(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.)