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Findlay builds its first high school

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is another article on Findlay-area history adapted from a series written from 1959 to 1974 by the late R.L. Heminger, publisher and editor of The Courier.

 

By R.L. HEMINGER

 

 

With the selection of a site for Findlay’s first high school, the board of education had a big problem out of the way, but there were other issues yet to be determined.

There were contracts to be awarded and bonds to sell. The board moved rapidly in these matters, which developed after the voters decided in December, 1899, to build the new school. The site was at the northwest corner of West Main Cross and South Cory streets.

The board decided to issue $50,000 in bonds in denominations of $1,000 each. The bonds were to be issued as of March 1, 1900, bearing 4 percent interest. The bonds were to run for 23 years.

The board employed the firm of W.L. Kramer an M.E. Harpster to serve as architects for the new building.

After the architects had completed the plans and specifications for the new structure, bids were sought on its construction. They were opened early in May and there were a half-dozen bidders.

The board had taken bids two different ways. One was for complete construction and the other was a divided method, with one contractor doing some work and a second the other work.

It was decided to pursue the second course, and accordingly, George J. Horn, of Findlay, was given the work of excavation, brick and stone mason work, plumbing, carpenter work, painting, iron work and electrical work, at his bid of $30,630. The other work consisting of galvanized roofing, cut-stone work and plastering went to J.J. Dutwiler, of Findlay, for $5,900.

After the awards had been made, however, the buildings and grounds committee of the board at the next meeting reported that the two contractors did not choose to go along on the basis outlined. So the board then decided to pursue the other course ad awarded the whole contract to F. Wentz, of Canal Dover, Ohio, at his bid of $38,895.

The board decided to have steam heat and awarded the contract for their project to U.K. Stringfellow at his bid of $6,245.

In her history of the Findlay Public Schools, Helen Guise-Towend, a former local high school teacher, lists the following as members of the board of education “who paved the way” for the new high school:

W.W. Shuler, president; Timothy Fellers, clerk; Newton M. Adams, treasurer; Will P. Wiseley, A.J. Glathart, D.K. Bond, Anthony Dietsch, Harry Powell, A.W. Brown, C.H. Draper, J.H. Crawford, H.B. Hull, C.A. Ebling, T.F. Gillispie, M.K. Smith and F.W. Karg.

Others who followed some of these on the board during the progress of the construction included E.C. Taylor and F.M. Miller.

Work moved along rapidly on the new school. The cornerstone was laid in the fall of 1900, with Dr. John Montgomery, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, delivering the address.

When the building was dedicated in 1901, Dr. W.O. Thompson, president of Ohio State University, spoke. He called Findlay’s new building “the first modern high school of the smaller cities of the west.”

Teachers and pupils moved into the new building for the start of the fall term in September, 1901. However, the honor of graduating first from the new building went to the class of 1901. The auditorium was almost completed by the time of the commencement in June and the board of education decided to hold these exercises in the new building. But the class of 1902 was the first to graduate after having attended classes in the new building for a full year.

When the new building was finished, school authorities thought they had built well, for the future. But within three years, it was found necessary to hold classes on the stage of the new auditorium, so crowded was the school.

The building remained on the site until 1938, when it gave way to the present school structure

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