Sharpsburg (Norwood) Central School

Central School
(1838-1856,1856-1884, 1884-1915+)

Central School
CENTRAL SCHOOL - 1856-1884.

Central School
CENTRAL SCHOOL - ca. 1884-1887.

Central School
Used as a school from 1884-1915.

First and Second School Buildings

In 1828, David Mills, for a nominal fee of five dollars, gave a renewable ninety-nine year lease to the Sharpsburg School Trustees of the land for a schoolhouse between what is now Smith and Montgomery Roads. A small school building (perhaps, a one-room log cabin) was already on this spot according to the 1828 lease. Ten years later, a one-room brick building was erected there. Photographs or drawings, if there are such, of either of these early school buildings have not been discovered. Click here for a 1918 article about the 1828 lease. Since the independent Sharpsburg School District was not created until 1868, the Sharpsburg school and its trustees mentioned above must have been part of the Columbia Township school system.

Third School Building

In 1856, a two-story brick school house was built at the location of the old school (see the top photo). It was a Columbia Township District School and was under the control of the Columbia Township trustees. On February 28, 1868, the first independent board of education, for what was then called the Sharpsburg District, was elected. Later, it became known as the Norwood Special School District Nos. 3 and 17 of Columbia and Millcreek Township.

Fourth School Building

In 1884, the small building was replaced with a four-room school (see middle photograph). Just three years later, four rooms were added. In 1892, after Elm Street was straightened, the school acquired the land where the old street (formerly known as School Avenue) was abandoned. This can be seen in the bottom photograph, to the right of the school building. The Central School was used as a public school until June 1915.

In 1915, the city officials used the Central School while the new City Hall was being built on the site of the old Town Hall. The same year, the building was demolished.

Other Early School Buildings

The Central School became crowded and too distant for parts of the growing village, so two branch schools were built — the Northern School and the Southern School, a.k.a North Norwood (or Marion Avenue) and Williams Avenue Schools, respectively. It was probably at this time that the old school became known as Central School. Prior to that it may have been called the Sharpsburg, and then the Norwood, school building.

A book titled "Record of Norwood School" started by superintendent C. M. Flowers contains the student records for Norwood grade school and high school. It shows that students were in Grade School grades H-A (equivalent to today's 1st through 8th grades) and High School grade D (9th grade) in the 1890-91 school year. The following school year (1891-92), the book listed student records for the grade school and high school grades of D & C (grades 9 and 10). The 1892-93 calendar indicates that the first two years of high school were still offered. The next two school years do not show any high school grades, but the high school grade D was recorded for the 1895-96 school year. Soon afterwards, the school board adopted the full high school course. Because there was no room to teach these subjects, for the next four years, the tuition in the Cincinnati public schools was paid for any Norwood student desiring high school studies.
The 1896 Norwood Directory listed the grades in each school as follows:
  • School, Central Building, grades A to H (8th-1st),
    ne corner Main & Elm
  • School, Northern Building, grades E to H and D grade High School (5th-1st and 9th),
    sw corner Marion & Highland
  • School, Southern Building, grades E to H (5th-1st),
    n side Williams opposite Spencer
  • School, unbuilt Building, grades A to H and C and D grades of High School (8th-1st and 10th-9th),
    corner Allison & Courtland
It was not until February 1897, that Norwood's first high school building — eight rooms and an auditorium, opened at Allison Avenue. To replace the crowded Allison high school, land was acquired in 1910 on Sherman Avenue and a new high school (the current middle school) was built and dedicated November 1914. The Central School was never used as a full high school; Allison Street School was the first Norwood school to offer a complete high school curriculum. See below for a different viewpoint.

Another history of the Norwood High School

In the 1944 Norwood High School yearbook, a somewhat different version of the early history of the high school was given.

   The beginning of Norwood High School was in 1885 in the Central Building, the only school house in Norwood at that time. There were only six pupils. Because of the limited room, they were obliged to sit in the same room with the entire Seventh and Eighth grades and recite to the same teacher. At first only a two year course was offered. Those who wished further education went to Cincinnati high schools and paid tuition. In 1895 the first regular four-year course was begun at the Marion Street Building, its temporary quarters. The following year the high school was removed to the Central Building where it remained, as the grade school had been moved to the new Allison Street School. The course included Latin, English, Algebra, Physiology (half year), and Biology (half year). The first teacher was Miss Carrie Hunt. The first Commencement was held in 1899 when five boys and eight girls graduated.
(Other documents record five boys and seven girls. See Norwood High School graduates for 1899-1914 from the 1915 Annual Report and a 1916 update of the Class of 1899 from The Mirror.)

   In 1901 the high school outgrew the Central Building and was removed to the Allison Street Building. The teaching staff was increased to include Miss Elizabeth Fairweather who died in 1929, French, Miss Cora Morton, Chemistry (retired in 1935), and Miss Nellie Fairweather, Latin (retired in 1937).

Soon the classes were obliged to have recitations in the lawn, so plans were made for a bigger building. In 1912 the cornerstone of the present building was laid. Two years later the new building was occupied.


[List of Norwood High School Graduates from 1899 to 1914]
[List of Norwood Special School District Board Members from 1868-1904]