Pense.

it is interesting to note here the Grove City Road (also known as Dutch Pike) extended northeastwardly and in alignment with and connecting with County Road, now known as Stringtown Road. This extended connecting road was discontinued when the plat of 78 lots was laid out. Moreover, it laid diagonally in the direction where the schoolhouse was later built.

Other lots were purchased for log homes. Grove City was growing. It got its name from the large remaining groves of trees that settlers left standing as they cleared the surrounding land for crops. The log cabin village grew. Some of the stores were constructed of brick. Tile was necessary to drain the fertile but flat land.

William Foster Breck was a very enterprising man. He influenced many men and owned large farm acreage, after having cleared the land. Besides crops that he raised, he established the usual basic businesses for the time in Grove City.

His death occurred August 8th, 1864, under most unusual circumstances. Older residents relate that he was loading oats in a field near where 71 West Park Street is now located. Suddenly one of the farmers in the community rode by on horseback from Columbus and informed Mr. Breck that Abraham Lincoln had again been nominated for president. Mr. Breck being a staunch Republican, shouted for joy whereupon his team of horses became frightened and lunged forward, toppling Mr. Breck from the top of his load of oats to the ground. His neck was broken by the fall. He died almost instantly and was buried in Greenlawn Cemetery, August 11, 1864.

(The continuation of this story in the next blog entry.)

The Development of Grove City and the Schools – Part 1

(The following was written by Faye and Harold Morland, and is reprinted from “The Epoch of the Park Street School 1853-1964 and Grove City, Ohio”.  Any opinions made in the article are from the author.)

The hardy pioneer settlers kept coming. In 1846, William Foster Breck purchased some land from the Hugh Grant estate in Jackson Township and came to live here. The Highlands or HIllsboro Road was built in 1848. The four, and sometimes six horse hack (stage coach) began service on that road.

In 1851 and 1852, William Foster Breck, with a commission composed of George Weygandt, William Sibray and Jeremiah Smith laid out and platted land into lots. This was the beginning of Grove City. The plat contained 15.25 acres of land in which William F. Breck had purchased from Hugh Grant, Jr., in 1846, and some other land owned by his father-in-law Jeremiah Smith. The platted land lay east of, and adjacent to, the Highland Road (Hillsboro Road). This road was renamed Broad Street on this plat. This road is now known as the Harrisburg Pike and, in Grove City, as Broadway. This plat of land was located seven miles south of Columbus.

The North boundary on the plat was named Franklin Alley and is now known as Cleveland Avenue. The South boundary on the plat was named Sugar Alley and is now known as Civic Drive. The East boundary was an irregular line generally located on the average of three lots east of Alley No. 4 on the plat and now known as Dudley Street. The four alleys north and south, all parallel to Broadway, are now known as First Street, Arbutus Avenue, Third Street, and Dudley Street. Between Sugar Alley and Franklin alley, and parallel to them, were platted three streets: School Street, now known as East Park Street; Jackson alley, still bearing the same name; and Church Street, presently called Columbus Street.

The plant contained 78 Lots. Four of them now make up the Park Street Elementary School site. The four lots are numbered 30 through 33 inclusively. They lie together on the north side of East Park Street. Lot number 30 lies along 3rd Street and lot number 33 along Arbutus Avenue.

The first lot purchased for the first school house was Lot number 32.  See deed book No. 74, page 475, in the Franklin County Recorder’s Office. It was deeded to the Board of Education of Jackson Township by the owner, William Foster Breck, and his wife, Elizabeth Campbell Breck, May 2, 1862.  The recorded deed recites, “The above named lot conveyed to the Board of Education is in compliance to an agreement made in the year of 1853.” The cost of the lot as written in the deed was 1 cent. The first school building in Grove City was built on this lot number 32 in 1853. It was built of logs and slab boards, equipped with rough slab benches supported at either end by a pair of hickory pins inserted in sugar holes and, for the times, was complete with modern “conveniences”. Part of this one-room building was later be used in two residences on Park Street and Arbutus Avenue.

(The continuation of this story in the next blog entry.)

The Epoch of the Park Street School – Before Grove City

(The following was written by Faye and Harold Morland, and is reprinted from “The Epoch of the Park Street School 1853-1964 and Grove City, Ohio”.  Any opinions made in the article are from the author.)

Two soldiers with military land warrants located their claims, small parts of each being destined to become Grove City.

General Daniel Morgan by his warrant number 20 from the United States government, surveyed 2,222 acres of land and entered his claim in the office that is now the office of the Auditor of State. His survey number 1383 was filed August 17, 1787.

Hugh Grant, Sr., an early settler, purchased part of these grants. He was an ardent hunter. One day he killed two Panthers. He killed 82 deers in one fall. While hunting, he discovered a tall tree with a hollow limb which housed a wild bees nest. In quest for honey, he evidently climbed the tree, broke off the hollow limb, fell, and broke his neck. He was not found until the following Spring because of heavy snows.

Jackson Township was wild and sparsely settled. Bounties were established for killing wolves. By 1820, Jackson Township had a population of 310 inhabitants. As the pioneers cleared the primeval forest and planted crops, they realized the need for schools and places of worship. The first Township school house was the Solomon Borror school built of logs in 1815 near what is now the corner of State Route 665 and Jackson Pike. It was supported by family subscription. Asa Davis was the first school teacher. The first church in Jackson Township was built of logs in 1817 and was known as the Scioto Chapel.

From 1825 to 1847, the state of Ohio built 813 miles of boat canals with many connecting Lakes. Settlers came by canal boat as well as by covered wagon. A cholera epidemic broke out in 1833. Of Columbus’ 3,000 population, 250 died that year

The Epoch of the Park Street School – Before Ohio Part 2

(The following was written by Faye and Harold Morland, and is reprinted from “The Epoch of the Park Street School 1853-1964 and Grove City, Ohio”.  Any opinions made in the article are from the author.)

The Virginia Military lands are a body of land lying between the Scioto and Little Miami Rivers bounded on the south by the Ohio River and on the North by Auglaize, Hardin, and Marion counties. This body of land contains about four million two hundred acres. This district is not surveyed into townships of any regular form.

Any individual who held a Virginia Military Land Warrant for his services on the Continental Line in the Revolutionary War could locate wherever he chose in the district. You could take land in any shape wherever it had not been previously located by another individual. Warrant holders made their claims and later sold parts or all of them to settlers moving in. The lands were heavily forested. They were abundantly filled with wild animals.

In 1797, Lucas Sullivant headed a surveying party from Kentucky. He came to the first Forks of the Scioto and set up headquarters. His mission was to survey the Military Lands and locate the warrants. He named the settlement Franklinton. This was the beginning of Columbus.

During the Indian Wars, Franklinton became a frequent headquarters for the Northwestern army of two to three thousand soldiers. They paid high prices for food:

Pork – $4.00 Cwt.
Oats – $0.50 bu.
Flour – $4.00 Cwt.
Corn – $1.00 bu.

Homes were log cabins. Living was not easy. Conveniences and implements work rude. In 1823, prices were very low:

Corn – $0.10 bu.
Pork – $1.50 Cwt.
Flour – $1.00 Cwt.
Potatoes – $0.12 bu.
Land – $1.00-$2.00 per acre
A House Lot – $0.47

The pioneers were undaunted. They kept coming and settling. There were no roads at this time. Only trails existed.

The Epoch of the Park Street School – Before Ohio Part 1

(The following was written by Faye and Harold Morland, and is reprinted from “The Epoch of the Park Street School 1853-1964 and Grove City, Ohio”.  Any opinions made in the article are from the author.)

The birth and growth of a community of people in all phases of life necessarily causes the birth and growth of schools for learning how to live a better life. Let us explore the land, history and development of the region before Grove City and Park Street School existed.

The first explorations by the Europeans into Ohio were made by the French, LaSalle dating from 1667. The territory was in dispute with the English. By the Treaty of 1763, the French assigned the “Great West” to the English. In 1779, George Rogers Clark, in behalf of Virginia, wrested control of the region known as the Northwest Territory from the English. The English relinquished their right and interest in the Northwest Territory by the Treaty of Paris in 1783.

The states of Virginia, New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts made claims based on charters granted by Kings of England to portions of the territory northwest of the Ohio River. These states relinquished their rights to the United States. New states could then be formed and admitted to the union when the population warranted. This plan was adopted with the exception of Virginia and Connecticut.

(The conclusion of this story in the next blog entry).

Town with a Future – The Grove City Farmers Exchange Co.

(The following was written by Lewis Garrison, and is reprinted from 1927’s “Grove City – The Town with a Future”,  available at the Grove City Welcome Center and Museum. Any opinions made in the article are from the author.

Town with a Future – The Grove City Farmers Exchange Co.

This is without doubt the oldest business enterprise in Grove City, being known over 60 years ago as the old Breck saw and Grist Mill. It was successively owned by various parties down to late years when George Gantz made of it a more or less first class small town mill and elevator. Several owners had the business subsequently, more particularly Esley Brothers and later Charles Esley. On February 18, 1921, fire destroyed the mill in storage room. Prior to this date the above title corporation was formed and after the fire the old premises were acquired from Charles Esley. Then began the erection of the present large and modern concrete elevator with a capacity of over 21,000 bushels of grain. Today with the feed mill equipment and other buildings the company have one of the best places of the kind in this section. There are over 150 stockholders in the company, nearly all of them are farmers in the surrounding territory. The business is prosperous and growing. The lines engaged in are the buying and selling of grain, flour, feed, salt, coal, fencing, tile, etc. Mr. Samuel Horn is the manager. The officers of the corporation are: R.M. Borror, President; William Koehler, Vice-President; Harry Linebaugh, Secretary, and M.R. Miller, Treasurer.