Memories of one-room school house property abundant

The school bell can still be seen in the wooden bell tower above the door of Central School.
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The school bell can still be seen in the wooden bell tower above the door of Central School.

Information about the old one-room school house on Rebert Pike has been coming in all week. It is exciting that long time residents are discussing the school and want their family memories recorded.

Bob McClure, former Mad River Twp. trustee and retired Greenon High School principal, had all sort of information about the old school on Rebert Pike.

Most importantly he wanted me to know that the one-room school was called “Center” School and not “Central.”

Well, I stand corrected and am a bit embarrassed. I don’t know why I used the wrong name. It was correct in the file at the Enon Community Historical Society. Was I a “spell-checker” victim? Or did I use the word Central instead of Center out of habit? I don’t know.

Whatever the reason for my error, please remember that the old brick school on Rebert Pike is Center School because it was in the center of the township.

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The old school house on Rebert Pike. PAM COTTREL

The old school house on Rebert Pike. PAM COTTREL
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The old school house on Rebert Pike. PAM COTTREL

Bob was also offered other information about Center School. That makes sense since he has spent most of his life virtually next door. Bob’s mother Marge McClure lives next to the waterfall and has been able to help with the things he didn’t know about the school.

Information I’ve gathered this week:

1. The stone dam and waterfall were not built until the 1950s.

Marge McClure and her husband Robert moved into the house across the road and a bit downstream in 1950. She remembers watching Frank Murphy, who owned the white house and old brick school at that time, build the dam.

Construction of the dam was to solve a problem with erosion caused by that small stream that parallels Rebert and cuts under it just before it gets to the school.

It is impressive when that rocky creek has a sudden flood of rain runoff during a big storm. Sometimes it flows over the road. It is interesting to note that Bob McClure said the house below the waterfall has never flooded.

According to Bob, the large area of farmland drained by that creek explains the sudden floods. The dam has helped slow it down a bit and has reduced erosion. Because of the steepness of the landscape the flood is gone almost as quickly as it arrives.

2. The Center School is on property that was part of the Moses Miller land grant after the Revolutionary War.

Private Miller (1759-1814) served in first regiment of the Essex County New Jersey Militia during the Revolutionary War. He moved to Ohio in 1806.

Many of those who attended were descendants of Moses Miller or lived on the hundreds of acres of land that once belonged to him.

3. The first name of school teacher A. Arthur was Armine, according to his great granddaughter Megan Muhammad. It can be seen in census records that he taught for many years in this area.

4. Basketball was played in Center School after it closed when the new owners put up hoops.

The court took up the entire building. In fact Bob McClure remembers playing basketball there with his friends Doug and Butch Bates who once lived in the white house. He also remembers seeing the old chalk boards at the front of the classroom.

5. The number of known students continues to grow.

The McClure’s said that one of their grandpas attended the school. Kathy Denlinger Denney and her father Bill Denlinger believe that William and Alma Denlinger also attended Center School.

Questions that remain to be answered are the closing date of the school, the location of the outhouse, the design of the white house, and location of photos.

Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be wrapping up this story and adding it to the file at the Enon Community Historical Society.

If you are a descendant of any of these Center School students, please check the old family photos to see if there are any photos of the Center School when it was open. Readers who find any more information may reach me at pamcottrel@gmail.com

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