Grove City, Township Battle 1954 Flames

What was described as “wild storms” caused havoc and near panic in Jackson Township the night of July 23, 1954.  Fire Chief Olin Rumfield was out of town leaving Assistant Chief Ed Story in charge.

            This was a time when the township and the village had their own firefighting trucks housed in a building on Park Street.  The township truck was red and the village truck was white.

            The storm that hit the community was described as strong wind, hail, lightning and rain.  Storms had hit the area several times in recent weeks.  The local fire department had responded to numerous grass fires the week before.   High winds from this most recent storm blew down power lines on Park Street, damaged businesses on Broadway and blew down trees in the Orders Road area. 

During the storm, lightning caused a fire at the Otto Leithart farm on Stringtown Road.  Township equipment was dispatched to the fire but the Leithart barn turned out to be a total loss.  Volunteer Fireman Jack Peitsmeyer remained at the Park Street station with the Grove City fire truck ready to respond to any other fires. 

            Little time had passed until Peitsmeyer was responding to another barn fire on the Seeley property on London-Groveport Road.  Lightning started another barn fire and threatened several other buildings.  By the time he arrived, Franklin Township and Harrisburg fire departments were already on the scene.

            This turned out to be a significant fire causing $10,000 in damage and destroying 770 bales of hay, double corn crib, a large chicken house and 100 chickens, 450 bushels of corn, 400 bushels of oats and other pieces of farm equipment.

            Later, another large fire in Derby was visible in the night sky resulting in several false alarm calls. Because of the storm, electric power was out in many areas and many telephones were out of service.  People with telephone service saw the glow of Derby fire in the sky and were making fire reports to areas where there was no fire. 

            Assistant Fire Chief Story told the Grove City Record the following day that people reporting fires must know the exact location of the fire before making a report.  “If you must turn in an alarm, know the exact location even if you have to get in your car and find it,” Story said.

Major Eventful Years in the History of Grove City and the Park Street School, 1911-1964 – 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.)

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.

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

Major Eventful Years in the History of Grove City and the Park Street School, 1911-1964 – 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.)

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 continuation of this story in the next blog entry.)

Major Eventful Years in the History of Grove City and the Park Street School, 1911-1964 – 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 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. That all forms of profanity, discourtesy, or the use of tobacco in any form be strictly forbidden on all school grounds.
  6. That a system of writing adopted by the board must be taught in all grades by the principal.

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

The Development of Grove City and the Schools – Part 9

(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 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.

Signed:

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. Were we Happy!

Thanks, Beulah
Floyd DeLashmutt

The Development of Grove City and the Schools – Part 8

(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.)

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.

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

The Development of Grove City and the Schools – Part 7

(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.)

Meanwhile Grove City expanded its borders. It was again replatted 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.

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

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.)