The early school house usually had one room and the land was donated by the land owner. Logan County had many early school houses, but none areused as schools today. New schools were built and the old schools burned down, were torn down or moved or turned into homes. The exact amount is questionable. Each township had a school and had district numbers and or names, sometimes both. I will make note of the schools mentioned and it may not be exact because different sources give conflicting information.
According to several sources the numbers vary from township to township. Bloomfield Township had 11-13, Bokescreek- 14-17, Harrison- 10-16, Jefferson- 16-24, Lake- 5-8, Liberty- 8, McArther- 11-15, Miami- 8-13, Monroe- 13-17, Perry- 10-22, Pleasant- 11-17, Richland- 10-13, Rushcreek- 19-20, Stokes- 13-17, Washington- 8-12, and Zane 7-8.
The first school started in a crude log building on Baird Street designed for a place of worship and by the Mad River Bridge. No records were kept of the school and students were taught by literate citizens. School was only held a few months a year or when they had a teacher. Reading, writing and “ciphering” were the subjects taught and went to the fourth grade.
The second one-room school was on Columbus Street west of the Presbyterian Church. Probably built in the late 1830’s and had a regular school master. By 1848 it was very crowded so a new school was built. A large two story framed building called the “Union School” was started in the same year on Columbus Street and offered twelve years of study and averaged 300 students. It was at one time considered Logan County’s best academic institution.
Another school mentioned had the kids excited as it was four rooms and on top of the “big hill.” The new school was built from the spring of 1849 to January 1851. The children aged four and older could attend.
There used to be a one room school house on 508, north side of the road, at the house before Co. Rd. 18 headed west. A family member used to live there years ago when it was still standing but was very rickety and unsafe.
In a story of early school houses it said there was a school at the bottom of the “big hill” one room log cabin where school was held around 1874. About 16 feet square with one end housing the fireplace. The walls were built of round logs and the daubed with mud. It had a clapboard roof and the door had wooden hinges. The benches and desks were slabs with rough legs. The school master was Peter Stipp who vacated the school and taught in a one-story hewed log house on the lot. Soon he built a two story house on an adjourning lot where he taught for many years.
West Liberty’s first high school was built c. 1850 on Newell Street and sat behind the present Public School, the second 1900 at 420 West Columbus (The Public School) and the present building at 500 Columbus Street in 1920 which was added onto in 1953. In 1990, the West Liberty Salem schools moved to a new campus for all 12 grades south of West Liberty on St Hwy 68. The old high school is a private residence and the elementary school was recently sold to a contractor.
Tami Wenger is a regular contributor to this newspaper.