Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Tearing down the school in Wellington, Ohio

When I first brought Jim to Wellington, Ohio, where I grew up, the tour went like this:

See that house? See that church? See that school?

End of tour.

Now a third of the tour -- the connected group of buildings where my Dad, my brothers, and I all went to grade school, junior high, and high school -- will be torn down.

Right now it's a "middle school" but will be replaced in November by a newly constructed building on the other side of town. From what I understand the land will be turned into a park.

The fate of the school has been controversial. The building is in a historic district surrounded by 150-year-old homes, so the pro preservation people were/are very upset and believed it could have been remodeled and restored. Then you have folks who say a remodel wouldn't work and wanted new. The decision was put to a vote and new won. Kids and teachers will make the switch to the new building around Thanksgiving.

A couple of weeks ago the Class of 1970 held their 45th reunion at the old school and invited anyone who wanted to take a last look to come on by. I don't think I'd been back since I graduated in 1969. The inside and much of the outside looks as though someone decided quite some time ago that it wasn't worth maintaining. 

Update, August 21: An article in today's local newspaper says part of a movie staring William Hurt and Shirley McLaine might be filmed in the gymnasium of the school (shown in two photos below) this fall.  That would be a nice memorialization.
My brothers and I went to this school from first grade through 12th grade.  My Dad also attended all 12 years here and graduated in 1937.   I believe what you see to the left was built in 1938/39. The section to the right was completed in 1916, but the original multi-pane windows were later replaced. Sections you can't see in this photo were built in 1867 and 1953.  
Hallway near my high school home room in the 1953 section of the building.
The outside of the 1867 section.  
Bev on the roof of the school, where a telescope and astronomical observatory were installed in 1922  By the time I was attending school, the observatory was no longer in use. I didn't even know how to get to the roof, but Jim found a doorway to a rickety stairwell. 
Our high school gymnasium/theater/assembly hall. If you watched a basketball game you sat in these seats and looked up as if you were at a concert.
Jim on the basketball floor.  It was definitely not regulation size -- you can see how close the free throw line is to center court.  The gym is in the section completed in 1939.
Bev sitting approximately where she did when she played trombone in the high school concert band.
From top left clockwise:  1) Ornamentation on the outside of the building. 2) Many of the windows on classroom doors were covered with sheet metal -- not sure why.  This classroom also had fabric dropped across in maybe in an attempt to make it look more inviting? 3) Classroom wall with the American flag, speaker and clock looking pretty much the same as it did when I was there from 1957-1969.


  1. My high school in MD us being torn down too. New school looks great...from the pics. Time marches on.

    1. Hi Little! Bummer about the schools, but you are right about the march of time. Hope all is well.

  2. My high school in MD us being torn down too. New school looks great...from the pics. Time marches on.