The Epoch of the Park Street School
Transcribed by Mark Schmidbauer
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”, New sub-heads have been inserted.
You have explored the region and discovered some things about it before Grove City and the school existed. Furthermore, you have read of the birth and some of the development of the City of Grove City and of the Park Street Elementary School. You’ve seen the birth and development of the seventeenth largest school district in the state – the South-Western City School District – the old Park Street Elementary School becoming a part of it.
This giant school district makes for more efficiency by the consolidation, as previously in 1920 did the consolidation of Grove City-Jackson Township. The efficiency is for the education of your children not only in the maximum value return for your dollar spent but also in maximum facility and teacher personnel ability to give a more thorough education to your children in the same amount of time.
This school district provides 461 teachers, 17 elementary schools, 3 high schools, and in the building stage 3 new junior high schools to give your 13,300 children now attending school a chance to learn how to think logically so that they may secure a better life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This school district is now doing more for your 13,300 children than the
log school did in 1853 with one teacher and 60 pupils. Would you want to revolute to the 1853 facilities and conditions for your children?
The Park Street Elementary School by means of physical deterioration and functional obsolescence is now being replaced by more efficient schools for the training of the minds of your children.
This old school will not quickly be forgotten, because from it came the trained mind, the spirit, the soul. Call it what you will. It was in each one of us when we left the school, a typical American school. We, nearly 18,000, who trained our minds here since 1853, our books having been the grindstone and our faithful teachers having been the guides, came forth and put into practice with millions of other trained minds from many other typical American schools those things that we learned. With free ambitions and desires we consolidated our resourceful minds and used this great energy through many discoveries, inventions and ways of living to weld a mighty nation together for a better life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These trained minds are the lasting school, for the spirit, the soul, and the mind never dies. It passes on to future generations and into the metaphysical world from whence it came.
Boulder On School’s Site
However, to that part of the old school, the bricks and stone, like that part of the body called the soma plasm which must go, and to the faithful teachers who will move elsewhere, we salute you for your help and guidance. Now that this old school site is about to go, we suggest that a boulder be placed on the front of Lot Number 32 with the old school bell securely mounted and protected on top of the boulder and a bronze tablet secured to the front giving the following information:
“Site of the first school in Grove City.
A one-room log building erected in 1853 Replaced by a two-room frame structure in 1870 Replaced by a four-room brick building in 1888 With two rooms added in 1902
and two more rooms added in 1922
Site sold in 1964. A reservation should be made in the deed by the school board assuring that the above memorial will remain on the property for all time. Carry on Spirit. Pax vobiscum
At a meeting of the board on November 3: “A motion…that providing the three-mill levy at the November 7 election carries or the notice of appeal be wavered, that the schools be reopened Wednesday, November 8, 1933.” The levy was approved and the schools reopened on the day after election. The school survived a very trying time.
In 1934 the first mimeograph machine was purchased by the school board.
On February 3, 1939, the board adopted the salary schedule submitted by a committee with L.J. Mosher as chairman. The schedule (for the first time) gave equal pay to all teachers of equal training and experience, regardless of the sex of the teacher or the grades or subjects taught. Lowest salary possible on the schedule was $900 for two years of college training and no
experience. Highest possible salary was $1,800 for 5 years of college training and 18 or more years of experience. Five days of sick leave each year were allowed, with a day is permitted annually “not to be accumulative from year to year.”
On April 12, 1954, Superintendent George C. Beery of the Franklin County Board of Education received a letter from the clerk, Katherine Davis, of the Jackson Township Board of Education that the latter board desired to become an Exempted Village School District. The request was recognized and accepted by the Franklin County Board of Education beginning July 1, 1954.
Consolidation of Schools
In September of 1955 the Franklin County Board of Education received a plan for district reorganization in Franklin County as submitted by the Franklin County Citizens Committee to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, R.M. Eyman. Mr. Eyman gave his approval for the approval of consolidation of five local school districts in Franklin County as follows: Franklin, Georgesville, Pleasant, Prairie and Urbancrest, along with the Exempted Village School District of Grove City-Jackson. All these were reorganized into a local school district. This plan was submitted to the electors of the school districts involved as required by law and was approved by 55% of all qualified voters. This new school district was to be known as the South-Western School District, effective January 2, 1956. Superintendent George C. Beery retired October 1, 1958.
On May 6, 1959, Grove City receive the one-hundred fiftieth Charter from the State of Ohio. In October of that year the Franklin County Board of Education sent a letter directed to the Board of Education of the South-Western City School District recognizing the fact that the latter had separated itself from the Franklin County Board of Education. The city status of Grove City made possible the city status of the South-Western City School District, since there was no other city lying within the school district.
The meeting of the board on November 7, 1930 brought another resolution:
“Whereas: the voters of Jackson Township World School District defeated a three-mill levy for school purposes, November 4, 1930; therefore be it resolved: that the State Director of Education be requested to direct the Franklin County Board of Education to levy a tax upon the Jackson Township School District, Franklin County, Ohio, for 1930 as provided in section 7596- 1, General Code of Ohio, such action to make the Jackson Township School District eligible to participate in the state equalization fund…motion carried.”
We feel the depression. On October 13, 1933, the board met and passed the following motion with the four members present voting yes: “Motion…that the schools of the Jackson Township School District close until funds or means to operate are available.” The following story from the Grove City record of October 27, 1933, explains the board’s action:
“The 900 school children enrolled in the Grove City – Jackson Township Schools will be denied their education until after the November 7th election at least, it became certain Thursday.
“Closed October 13, the financial situation is so hopeless that Dr. J.C. Sommer, board president, announced to the school board at its meeting last Friday night that the existing deficit of $10,000 could not be met.
“Because of uncertainty of the outcome of the injunction suit against a three-mill levy voted two years ago to give the district state aid and uncertainty of the passage of the proposed levy, Dr. Sommer declared the board did not feel justified in asking teachers to resume teaching with only the hope of being paid later.
“However, he did say Thursday morning: ‘We have about $7,000 coming to us from the state auditor which we cannot collect because of court litigation against the school district. Lift the injunction filed against us so we can collect the money and the school board will have the schools open in 24 hours.’
“The schools closing affects more than 900 pupils and 27 teachers. Some families have moved to Briggsdale and Columbus to put their children in school, Dr. Sommer said. ‘If the schools can operate until the first of the year,’ said Dr. Sommer, ’we have enough money in sight from real estate tax returns, tuition, the liquid fuel tax and from state aid to continue.’
State Aid Possible
“‘If the proposed levy passes November 7, state aid will be forthcoming to help the schools, Dr. Sommer said Thursday, ‘but if the injunction is dissolved in the appellate courts and carried to the next tribunal, we will be in the same situation we are now. We cannot collect the money due us while litigation is filed against the board.’
“The board asked for an advance of $2,000 from tax collections to give teachers and employees part of their back pay. County Auditor Thatcher said that about $2,000 could be advanced on the year’s tax collections, but this amount is sufficient to operate the schools less than two weeks, and the sum must also be used to take care of the sinking fund.
“Teachers of the Jackson Township schools have received no pay for their services this Fall and with the outcome of the injunction appeal and the November three-mill election uncertain, the board was not willing to reopen. The board thereupon took action delaying the opening until the results of the November 7 election, when ballots will be taken on a proposed three-mill levy to aid the school, become known.
“Although the injunction obtained by the Taxpayers League prohibiting the collection of a previously passed Levy, was dissolved in this money may now be collected, the league has filed notice of appeal and the outcome is uncertain. It may tie up this revenue source indefinitely.
“Notice from County Auditor Thatcher that tax money to be collected in December will not be applicable toward paying this year’s bills, but must apply on 1934 expenses, also complicates the situation.”
In 1921 Grove City established its water system, through the efforts of Dr. Frank C. Wright, who sought to eliminate typhoid fever and other food and waterborne diseases caused by polluted wells.
In 1922, the third section, similar to the second section, was added to the northeast corner of the first and second sections of the Park Street Elementary School, completing the present building as we know it today. Water and inside modern toilets were installed for the first time in 1922. The whole building was modernized. All six “pot–bellied” individual heating stoves were removed. A central steam heating plant was installed in the partial basement for all eight rooms. The building was also wired for electric lights during the modernization program at this time. However, the flocks of pigeons on the roof continued their welcoming habits indiscriminately and without perceptible emotion. A contractor by the name of Swickard from New Albany, Ohio was awarded the contract to build the third section, and modernize the whole school at the same time.
On January 4, 1926, Dr. J.C. Sommer became president of the Jackson Township Board of Education. This was the first year Dr. Sommer had been elected to the board. He was president each year of the sixteen consecutive years he was elected to the board except the last. He served until January 1942. Dr. Sommer also served on the Franklin County Board of Education for 16 years.
On September 8th, 1926, the following resolution was unanimously adopted by the board: “Resolved: That all school pupils be prohibited from playing pool during school hours.”
On January 13, 1930: “ The vaccination against smallpox was discussed and the following resolution was adopted… Be it resolved that due to the widespread epidemic of smallpox in Ohio, that the Jackson Township Board of Education require of all pupils, teachers, bus drivers, janitors, cooks, etc., or any other person connected with the schools, the presentation of a certificate of successful vaccination against smallpox…,” excerpt from board minutes.
On August 1, 1930, the board adopted a resolution to place before the voters a three-mill Levy in excess of the 15-mill limitation for the purpose of meeting current expenses of the school for the five years, 1930-1934. This was defeated in the subsequent election.
The fall of 1930 brought us 28 classrooms and 23 instructors in the entire school system (in the town alone), with approximately 800 registered. We had progressed from the germ-catching tin cups chained to the pump to the modern sanitary drinking fountains and up-to-date fireproof buildings devised by the state code.
On March 23, 1916, an attempt was made to consolidate The Grove City and Jackson Township Board of Education. From the minutes of the Jackson Township Board:
“A resolution as follows was offered by Dr. Frank C. Wright (member of The Grove City Board): Resolution: For the formation of a joint high school Under Secs. 7669-7670-7671-7672, revised statutes of Ohio; whereas: it is the desire and hope of the members of the Board of Education of Jackson Township and of the members of The Grove City Village Board of Education that high school efforts and interests in Jackson Township and Grove City Village be consolidated and whereas: we believe much greater good can be obtained for all our children as a result of such a union; therefore be it.” Balloting was secret; the motion lost.
In 1920 The Grove City and Jackson Township Schools were consolidated. Consolidation was first hinted in 1906: became apparent in 1916: but in 1920 it became necessary. Separately, neither the town nor the township could give their boys and girls as good an education as would be possible if they united….
“And it came to pass that on July 16, 1920, an election was held in Grove City for the purpose of obtaining the wish of the citizens: Resolved: ‘That the Grove City School District should dissolve and become a part of the Jackson Township School District.’ It carried…
“At a special meeting of the Jackson Township board on July 20, 1920, the following resolution was acted upon: ‘Whereas The Grove City village board of education held an election on July 16, 1920, on the proposition of dissolving The Village District and becoming a part of the Jackson Township Rural School District, the Jackson Township Board of Education hereupon assumes the responsibility of the school formerly under the control of the Grove City Village Board of Education. Motion by Grossman, seconded by Wright that we adopt be above resolution.
“Miller yes, Willing yes, Grossman yes, Wright yes, Gantz yes. Motion carried. M.R. Miller, president; E.A. Willing; William H. Wright; J.P. Gantz and E.C. Grossman were the board members, with George Hoover, clerk. Clay Neiswender was president of the Grove City board at that time.”
The Park Street School was used solely as a grade school from December 1910 to the present year, 1963-1964.
On August 30, 1911, the board passed a resolution setting forth rules for the guidance of pupils and teachers in matters of pupil conduct about the schools. Copies of the rules were distributed as pamphlets. Here are some of the rules:
Pupils living more than a mile from the school building may be excused at an early hour by superintendent or teacher with the consent of their parents. That all people seen on the street during school hours must be prepared to give to the board a responsible excuse from teacher or parent for such delinquency. That the idea of perfect respect of the pupils of all grades for their teacher and superintendent be fully impressed upon the minds of each pupil and that it be put into daily practice.
The superintendent shall submit to the Board of Education each month, on suitable blanks, a report from each teacher of the progress of his department, showing the number of pupils who have failed to meet the requirements in any branch, and any pupil who fails for two successive months, or who is otherwise delinquent, shall be subject to inquiry by the board.
That all forms of profanity, discourtesy, or the use of tobacco in any form be strictly forbidden on all school grounds.
That a system of writing adopted by the board must be taught in all grades by the principal.
The Grove City High School band was formed a few years after the turn of the century. It was promoted and directed for a while by Clarence Byrn. A short time later Sergeant George Dumas, from Fort Hayes, took over. According to A.B. Graham, extension director at Ohio State University, Grove City had the first band and high school in Ohio.
Copy of part of a recent letter from Floyd DeLashmutt to Beulah White:
Copy of donors and donations for the first Grove City High School band. We had almost enough money to buy the instruments we wanted. It was raised by entertainments given to the public by the high school students. So, we took a paper and got some promises from some Grove City people for donations if we needed them.
We, the undersigned, I agree to pay the amount opposite our names, for the benefit of the Grove City High School band, if set amount is needed.
A.C. Fries – $5.00 Paid
E.C. Wagner – 2.00 Paid 1-10-08
R.D. Grant – 3.00 Paid 1-14-08
Geo. Sauder – 2.00 Paid 1-13-08
Geo. Rubel – 3.00 Paid 1-14-08
E.E. Grant – 2.50 Paid 1-24-08
S.E. Johnston – 2.00 Paid 1-24-08
J.T. Dountz – 2.00 Paid 1-24-08
Wm. Hoover – 3.00 Paid 1-27-08
E.A. White – 2.00 Paid 1-24-08
L.C. Riebel – 3.00 Paid 1-10-08
Mr. Hoover, the druggist, bought the instruments for the band and did not charge us any profit to him. We paid what the instruments cost him plus the express charges. We unpacked in Hoovers Store and took off for the school. Mr. Hoover even cleaned up the excelsior (packing) and boxes for us. Thanks, Beulah Floyd DeLashmutt.
Commissioner of Education Jones increased requirements for class A high schools. The board met these by making arrangements with the Township Boards for a division of the superintendent’s time, and employed another high school teacher. The effect was an increased attendance.
It is interesting to note that there were over thirty township country grade schools in five townships at this time. As grade requirements were completed in these schools, the pupils were sent to Grove City High School.
Love bug bites pupil and teacher. Who? Floyd DeLashmutt, class of 1909, and Adah Harberger. She started her teaching career in September 1907 in the old school, after having received her degree from Ohio State University in June of that year. A recent letter from them to Beulah White shows that they are “living happily ever after”. Bless them!
By 1910 there were three high school teachers and five grade school teachers. The total enrollment was 280 pupils, 81 of which were in high school. 42 of the latter came from other school districts.
3.28 acres of land were purchased by The Grove City Board of Education for the new Jackson High School. It was located just east of the bend in East Park Street. One of the provisions in this land purchase was that the seller, Adam Grant, build and extend East Park Street to “Crushed Stone Pike”, now known as Haughn Road.
Meanwhile Grove City expanded its borders. It was again re-platted and a recording made July 8, 1896, after the plat was adopted by ordinance by the Council of Grove City (May 13th, 1896) and approved by the County Commissioners. It was adopted as the official plat of Grove City.
In 1898 more maple trees were planted along the sidewalks of the school grounds. Principal A.C. Fries planted the most southwesterly one on the corner of East Park Street and Arbutus Avenue. He named it Clara Barton in honor of the founder of the American Red Cross. The tree grew very large. It died and was removed a few years ago. Only a small portion of decayed root shows on the ground surface now.
Ethel Hoover and Bessie Grant of the class of 1898 selected the high school colors of Crimson and Blue. Teacher salaries ranged from $38 to $62.50 per month. The clerk and treasurer of the school board each received $12 per year. The school purchased its first encyclopedia in 1901.
The school was getting crowded again. On February 2, 1902, Martha A. Houston, unmarried, sold Lots No. 31 and No. 32 the Board of Education of Grove City Special School District for a total of $400. See Deed Book 349, page 283, Recorder’s Office. The total of four lots comprised the city block is it now stands as the present school site. This city block cost a total of $450.01.
When the Brumbaugh Law classifying high school went into effect, Grove City having but one high school teacher, was necessarily a class III High School. This fact and overcrowding of the grammar school grades induced the Board of Education to submit to the people the question of a bond issue to provide more room. The issue was voted down. The following year, 1903, the question was again submitted. It carried. The second section of two rooms, one up and one down, was made to the northwest corner of the first section. This addition was made in 1903. Pot-bellied individual heating stoves were placed in the new rooms. Another teacher was added to the grade staff. Four grade rooms of forty-five pupils each were now in session.
On September 1, 1905, the high school course became a four-year course. There was no high school graduating class of 1905. Instead, it went another year and graduated in 1906. This was the first four-year high school graduating class. A second high school teacher was hired in September, 1905, to give the extra instruction. Through the efforts of Supt. A.C. Fries, the Grove City High School became a Class A High School. The doors of colleges were then opened to our graduates without further examination.