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Page 12 text:
High School History
UCH credit is due the early residents of Toulon for the active interest taken in establishing schools for the education of its young people.
For a few years after the organization of the township, select schools and schools supported by subscriptions were maintained. Early in the year of 1847, a brick school house of one story was erected on the lot on which James K. Fuller now lives—a little west and on the opposite side of the street from the Public Library—and is still talked of as the “Old Brick.” This is the real beginning of the Public School in Toulon, District its first teacher was Thomas J. Henderson.
In 1858 two wooden buildings, similar to this in their appointments, were constructed to accommodate the increasing school-age population. One stood on the lot now owned and occupied by Lloyd Trickle, and was known as the “Soap Hill” School. The other was on the corner northwest of the cemetery, and was known as the “Fail-Grounds” School.
In 1855 a brick building of two stories was completed in which was held a private school called “The Seminary.” In this school the Senior boys and girls, who wished to go further than the studies offered in District No. 1, could carry on their work. This building was leased and eventually sold to the Trustees of Toulon township for the Grammar and High School pupils of the village. It is still standing, having been converted into (he residence of H. C. Bradley. These buildings, with the addition of a room on the second floor of a house on the west side of the Public Square for tlio Intermediate department, housed the public schools of Toulon until 1875.
The subject of a new school house began to be agitated in the early seventies. Several sites were offered and the feeling grew so strong that a special election was called to settle the question which resulted in sixty-five votes for, with nine against, the lots facing west on Olive Street, between Vine and Henderson. These lots were purchased of Mrs. Sarah A. Dunn for a consideration of one thousand dollars, the deed tearing the date of April 23, 1874. The contract was let almost immediately to H. H.
TOULON HIGH SCHOOL, 1921
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Board of Education
J. A. NOWLAN Secretary
TOULON HIGH SCHOOL, 1921
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Pierce, of Peoria, for the sum of §13,595.00, to cover every expense from the excavating for the foundation until the keys were turned over to the Board of Directors— Benjamin Turner, Stephen Lloyd and John M. Brown.
In February, 1875, the modern and commodious building was opened, and the school children of Ihe village were gathered under one roof. Frank Matthews was the first principal; Miss Watson, Grammar; Miss Sarah Berfield, Intermediate; Mrs. Amelia Johnson, Second Primary; and Miss Kate Keffer, First Primary. For many years an extraordinarily good school was conducted under the able leadership of such men as Frank Matthews, Frank Rossiter, J. H. Stickney, and others, with the enthusiastic support of the townspeople. In 1879 the first diploma was issued to Chester M. Turner. The succeeding years graduated classes, until in 1912 the Alumni numbered over two hundred.
In 1893 a lot was added to the school grounds, being purchased from the adjoining
property of J. H. Newton. A two-story addition of two rooms, the south wing of the
building, was completed soon after.
In 1919 a lot and a half were bought from the J. A. Johnson estate, further enlarging the play ground on the east.
In October, 1883, Toulon Academy was organized, which offered a course of study beyond that to be obtained in the High School. The next school year the Academy and
High School were merged, retaining J. W. Stephens, of the Academy, as principal. In
the fall of 1885 the two schools were again run on a separate basis, and continued in this way until the spring of 1912, when the Academy offered its property to the district for a Township High School, provided they would pay the small indebtedness on it.
Immediate arrangements were made for organizing a Township High School, which were so speedily executed that by the time school opened in the fall, the High School was installed in the Academy building, the Grades being given the entire use of the High School building. J. T. Kirke. principal of the High School, was transferred to the new organization and made City Superintendent, for the first year. April 12, 1913, by vote of the district, the site was accepted and purchased for the $3,200.00 indebtedness. So the second creditable attempt at a private school was, by the democratic spirit of the community, absorbed by the public school system. This was the first Township High School in Stark county—Toulon again taking the lead in this new educational movement.
E. L. Mendenhall was employed as superintendent for the next four years. He completed the organization of a Township High School; the Department of Agriculture was enlarged; Commercial and Domestic Science departments were started, the two latter holding their session in rooms on the second floor of the Caverly Building on Main Street; and Athletics received a new impetus under the direction of Professors Mendenhall and McKean.
In 1914 the law governing Township High Schools organized since 1911 was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. In order that the High School might continue until this was investigated, the Grade Board of Education carried both schools till the Legislature validated the law in April, 1915.
The accommodations being entirely inadequate to the growth and progress of the school, bonds of $40,000.00 were proposed for the improvement of the property. This was voted on December 20, 1915, and lost by a big majority. But the necessity was too deeply rooted in the minds of the people to be smothered in this way, and on November 15, 1919, a special election was called to vote on bonds of $100,000.00 for the same purpose, and the election was carried by a generous majority. On account of the great advance, during the war, in building material and labor, it was decided to postpone the building until a more propitious time.
The school is advancing in its work under the careful direction of Superintendent William Haw’kes and his corps of teachers.
DORA PLITER LONG,
Class of ’83, T. H. S.
TOULON HIGH SCHOOL, 1921
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