Because You Asked . . . .

. . . .August 2003

Center Village High School - Harlem Elementary School- BW 8th - 1913-1977

School Site Becomes Community Park

This story is really the second about schools.  It will run before the first one.  I apologize to those keeping history in order but we need to review the history before the Community Park Dedication in Center Village Saturday.

Harlem Township had 9 sub-district schools open for the 1849-1850 school year. These were probably in homes or any place children could meet with the teacher who boarded with one of the families. Between 1868 and 1885, 10 sub-district schools and a joint sub-district with the Board of Education of Monroe Township in Licking County were built in Harlem Township. These were all closed by 1917.

In 1908 a school was built in Center Village on the west side of 605, south of Center Village Road.  This 2 room school held grades 1 through 8 in one room and high school in the other. Each room had a pot belly stove. Later 2 rooms and a library were added.

Center Village built a new 5 room school in 1913 with bricks from an earlier school built in 1871-2. The 2 rooms housed grades 1-11. An addition added to the back and a basement made room for the 12th grade. This building had a bell tower and Ted Budd saved the bell before the building was torn down in 1971 and it rests in the Hylen Souders School on Miller-Paul Road.

Harlem township built a school in front of the Center Village school in 1919 which opened for 1922-23 school year without a cafeteria or indoor facilities. These were added in 1937. The first graduating class had 2 students, the last in 1952 had 9 students. The old part of the building housed grade 1-6 and the newer housed grades 7-12.

In 1952, Harlem was added to the Big Walnut Local School District. In the fall of 1952, the high school in Center Village became Harlem Elementary School for grades 1 thru 8. In 1957 an addition of 2 classrooms and a kitchen was added to the building. From 1961 through 1965, the 7th and 8th grades went to Galena and this building was 1-6. When the Middle School for grades 5, 6 and 7 was built in 1968, Harlem Elementary School housed only 1st through 4th grades. By 1972 the Middle School was full so 5th went back to Harlem making it k-5.

On September 9th, 1974, Hylen Souders Elementary School opened for grades k-5. The high school was too crowded to house the 250 eighth graders so they were bussed to Harlem and the building became the Big Walnut 8th Grade until it was closed after the 1976-77 school year. Motivation for students and staff was tough since they had planned on going to the high school. Since it was the only all 8th grade school in Ohio, it was unique and principal Steve Butler and his staff made it work.

The Fireman’s Association paid $1 for the building and 5 acres on which it stood but the $20,000 to remove the asbestos was too much for them to shoulder so they sold the building to Mr. Hartman. In 1989, the Association filed an injunction against Mr. Hartman for lack of payment and the building was sold to Newark Concrete of Newark, Ohio, and they tore the building down and have a cement batch plant at that location.

The remainder of the land was kept to build a Community Park for the township. As part of the Ohio Bicentennial Celebration in the Big Walnut area, on Saturday, August 16, 2003, the Harlem Civic Association and Harlem Trustees will dedicate the Community Park at 2:30. A Girl Scout Color Guard and the Harlem Singers will mark the event.

Plan to attend the celebration at noon to see the uncovering of the pig.  Bring a covered dish and enjoy the Potluck and Pig Roast while listening to Merry-Go-Round organ music. Other entertainment for the event consists of decorated bike and trike contest, music by the Sunbury Singers and Fiddlers (Joe Triano and Group), Suzy-Q Cloggers, speech by horse riding Abraham Lincoln, geodesic dome contest by Boy Scouts, tours of a Tepee, and good old fashioned fun and games.

Many thanks to Phyllis Davidson for some of the history of Harlem Township schools.  More history is available in the book, "Pictures and History of Harlem Township, Delaware County, Ohio (1803-2003)," by Vicki Tieche and other township residents.  The book was ready at the dedication.


Photograph sent in by Pam Everner

Photos of Early Harlem Township Schools:
Schoolhouse1.jpg (382974 bytes)
Hunt School
Sub-District 4
SW Center Village Road and Green Cook Road
Hunt Students, 1905-06
Harlem Township Pupil List Feazel School, Miller School and Biggs School Built in 1855
Harlem Township Sub-District No. 7
Green Cook and Lewis Road

HarlemTwp3-29-1905-600.JPG (120956 bytes)

Class of 1919
Commencement Invitation

Class of 1927
Commencement Invitation

Class of !928
Commencement Invitation

March 29, 1905

May 8, 1919 May 5, 1927 May 3, 1928 Class of 1936 

. . . .And Now You Know
by Polly Horn


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