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Centenial - page9

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1954 Centennial Book

Test Index
1 - 2
3 - 4
5 - 6
7 - 8
9 - 10
11 - 12
Page 9

THE FOSTORIA ACADEMY;
ITS PREDECESSORS AND SUCCESSORS

PIX#29 The Fostoria Academy from the Water Tower in 1892

PIX#30 Front page from a catalog of the Academy, 1982

The original impetus toward an academy or a higher type of school than the town afforded at the time, came from the Rev. Wm. C. Turner, whose story was told in the section dealing with the Civil War. Although he survived the War, he did not continue as pastor of the Presbyterian Church, so the school was not reopened. After the War closed, an attempt was made by a number of interested Fostoria businessmen, to reorganize the school as the Fostoria Normal School, with Professor J. Fraize Richard as Principal. It lasted for two or three years, but finally suspended for lack of good financial management. This was about 1872-73.

In 1875, an association of Fostoria businessmen was formed to reestablish the Normal School. However, this movement gave place in July, 1876, to a petition by twenty of the leading citizens, presented to the Findlay (Sandusky) Conference of the United Brethren Church, praying that an academy be established and maintained under the auspices of that denomination. In September, 1876, the Conference granted the petition, on conditions that the people of Fostoria would raise sufficient funds to purchase grounds and erect suitable buildings for the academy. This was done to the amount of $22,000.00, including a donation of four acres of ground by Hon. Chas. Foster, worth $6,000.00. Trustees were appointed by both the Church and the local interested citizens.

The cornerstone was laid August 14, 1879, and the Academy began operating soon afterward. The first principal was Professor W.L. Jackson, who served until 1884, when he resigned to become Principal of the Fostoria Union School. Successors to him were Prof. M. DeWitt Long, Prof. J.E. Lehman, and Prof. Balcom. All were efficient schoolmen and had staffs of good teachers.

While the Academy was an important factor in the intellectual and moral uplift of the community, it ran into unfortunate financial difficulties. One of the conditions for the founding of the Academy was that the United Brethren Church would raise an amount of at least $100,000.00 for an endowment fund to help maintain the school. This the Church was never able to do, raising a paltry total of only $15,000.00. The income from this, coupled with the student' tuition fees was never sufficient to pay the cost of operation of the Academy. Accordingly, the Trustees had to borrow money to cover the deficits, giving mortgages on the property as security. Finally, the Academy went into bankruptcy, and had to suspend. The property was sold to satisfy the debts.

Professor W.E. Ashcraft of Indiana and a group of associates, finally bought the property and he reopened the school, calling it the Ohio Normal Training School. Under his able management, it prospered with a constant growth in enrollment, and was paying its own way, when in 1904 the Academy building was burned to the ground in a fire caused by an overheated furnace. It was never rebuilt. The four acre campus has been built up with residences. All that is left to remind those who knew the school, is the former ladies' dormitory, now remodeled into an apartment building. College Avenue still leads west to the old site.

THE FOSTORIA BUSINESS COLLEGE

There was at one time a Business College located in the second floor of the building now on the southwest corner of Main and North. It operated from about 1908 to 1911 or 1912.

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Information courtesy of Joan Fleming
 

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