Hilliard History Lives: One-room schoolhouse shows legacy of education
The Grand View School in the Historical Village at Weaver Park stands as a historic monument to primary education in Hilliard and the surrounding area.
In the early days of this nation, pioneers began moving west to seek the promise of a better life for their families, and they were willing to endure the hardship and danger of the wilderness as they searched for the property that they thought would fulfill their dreams and aspirations.
When they found that special property, they set to the task of building a cabin and barn and preparing the soil for planting.
As others also settled in the area, two things became apparent. One was that a strong religious belief was necessary for their mental health and well-being. The other was they believed education was very important for their children's future.
In the area that later would be called Hilliard, formal education began in 1814 in a log cabin at Smiley's Corner, just west of the Scioto River near Wesley Chapel Cemetery on Dublin Road.
As people kept moving into the area, small settlements developed.
The two townships that would become the main part of the future Hilliard City School District are Norwich and Brown.
Pioneer children needed to be close to their school, so Norwich Township created 13 district schools and Brown Township created 10.
These one-room brick school buildings were used to educate students in grades 1 to 8 until 1917, when the school boards for Norwich, Brown and Norwich Special districts decided to consolidate all one-room schools into a new elementary school at the northwest corner of Main Street and Scioto Darby Road.
Of the original local one-room school buildings, only two remain in existence today. One in Brown Township, still at its original location, was converted into a residence. The other was moved to the Historical Village at Weaver Park in Hilliard.
The school building in the Historic Village was known as the Grand View School. It was built in 1891 on the west side of Cosgray Road on a farm owned by the Van Schoyck family.
After the school was closed in 1917, it was converted into a residence. When it no longer was being used as a residence, it sat empty and abandoned for some years.
The farm on which the school originally was located eventually was sold to the Hoffman family, who decided to donate it to the Hilliard Ohio Historical Society. Money was raised, and a new foundation was constructed in the Historic Village.
On July 13, 1972, after the roof and porch were removed, the Grand View School was placed on a flatbed trailer and moved to Weaver Park. It was moved to the new foundation, the roof was reinstalled and the old interior walls were disassembled and removed, returning the structure to its original condition with one room.
The room was furnished with original items from the late 1800s. The teacher's desk was in the back of the room on a raised 6-inch-high platform. Behind her desk was a large blackboard.
In the center of the room was a potbelly stove, and the wood usually was supplied by the families of students. The stove was surrounded by different-sized student desks for grades 1 to 8.
On either side of the door were shelves and coat racks. The students would put their lunch boxes on the shelves.
You also would find a stand with a water bucket and a dipper that was used by all the students.
The only thing still needed was a teacher. The teacher in those early days was an unmarried woman called the "schoolmarm."
This historic, one-room schoolhouse is surrounded by multiple historic buildings in Weaver Park. We invite everyone to come, visit and step back in time.
The Historical Village is open from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday evenings and from 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays. Admission is free, but we would encourage visitors to donate whatever amount they choose to be used for upkeep of the buildings.
Tim Woodruff is president of the Hilliard Ohio Historical Society. The historical society's Hilliard History Lives guest column is a periodic feature in the ThisWeek Hilliard Northwest News.