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1954 Centennial Book

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PUBLIC EDUCATION IN FOSTORIA

PIX#43 Old High School Building with new wings
PIX#44 There were giants in those days
PIX#45 Fostoria High Football Squad
PIX#46 St. Wendelin High School
PIX#47 St. Wendelin Elementary School
PIX#48 St. Wendelin High School Band

Public Education in Fostoria had its beginning in a little log school house built by the citizens of Rome in 1833, on the west side of what is now Poplar Street between Tiffin and South Streets. The first teacher, Freeman Luce, of Ashland County, Ohio, was hired for a term of three months at $10.00 per month and "boarded round", that is he lived with each family in turn. Funds were usually provided by Subscription. Twelve years later a larger frame structure was build for the growing school population. Risdon had no building of its own for several years. There was not sufficient wealth in the village to pay the cost of one, and there were too few children to demand it. For several years, the Risdon youngsters attended a school in Washington Township, Hancock County, which was located just south of the present Fountain Cemetery. By 1845, the situation had changed so that the people of Risdon could and did set up their own school system. A "select school" was taught by Rev. Andrew Hayes in the M.E. Church in Risdon, during the years 1844-45.

After the merger of the two villages in 1854, it was agreed to erect a new school house and a two-story four room building was built on a lot donated by Chas. Foster. It was on the north lot now occupied by the M.E. Church. Fostoria=s first public school was opened on Jan. 1, 1856, with John McCauley as Principal. In 1862, the school was divided into five departments, infant, primary, secondary, grammar and high. On March 21, 1863, Fostoria, by unanimous vote was organized as a school district under the general laws of Ohio, and has operated as such ever since. Buildings were erected as follows: the First Grade Building, 1874; Central High Building, 1877; Center Street, 1899; Sandusky Street, 1890; Columbus Avenue, 1891; Union Street, 1893. All these buildings have since either been extensively remodeled, or have been replaced by new modern structures. The Sixth Street Building was erected in 1906. Plans are now being formulated for a new grade building in the fast-growing north end, with a remodeling of the Lowell Building to take care of the Junior High School, and a resultant increase in the capacity of the High School Building to better meet the needs of a very rapidly growing school population which is threatening "to bust out the seams everywhere."

Fostoria's schools have always attempted to meet the ever-changing challenges which constantly confront every healthy, growing, energetic, community. Its courses offered have ever been set up to meet the needs of the times; to serve all the people; to prepare for college, those who wished to prepare for a profession; to prepare for business careers, those who so wished; to help others who have wished to become machinists; or other craftsmen; to meet every need, when and if, at all, possible. To these ends there is a time set aside for the study of religion, the study of art, the study of vocal and instrumental music, the study of drama and speech, the study of health C with interclass and interscholastic athletics; and so on through the whole catalog of human interests.

For more than thirty years, Fostoria has been nationally known for the excellence of its musical organizations. Ever since Jack Wainwright organized the high school band in the early 1920's and it achieved national honors in 1923, until the present VFW Band reached and has held the National Championship for the past eight or nine years, Fostoria has been preeminent in instrumental music. The high school orchestra has often reached the superior rating in State competition. In vocal music, the choirs, choruses, quartets and other ensembles, are given state-wide recognition for their qualities of superior performance, while the extremely high quality of the performances of operettas and concerts presented annually make them something to be looked-forward to by all music lovers.

Likewise, few schools have developed a higher standard of excellence for its dramatic performances. Year after year, classes and organizations present plays, which are nearly professional in both acting and presentation.

If there is one thing the boys of yesteryear like to get together and talk about, it is of Fostoria High=s glorious football record of a generation or so ago. It was in 1897 that the first football team was organized to play teams from other schools. The boys had been kicking a ball around for a couple of years, among themselves, getting the feel of it. We are indebted to Harold Switzer, timekeeper for all high school games, and an old "Grad" for this information. His history of F.H.S. football from 1895 to 1916 is a goldmine of information. The boys played at Victor Field out on Columbus Avenue and "in uniforms of various styles and colors, and no two of them were alike", but they won five out of seven games. In 1898, they played Findlay for the right to use the colors, Red and Black, which Findlay also had planned to use. Fostoria still uses "em". The old athletic field back of the high school building was first used in 1902.

The total points scored by Fostoria from 1899 to 1916 was 4,521, while its opponents scored 309, a yearly average of 266 against 18.

In four seasons the team was not scored on: 1903, 182-0; 1905, 192-0; 1906, 333-0; 1912, 596-0.

Not until 1903 did the team have uniform suits.
1911: FHS, 3C Findlay, 0; FHS, 5C Findlay ,0.
1914: FHS, 112--Tiffin, 0; then beat Ann Arbor, Michigan champs.
1912 Scores: FHS, 87--Tiffin, 0; FHS, 28C Bowling Green, 0; FHS, 131C Crestline, 0; FHS, 58 C Ada, 0; FHS, 74C Mansfield, 0; FHS, 103C Prairie Depot, 0; FHS, 74C Buffalo Central (New York State Champs), 0.

1912: Two of Fostoria's mayors-to-be, Cliff Shuman and Hal Stout played on this team.

1913-1914-1915: Pete Stinchcomb, Fostoria's only All American (Ohio State) played on these three teams.

And the grandsons of those Red and Black players still play the same hard, driving game. They still give all they have and no one can do more. RAH! RAH! FOSTORIA

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

BRIEF HISTORY OF ST. WENDELIN SCHOOLS

St. Wendelin's history in focus is a story of progress through sacrifice. Established in 1873, the St. Wendelin Grade School was directed by a lay faculty until 1886. Since 1887 the Sisters of Notre Dame have comprised the teaching staff. At present, the combined enrollment of grade and high schools numbers 822.

Early in the pastorate of the Rev. Ambrose Weber the present grade school building was erected. In 1948, under the direction of the Rev. Raymond Kirsch, an eight-room annex was added at a cost of $150,000. Although 13 of the 14 available rooms are now in use, additional space will soon be needed to accommodate the progressively increasing enrollment.

Secondary education was initiated at St. Wendelin on a two-year basis in 1910. During 1920-1921 the third and fourth years were added. Preliminary plans for a new high school building to replace the old structure at College and Wood Streets were made by the Rev. Benedict Burger, St. Wendelin's first priest-principal who drowned accidentally in July, 1926

Successors to Father Burger include the Rev. Robert O'Conner (1926-1936), the Rev. Raymond Osterhage (1936-2943), the Rev. Michael Walz (1943-1950), the Rev. Joseph Schill (1950-1953), and the present principal, the Rev. Donald Hunter. Present plans provide for an addition to the high school in the near future.

Throughout the years, the St. Wendelin schools have been leaders in both parochial and civic activities. In the light of the past, the future holds promise for a still bigger and better St. Wendelin.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

APOLOGIES AND THANKS TO ALL AND SUNDRY-

The compiler of this very incomplete history of Fostoria wishes to express his sincere thanks to the many people who have sympathetically heard his request for information, pictures, and whatever goes into the making of a history. Really, only the surface of a History of Fostoria has been scratched. The City has a rich history, and it should be fully recorded and preserved, so that those who prepare for the Sesquicentennial or the Bi-Centennial of the community will have it at hand.

The Committee again thanks all who have in any way helped in this enterprise, and we faithfully promise, that all omission and errors will be corrected, in the next edition, which will be issued about 2,032 A. D.

C.D. LaRue,
Official Historian,
Fostoria Centennial
July 1, 1954

Information courtesy of Joan Fleming
 

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