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Thursday December 3, 1981


Pix #1 - Fourth Ward or Sandusky Street School as it originally called

Pix #2 - Longfellow school as it was renamed when it replaced the earlier one

Pix #3 - Professor Franks - Superintendent.

Ethel wickert, poet, subject of Potluck October 8, 1981, is like many people who save things from childhood...valentines, postcards, dolls, gradecards and lots of other memorabilia.

Shortly after I interviewed her for the October article I received from her a "History of Sandusky Street School", which she as well as others attending that school, wrote as part of an assignment back in about 1925. It was an item from her memorabilia file.

Immediately upon reading the history, I was sure it was a subject which readers would enjoy...especially those who reside in the east end area of Fostoria where that school having been rebuilt and renamed " Longfellow" in the 1939-40 school year.

Mrs. Wickert sent the history which she had written because my older sister Ruth was named in it. That was important to me, but of greater interest to readers is the data the history mentioned, as well as the activities of that school, and the pride the kids attending that school had for it.


Here is the history in its entirety:

The Sandusky Street School was built in the year 1890. The land was bought from Ephram Padgam. Mr. J.F. Tinny was the first principal. He was also first grade teacher. Professor Franks was the first superintendent.

The Sandusky Street School was then known as the Fourth Ward School. It is located on the corner of Town Street and Sandusky Street. The school has four rooms.

In the last four years, we have earned and spent six hundred dollars for improvements. Some of the improvements are pictures, victrolas, records, piano and a set of encyclopedias.

The School Board had improved the school also. They put new floors in all the rooms last year. They have bought us maps, reading circle books, a flag for each room, desks, redecorated the walls, and installed electric lights.

We stand at the head of the Thrift Savings.

This is one school where the playground has proved a success. It was started by Mrs. Ruth (Krupp) Dillon. At our school nobody leaves until they have their reading circle diploma.

We have put on many plays at our school. We also have had many community meetings and parties. In the year of 1921 we gave a play Mid Summer Eve, at the Fostoria High School auditorium. It was directed by Miss Devers.

I am very proud of our school as every boy and girl who goes here is.

(signed) Ethel Whitman

Your author recalls some of the information in the history, since my sister Ruth was a teacher there; and I spent some time at the school playground in the summer when she conducted programs there.


The history mentioned the various items the school itself bought from various activities for earning money: pictures, victrolas, records, piano, etc. Those particulars prompted me to reminisce and compare yesteryear with today.

The victrola, which was in all the Fostoria grade schools back then, was an important piece of equipment and entertainment. Each school room looked forward to the time when it would have its own period to listen to records and play games. The records brought listeners good music and provided the music and lyrics for playing many games, including "Farmer in the Dell"... remember that?

The piano in each school served a similiar purpose. One of the songs we sang back then was "Boston Town" and went like this, being in two parts: (1) How many miles to Boston Town? (2) Four score and ten... (1) Can I get there by candlelight?... (2) Yes and back again... (1) Then open the gate and let me through... (2) Pay first your toll... (1) I have no gold what shall I do...

(2) Turn and go away.

I still recall some of the pictures of the old master artists which adorned the wall of the schools back then... "Pilgrims Going to Church" "The Horse Fair" "Blue Boy" "The Gleaners" and many others.


It seems to me that schools back then were more simple, yet more fundamental than today. I put in my first six years of schooling at Whittier, but were about the same, equipped about the same, and all had dedicated, good teachers

The Fostoria Area Historical Society Museum has a typical schoolroom from the earlier period, equipped with items salvaged from the Whittier School, when it was demolished to make space for the new city fire department.

When the museum had its open house, I talked with a number of the visitors and they remarked about the memories the schoolroom stirred...the ancient desks, the blackboards, piano, the likeness of Miss Bourquin in the form of a mannequin, and much more.

Many readers, the younger ones and newcomers to town, will not know about the Sandusky Street School built in 1890, so we are providing a photo with today's article for their benefit; also one of Professor Franks, Superintendent of Schools back then. The smaller photo shoes Longfellow school as it is today.

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