The Old Schoolhouse

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If ever a building represented the "old schoolhouse" in Perrysburg, it is the one formerly located on the southeast corner of Indiana and Louisiana Avenues called the Louisiana Avenue School.

At one time in years past it was only the only public school in town and it was a very handsome building as you can see in the picture.

However, it was not our first. The first school, built on the same site in 1849, burned down. It was called the Union School, a frame building constructed at a cost of $1,600.

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The Old Schoolhouse ca. 1895

Just twenty years later it had to be enlarged and at that time the wooden walls were bricked over and a third floor added.

When it burned down in 1894, the Perrysburg newspaper headlined the disaster "A Smoldering Ruin! The Dear Old School-house!" But in the same news article it pointed out that this was never a suitable building for school, that "its long stairs (to the third floor) have been the cause of the death of many a young lady who might be a healthy, happy woman today" (an apparent exaggeration), and that its bad lighting was the reason a great number of people in town were wearing glasses (perhaps some truth in this?). The newspaper editor seemed to be both sorry and glad it burned down!

Classes had to be held in several different places until a new building was completed at a cost of $30,000. It was designed by a Toledo architectural firm and its architectural style is known as Romanesque, which was popular for schools and libraries in America at the time.

A typical feature of that style is the building's large square bell tower (or belfry) with the pointed top that rose from a three-sided bay to the left of the main entrance. This tower was 80 feet high and could be seen from all over town. It was also a temptation for naughty students who occasionally climbed up it to hang their graduating class banner.

There were just a few hundred school-age youth in the district at the time, so the original 10 rooms in the school were adequate for all grades and classes. The place was heated by coal-fired hot air furnaces, had oil-soaked wooden floors to hold down the dust and for years depended on water from a well located outside about half way to the street. Every room was supplied with a bucket and a dipper for drinking purposes.

Some people thought the building was too fancy because it had an auditorium with theater-style seats on the third floor. But it was built that way because there was not any other place in town like it to hold plays and concerts. It was felt, why not create a space for something useful in addition to school activities?

The building was used for both grade and high school until 1916 when a two-story addition to the back was built to serve as a high school. In 1930 a new high school was built on the northeast corner of Indiana and Elm Streets. By 1953 Elm (now Toth) Street Elementary School had been built to help house our growing student population, but the old school was still needed, so money was raised to overhaul and modernize it. The by then shaky bell tower was taken down, as was the auditorium, and the flat roof you see today was installed.

The "old schoolhouse" was torn down in 2008 after a series of studies concluding it was no longer viable as an educational facility and after several proposals for renovation / re-development fell through.

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