The first school in Jackson Township opened in 1815 at Borror’s Corners. It was a private school supported by families living in the area. Members of the Borror family first arrived here in 1809 just six years after Ohio became a state. Their original building operated as a school until 1889 when Jackson Township rebuilt the school. Township schools provided instruction through the eighth grade. A student couldn’t advance to high school without passing the Boxwell Exam.
Grove City was founded in 1852 by William Foster Breck who, on May 2, 1862, sold Lot 32 to the Grove City Special School District for one cent. Grove City wasn’t incorporated as a village until March 9, 1866. On June 12, 1869, Elizabeth Campbell Breck, wife of Grove City’s founder, deeded the adjacent Lot 33 to the school board for the sum of $50. A two-room wood frame building was constructed on the lots located at the northeast corner of Park Street (then School Street) at Arbutus Avenue in 1870. Dr. Joseph Bulen, the first mayor, was also a member of the school board with M. A. White and Ruben Haughn. The population of Grove City at the time was about 150.
L.P. Fisher, in 1888, was the first superintendent and a teacher. He promoted the need for a high school in the township. In 1895, when A. C. Fries was superintendent, a high school charter was finally secured by the Grove City Special School District. High school classes were initially held in an upper west room of the Park Street School. High school was a three-year course of study.
Four girls were in the first high school class to graduate in 1896, just a year after the district got its charter. Commencement services were held at the Beulah Methodist Episcopal Church according to a June 4, 1896 story in The Grove City Blade. It wasn’t until 1905 that Ohio high schools became a four-year course of study. The first graduates included Lizzy Jones, Lillie Barbee, Evelyn McGiven and Sallie Jones.
Students from Jackson, Pleasant, Franklin, and Prairie Townships attended high school in Grove City along with students from Scioto Township in Pickaway County.
In 1910, the school district purchased land and constructed Jackson Township High School, later known as the Jackson Building on Park Street east of Broadway at the curve in the roadway. The only provision involving the new building was that Park Street be extended to Crushed Stone Pike (Haughn Road).
The second Jackson Township High School building, the one that became incorporated into Park Street Middle School, was actually built in 1928. It opened to students on Jan. 9, 1929. A large addition to the high school was built in the mid-1950s. It was replaced in 1970 when Grove City High School opened on Hoover Road.
Early Jackson Township Schools
For years, the Jackson Township Rural School District operated schools in neighboring townships including the Urbancrest School in that village. The exact date the township organized its board of education is not known but records indicate that by 1853, there were 12 schools with 676 students between the ages of five and 21 years. In 1857, enrollment in Jackson Township schools had increased to 736. In 1932, Jackson Township schools had the second largest pupil enrollment of township schools in Franklin County with 883 students; the largest township district was Westerville with 1,074.
An 1872 Caldwell’s Atlas of Franklin County and the City of Columbus is one of the earliest Jackson Township maps that identified a school in the township. Though only marked with the initials SH on the map, the following schools have been identified. None of the 11 schools were identified by name. They included: Borror’s Corners, Lakeview, Hopewell, Hoover, Barbee, Fairview, Oakwood, Greenleaf, Walnut Grove, Orders and Urbancrest. The map also indicated there were two manufacturers in the township; one producing drain tile and the other made wagons and plows.
The first effort to consolidate Grove City and Jackson Township schools came before the Grove City Village School Board of Education on March 23, 1916 but the resolution was rejected. Consolidation of the two school districts didn’t occur until July 20, 1920.
A 1925 map of Southwest Franklin County shows the following schools.
Jackson Township–Park Street; Miller’s Station School at Harrisburg Pike at Stahl Road; Walnut Grove on Seeds Road; Fairview, north of Zuber at Borror Road; Greenleaf located on London Groveport Road east of Pleasant Corners; Barbee School, location unsure; Lakeview on Holton Road; Hopewell School, near the intersection of Stringtown and Jackson Pike; Borror’s Corners School at Jackson Pike south of London Groveport Road; and Oakwell School, located on Clarence Baumgartner Road.; and Hoover School at Hoover and Gantz Roads and the Urbancrest School. The Orders School, located on Orders Road in what is now referred to as Century Village, has been restored. It has a focus on early education in a one room school. Another school mentioned to be in Jackson Township but not identified on a map, was Zion School. Decker School, sometimes mentioned as being in Jackson Township, was more likely located in Pickaway County.
Prairie Township–Alton School on Alton Galloway Pike; Rome School on West Broad Street; and Galloway School on Galloway Road.
Franklin Township–Pleasant Hill on Clime Road west of Demorest; Wilson School on Brown Road; Schlee School located at Jackson Pike near Greenlawn Avenue; Briggsdale School on Rt. 62 near Briggsdale Road; Walton School on Frank Road east of Brown Road; and Oakdale School at Demorest Road north of Big Run Road.
Pleasant Township–Pleasant Corners at Harrisburg Pike at London Groveport Road; Pisgah School, London Groveport Road near Norton Road; Kegg School on Beatty near Neff Road; Koehler at Grove City Pike near Neff Road; Story School on Grove City Pike near Lukens Road; Pennsylvania (Darbydale) School on London Groveport Road at Norton; and Harrisburg School. There may have been another school in the township known as Wade School.
Plans to Sell Four School Buildings
After creation of the Grove City-Jackson Township Rural School District was formed in 1920, plans were completed to sell off some of the school buildings. The first four buildings were included in an auction in 1928. Bids were rejected on two buildings because the bids didn’t reach the minimum selling price set by the board of education. An article, which appeared in The Grove City Record on May 31, 1928 didn’t identify the four buildings other than to say the Orders School was not sold and that Adam Gantz purchased the Hoover School for $50.
The combined school district again attempted to sell the Orders School at auction Aug. 11, 1928. The sale was to include the building and one acre of ground. There is no record indicating the result of the auction. According to Joan Eyerman, the Order School wasn’t sold but instead returned to the Orders family. A legal notice appeared in the July 10, 1931 issue of The Grove City Record advertising 10 schools would be sold at auction on Aug. 8, 1931. The auction was held at the Jackson Township High School on Park Street. It was understood all 10 of the schools would continue to operate until the end of the 1930-1931 school year.
10 Schools Offered at Auction
The 10 parcels advertised to be sold at auction in 1931 included:
PARCEL 1—Lake View District, Number 2, consisting of the land and a brick school building 27×36 feet located on Holton Road. The parcel included two frame buildings (out houses) 4×6 feet each; one frame building 8×12 feet.
PARCEL 2—Oakwell School, Number 7, consisting of a brick building 28×38 feet and one-half acre of land. The school was located on Clarence Baumgartner Road.
PARCEL 3—Barbee School, Number 5, consisting of one brick building 26X36 feet located in the area west of Southwest Boulevard. Also, two frame buildings (outhouses) 4X6 feet and one frame building 8×12 feet.
PARCEL 4—Borror’s Corners School, Number 1, (this was also the first school in the township) one brick building 28×40 feet located near the intersection of London-Groveport Road and Jackson Pike. Also, two small frame buildings (out houses) 4×6 feet, and one frame building, 8×12 feet.
PARCEL 5—Walnut Grove School, Number 9, consisting of one brick building 24×32 feet, two wood frame outhouses 5×6 feet and one frame building 10×12 feet. Joan Eyerman, a member of the Taylor family, disputed the reference that Walnut Grove, also sometimes identified as Taylor School, was included in the auction. She said the building was not auctioned but instead it was returned to the Taylor family who owned the land the building occupied.
PARCEL 6—Fairview School, Number 6, one brick building, 24×32 feet, two frame buildings (outhouses) 4×6 feet.
Four schools in Pleasant Township were included in the auction.
PARCEL 7—Pisgah School. This school and property owned by Jackson Township was located in Pleasant Township on London and Lockbourne Roads near Big Darby Creek and Hell Branch Run. It was advertised as an ideal location for a summer home. The property included one brick building 28×36 feet, one frame building 4×6 feet believed to be a single outhouse and a frame 9×12 foot frame structure.
PARCEL 8—Story School, also located in Pleasant Township where Pleasant View School once stood. Sale included one brick building 26×36 feet, two frame buildings (outhouses) 4×6 feet and one frame building 8×10 feet.
PARCEL 9—Koehler School, located two miles west of Grove City on Grove City Road in Pleasant Township, included the sale of one brick building 26×36 feet, two frame buildings (out houses) 4×6 feet and one 8×10 frame building.
PARCEL 10—Kegg School, was located on Kegg Road in Pleasant Township, included one brick building 24×32 feet, two frame buildings (outhouses) 4×6 feet, and one frame 9×12 building.
Six Different School Districts
In the early 1950s, there were six different boards of education in Southwestern Franklin County. They included the Grove City-Jackson Exempted Village District, Franklin Township Local District, Prairie Township Local District, Pleasant Township Local District, Urbancrest Village District, and Georgesville Local District.
Consolidation of the various school districts had been discussed because of the increasing number of students and a need to increase the operating tax base. Agreement was reached in 1955 and on Jan. 1, 1956 the South-Western Local School District came into existence. As the student population grew, the Village of Grove City received city status.
On Aug. 19, 1959, the South-Western City School District was formed and today the district has become the sixth largest in Ohio. In 2012, working with a new bond issue and the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission, the district made a commitment to build 13 new elementary schools, renovate two other buildings and construct a new high school replacing Franklin Heights at a cost of $260 million. In 2018, voters approved another bond issue to replace Brookpark, Finland, Norton and Pleasant View Middle Schools, build an addition to the existing Jackson Middle School and to renovate East Franklin Elementary.
Story Compiled by James F. Hale – 2020
Karen R. Lane, Grove City Public Library
Epoch of Park Street School, Harold and Faye Moreland
Southwest Franklin County Historical Society files
South-Western City School District
A History of Grove City High School – Afghan Edition
Down to ’45 – A History of Jackson Township HS
The Grove City Record
The Grove City Blade
South-Western City Schools
The South-Western City School District came into existence Jan. 1, 1956, a consolidation of six separate boards of education. The population of the area was rapidly growing in the 1950s and schools were pressed to meet the needs of students and families.
Only the Franklin Local District had a financial base adequate to support the growing demands due to the location of large industrial operations in the years just prior to 1936. The schools faced difficulty in meeting the needs of the growing enrollment. As a result of these growing needs, a committee of citizens representing the six districts was formed. Meetings were held with members of the six boards of education as well as county and state officials.
The consolidation included: Grove City-Jackson Township Exempted Village School District, and independent school districts in Pleasant Township, Urbancrest, Georgesville, Prairie Township and Franklin Township. The Franklin Local School District was the only one that had a strong financial base primarily because of commercial and industrial development along the Georgesville Road corridor.
The district was originally identified as the South-Western Local School District. On Aug. 19, 1959, after Grove City earned city status, the board of education took action to change the district’s status while changing the name to South-Western City School District.
Today, the district encompasses 119-square miles in the southwestern quadrant of Franklin County of Central Ohio. The district is the fifth largest school district in Ohio serving approximately 22,000 students. The district currently has 16 elementary schools, five intermediate schools, five middle schools, four high schools, one career-technical academy and a special needs preschool.
One of the district’s crowning achievements was the opening of Grove City High School and Westland High School during the 1970-1971 school year. These two buildings were planned to
house 2,000 students each. The buildings, at the time, were considered by architects and educators as “ten years ahead of the times.”
In 1998, to stem crisis-level overcrowding, voters passed one of the largest school construction bond issues in the history of Ohio. The issue made way for the construction of four intermediate schools (fifth and sixth grade buildings), a middle school, an additional high school, and a career technical center, as well as renovations to seven existing schools.
In March 2012, voters passed a no new millage bond issue to co-fund Segment 1 of the district’s overall Ohio Facilities Construction Commission project. The $260 million project replaced 13 elementary schools, renovates two elementary schools and builds a new Franklin Heights High School.
In November 2018, voters passed another no new millage bond issue to co-fund Segment 2 of the district’s overall Ohio Facilities Construction Commission project to replace Brookpark, Finland, Norton, and Pleasant View Middle Schools, build an addition on Jackson Middle School, renovate East Franklin Elementary School, and provide funds for much needed roofing and asphalt projects across the district. The renovation of East Franklin is phased in over multiple summers. The new middle schools are scheduled to open in the Fall of 2022.
Source: South-Western City Schools
South-Western City School District Article
On January 1, 1956 the South-Western City School district was formed. The following article written in 1986 celebrates 30 years of excellence for the South-Western City Schools district.
Download the article by clicking the PDF icon below.