A Compiled History of
THE NEVADA SCHOOL
Published in "Nevada Centennial, In Commemoration of
100 Years of History and Progress, 1852-1952"
The history of the education of the young in Nevada begins with the time when the schoolhouse south of town was the nearest district school and the population of the village did not warrant the building of a village school. Tradition is that school was held in various available rooms, but written history tells that "schools were conducted for about three years in a town hall which was situated on Lot No. 20." This lot is the middle one of the three between the railroad and Grant Street, on the west side of Main Street, the present Carpet and Rug Store.
In 1860 the Nevada subdistrict was created, providing for the maintenance of the school in the town hall. In 1866 the "special district" was created, and a building erected in the northeast part of town at a cost of $590. This was a frame building of one story, containing two rooms, and was in constant use until 1876. This first building was on East Center Street near the east line of the lot, vacant until recently, east of the "Rosegrant place," and therefore just within the Reservation.
On April 5, 1875, the people of Nevada voted to raise $8000 by tax for the erection of a new schoolhouse. An additional $4000 was approved in April, 1876. Tradition says that Samuel Bever built the school building. The brick were burned at the brickyard west of town, except the white, which were imported.
The building was completed that year, "and the pupils systematically disposed in their new quarters, the total cost of the new building amounting to $14,500." It contained six large rooms, a spacious basement, large halls on the first and second floors, a superintendent's office on the second floor, and to house the bell an ornate cupola whose finial is an amazing Greek lamp--symbol of enlightenment. Who has not tested the excellence of the smooth walnut banister which guards the broad staircase?
The list of teachers who have had charge of the Nevada schools since the first building was erected is as follows: J.L. Cook, Charles Williams, Emily Servis, Julia Moe, Mrs. L. Dumbaugh, Mollie Forbes, Mr. Nye, W.R. Crabbs, W.F. Carr, Mr. Dwire, M.E. Stearnes, and D.E. Niver. Mr. Niver, in 1884, headed a staff including I.C. Ginther, A Grammar; Mary Colby, B Grammar; Ida McDermott, Intermediate; Ida Pease, A Primary; and Miss M.A. Barr, B Primary.
The history published in 1894 adds Ford Lewis, George Rossiter, Ida McDermott, and W.H. Hill as superintendents, and publishes the list of teachers for the next year as F.M. Ramsdell, superintendent; Clara E. Wyatt, high school teacher; Agnes Pfisterer, B Grammar; Lizzie Morris, A Primary; Lola Teeterick, B Primary.
The first graduate was Grace Shay, of the Class of 1882. The first boy to graduate was Fred M. Gregg in 1885. Both distinguished themselves as teachers: Miss Shay was a teacher of piano in this community and in Chicago, Illinois, her present home; Dr. Gregg was a professor of psychology at the University of Nebraska, where he taught, lectured, and wrote books and articles on subjects in his special field.
About 1900, a special music teacher was employed, and after a few years a teacher for both music and art. Continuing the list of superintendents after F.M. Ramsdell, we record the names of Erwin Ward, G.M. Plumb, H.M. Lowe, and J.H. Grove.
In 1910, after a teacher had been added and the course of study enlarged and improved, the high school received its charter as a "first class" high school, qualified to prepare its pupils for college entrance. Rita Kinzly (Wilcox) was the teacher.
About this time the movement to consolidate school districts by eliminating the separate one-room schools and conveying pupils to schools centrally located was gaining acceptance in northern Ohio. Consolidation also entailed the organization of county school systems under the administration and supervision of a county superintendent. Mr. Grove--and our school--had been honored by his appoint in 1914 as Superintendent of the Wyandot County Schools, and A.M. Harnby became superintendent at Nevada.
The Nevada School received into its district adjacent territory which has been served by one-room schools. When the size and valuation warranted, a bond issue of $39,000 was voted on and approved on December 30, 1915, for the erection of a new high school building. A second issue of $15,000 was necessary to complete and equip the building, making the total cost $54,000. Built in 1916, this building was ready for occupancy in September, 1917. A school wagon had been purchased in 1916 from the Studebaker Corporation. It was horse-drawn, and Harvey Smith was engaged as driver, furnishing the team, at $70 a month. A new era in education had begun.
Running water and a modern sewage disposal system improved sanitation. A kitchen and a sewing room for home economics, a shop for manual training, a physics laboratory, a library, and a large assembly hall made possible a broader curriculum. Alice Kuenzli (Benson) was the first home economics teacher.
Fred Zeigler operated the first motorized school bus in October, 1919. He converted a second-hand Ford touring car into a school bus by using a special body which he called a "school crate," and was able to make his route in less than an hour.
The Board of Education which promoted these fine improvements were L.C. Orwiler, Dr. H.E. Dwire, Dr. S.E. Bretz, J.F. Stickey, and Elmer D. Kuenzli.
With free labor available in 1934, in the financial depression of that period, and with the M-P Auditorium and the old Advent Church as sources of material, a gymnasium was erected between the old and new buildings, complete with balcony, a spacious floor, and forty-foot stage. Completed in 1934, it serves the school and the community as both gymnasium and auditorium. Dr. S.S. Barrett promoted this project.
Superintendents who followed A.M. Hornby were D.J. Kunkleman, who came in 1920; B.M. Rutter, in 1923; W.A. Nonnamaker, in 1928; H.H. Silverman, in 1930; Homer A. Kuenzli, in 1936; Kenneth DeGood, in 1943; J.L. Doran, in 1945; Kenneth DeGood, in 1946; and Luther B. Lust, in 1947.
In 1950, a bond issue of $95,000 to add to and improve the school plant was submitted and passed, and work was under way by June, 1951. An additional $25,000 was approved in November, making the total cost $120,000, and in January the new quarters were ready for occupancy.
These additions and improvements include an attractive cafeteria with well-equipped kitchen and pantry on the ground floor; adequate classroom and shop facilities for the vocational agriculture department; a new home economics kitchen and sewing room, completely equipped; a new and fully equipped science laboratory for chemistry, physics, biology, and general science; new locker rooms and showers, new washrooms and toilet facilities, new furnace, and a three bus garage.
The superintendent and high school staff made application for membership in the North Central Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges, and Nevada High School was accepted in April, 1952.
The loyal and generous support of the bond issues by the public-spirited citizens of our school district have made these modern improvements and this fine rating possible. The school appreciates their support, and will endeavor to maintain an educational program of which the community may continue to be proud.
The high school faculty (1951-52) is a follows: Luther B. Lust, superintendent; Bruce Martin, Mary Lou Fetters, Ruth Kuenzli, Leon Neeb, Robert Streight, Mary Roberts, Lucile Vance, and Vance Crouse. Edwin Ritterspach, on leave of absence for military service, will return in September, 1952. The faculty of the elementary school is as follows: Marion McEvoy, Dorothy Kinsley, Patricia Reed, Esther Aten, Maurine Steinmetz, Jean Schwebel.
Kenneth Fritz is the custodian. Mrs. Juanita Williams and Mrs. Edna Troup have charge of the cafeteria.
The members of the Board of Education who promoted this last building project were Paul Suter, president; Ray Gilliland, Lester Markley, Richard Bare, and Jean Golling. The vacancy created in January, 1952, by Mr. Gilliland's voluntary retirement from the board was filled by Cary (sic) Ritterspach, elected in November, 1951.
Forrest Disher has been the loyal and efficient clerk of the board for fourteen years.
HISTORY OF THE NEVADA SCHOOL AFTER 1952
by Luther B. Lust
Published in "Nevada Sesquicentennial, Then & Now, 1852-2002"
The Nevada School opened in the fall of 1952 with the new addition and as a member of the North Central Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges. This association promotes quality teaching, curriculum, student activities and community support. All the high school students of the Eden School District to the North and half of those from the Antrim District to the South came to the Nevada High School on a tuition basis. They added immensely to the quality of the school, including the sports program of the school. Mr. Neeb added track and field which became very popular.
The faculty consisted of Miss Ruth Kuenzli, Edwin Ritterspach, Mary Roberts, Verna Reber, Vance Crouse, Bruce Martin, Leon Neeb, Mary Lou Fetters, and Luther Lust, Superintendent, for the Junior and Senior High School. The elementary school faculty consisted Marion McEvoy 6th grade, Dorothy Kinsley 5th grade, Bertha Gilliland 4th grade, Esther Aten 3rd grade, Maurine Steinmetz 2rd grade, and Jean Schwabel 1st grade. Kenneth Fritz was head custodian assisted by Edith Stover.
By 1954 the band had grown to 48 members and the choir to 35 members under the direction of Miss Fetters. The boys basketball team was very successful losing only to the highly rated Sycamore team in the district tournament. The track team was even more successful, winning the State of Ohio 1st place Class B title. James Steinhilber placed 1st in the shot put and James Stiger 1st place in both high and low hurdles.
Miss Charlotte Paul joined the high school staff, and Selma Tschantz and Julia Kissling joined the elementary school staff.
The years 1955-1958 pass on, Mr. Donald Cullen became coach, Miss Emily Ford joined the staff in English, and William Stahl replaced Mrs. Mary Lou Coons in music. The school was proud to have James Ahmann earlier and Raymond McClintock receive appointments to the Air Force Academy. James flew fighters in the Viet Nam war, and Raymond flew refueling tankers.
Each year a nice school annual was published with a dedication which was given, in this order, to Mr. Martin, Miss Fetters, Mr. Ritterspach, Mrs. Roberts, Mr. Lust, Mr. Fritz, Mrs. Caskey, parents, the Nevada Community, and Mr. Dilley.
About 1956 the consolidation of schools was promoted by the State of Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Legislature. The reason was greater efficiency, better curriculum, better curriculum, better qualified staff members, and supposedly cheaper per student cost. Although Nevada with the Eden and Antrim students was not in immediate danger of losing its charter, without them it would be in jeopardy, especially without more valuation of property.
Several surveys were made including a Harpster, Antrim, Eden, Nevada consolidation and another including Mt. Zion. Also consideration was given to merging with Upper Sandusky. In 1958 Mr. Lust proposed a Lykens, Eden, Holmes Liberty, Antrim, Mt. Zion consolidation, and a letter was sent to the Holmes Liberty Board of Education. After many meetings a proposal to ask the State Board of Education to place on the ballot a merger of Mt. Zion, Nevada, Holmes Liberty, and Lykens. This issue passed at Nevada and Mt. Zion but failed in the other two districts. After Lykens lost its charter, the same four districts did consolidate and built the Wynford High School building which opened in 1963 with Mr. Lust as principal and Mr. Donnenwirth as superintendent of the district. Mr. Harmon became the Crawford County superintendent. After all the confusion, Eden lost interest and merged with the Upper Sandusky district, and Antrim district was split three ways to Ridgedale, Wynford and Upper Sandusky.
The Nevada building operated as K-8 for two years with Mr. Ritterspach as head teacher. Then in 1965 grades 5-8 went to Mt. Zion, and the former Mt. Zion K-4 came to Nevada. The old building was closed and later demolished. Later the Mt. Zion building was condemned by the school superintendent at that time with a lot of controversy. Modular units were set up at the high school which exist today.
A new superintendent, Dr. Charles Barr, came to the Wynford district in the early 1990's. A new elementary school was proposed for the district which was completed and opened in the year 2000. The Nevada building was closed that year and then demolished in the summer for 2001.
A lot of learning took place in those buildings, and a lot of fond memories will exist as long as there are alumni. Buildings are a necessity for modern education as we know it, but in the 19th century a noted educator, Mark Hopkins, answered the question What constitutes a good school? "It is an eager student on one end of a log and a good teacher on the other." Let the district retain good teachers.
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