Window to the Past

Brief History of Delphos Public Schools

By BOB HOLDGREVE


The people of Delphos have been noted for enterprise and spirit in pushing forward to completion anything decided to be for the public interest. Among various possessions, of which you feel justly proud, is one which should be nearest every parents heart ó the Union School.

You have a fine building, and you have it filled with about 300 bright, quick-witted, intelligent children. From such members there should grow a first-class high school; but in order to attract pupils from a distance and to hold pupils in school long enough to complete a course of study of any considerable extent, the more advanced and difficult branches must be rendered intelligible and attractive. This can be done only by a good collection of mathematical, chemical and philosophical apparatus.

We have already made a small beginning, the proceeds of the exhibition having been expended in the purchase of Philosophical apparatus. We need $500. As a means of getting at least part of the money at the close of this term, the Excelsior Society has decided to give a Literary and Social entertainment at Schiller Hall, Mar. 27.

When our committees canvass the town, we trust that you will give them a cordial welcome at each home and place of business, and a liberal contribution.

We take this occasion to extend an invitation to the good people of Delphos to manifest their sympathy with an interest in the school, by visiting us.

E.W. Hastings, Supít.

Delphos Herald, March 5, 1874


Theodore Wrocklage, a Catholic, was so concerned that the city have a top-flight high school that he bought all of the bonds issued for construction of the cityís first high school, the Delphos Union School, (where the Jefferson Middle School is now), the day it was issued, to give the district a head start toward excellence. Then, he burned many of the bonds so that the city never had to pay him back.

Delphos Canal Museum


E.D. Mansfield has given a statistical history of the State of Ohio. He says the secret of the marvelous prosperity to this section, in less than 75 years, is found in the fact that the settlers were a school house and church building people. Without this proclivity they would have made no more lasting progress than the mound-builders who densely populated and cultivated the soil of the State.

They set apart 740,000 acres of good land for school purposes, to begin with; and they are keeping it up. The taxation for school purposes in 1874 was $452,135. There are more colleges in Ohio than in all New England; more churches than in any other State in the Union; more college students in proportion to population than in any other State.

Delphos Herald, March 1, 1877


In the late 1840s, a small one story brick school was erected between Jefferson and Bredeick St. in Washington Township, Van Wert Co., and was then known as the Section 10 school house. (Amazingly, this building is still standing today at the rear of the lot on the northwest corner of Jefferson and Fourth St.) Its first teacher was a Mr. Ferris, and some of Delphosí oldest citizens received their early schooling here.

This school house soon became too small, so, as a makeshift, the basement of the old Methodist Church was used as a school room for several years (corner of Third and Washington St.).

The next school building erected, was a frame structure, (located on what is now the southeast corner of Third and Pierce Sts.) This building was one story, 30x57 feet. It was built by Allen County and maintained by them for some time. Later, this ground was occupied by Mr. Michal Summers. Delphos, at this time, had two school districts, Van Wert County side and Allen County side.

The qualified voters of Delphos met in this old school in 1859 and voted to organize the Delphos School District. (This was probably the reason the first Jefferson School was also known as the Union School.)

The old frame school was sold at public sale, cut into two parts, with both fronting as residences on the east side of Pierce Street between 2nd and 3rd street.

In the year 1868, the Delphos School District voted a bond of indebtedness of $30,000 to erect the 3 story, 12 room, Jefferson High School. This building was continuously used until 1909, when it was condemned by state authorities as unsafe and unsanitary, and ordered torn down by the board of education in 1910 to make room for a more modern and fire-proof structure.

In 1888, the voters voted a bond issue for $25,000 for the erection of the Franklin Street School building, also to make some needed repairs on the Jefferson School building.

Next came the Marbletown Ward school on S. Clay street for the primary grade. (Garfield school).

These buildings were in turn followed by the erection of the Lincoln school and Jefferson High School building, (present Middle School) at a cost of about $125,000, for which a bond issue carried by the tremendous majority of 16 to 1.

The German Department school, on the corner of Franklin and First St., the property of St. Johnís Congregation, was a three story brick structure. The public school district, needing more school rooms, secured the use of it free of charge, using at first, three rooms on the west side of the building. Later on, after the congregation built the St. Marys school building, they secured the use of the entire building, and continued its use for a number of years. All that was required of the school district was the keeping up and making necessary repairs, which they did until it was sold to Delphos Mfg. Co.

It may be safely stated that the citizens of the Delphos School District have always contended that an education is indeed a public necessity.

Edited by Betty Schmelzer


Frank Krutsch left at the Herald office, a printed copy of the grade of the Third Department of the Delphos Union School, for the fall term, 1863.

Lytle was the teacher in charge and the print shows the names of the pupils, their age, percent for punctuality, attendance, deportment, scholarship, general exercises, and the total grade. In those days the highest percent was 1000.

The grade shows the names of Mary Strause, Carrie Ward, Clara Conklin, Lucy Metcalf, Jennie Hunter, Mary Bixby, Maggie Waterbury, Stella Hughes, Mary Briggs, Lida Pangle, Hattie Curtis, Annie Stophlet, Emiline Fousnought, Josephine Ganshaw, Laura Clark, Alice Scott, Grace Higgins, Hattie Waterbury, Susie Metcalf, Louisa Loiser, Flora Roebuck, Nellie Vincent, Lizzie Mercer, Lily Grimer, Emma Hough, Etta Enslen, Maggie Studor, Jennie Ling, Annie Rider, Mary Rider, Ann Cowan, Emily Houston, Janet Burke, Alice Fritz, Ann Krutsch, Viola Thornell, Lerana Price, Clarinda Pangle, Clarissa Kelker, Lenora Price, Belle Dimock, Mary Burke, Louisa Alexander, Fannie Osburn, Mary Krutsch, Eugene Metcalf, Eddie Miller, William Hading, Henry Bordis, Charne Holt, George Ingleman, Willie Demings, Eddie Mounts, Lewis Cooner, Lewis Greer, Frank Buck, Willie Fritz, Clarence Scott, James Harter, Frank Somerville, Christian Hawyer and Freeman Haps.

The ages of the pupils ranged from 7 to 14 years of age.


The School Board was in session Thursday evening. The bid of P.P. Welty, of Columbus Grove, offering to buy the Jefferson school building for $200, or for $650 if the board would buy the saved brick at $4 per thousand, or to tear down the school for them for $1,200 was rejected.

President Burnett and Secretary Weger entered into a contract with Frank M. Brickner of Washington Township, to raze the building with all possible haste. Mr. Brickner will supertend the work, and expects to start the work about the middle of next week.

Harry P. Shaffer will remove the slate roof from the building, and the work of demolition will start on the building proper.

The old school bell, that for many years called the scholars to their studies, has been removed from the bell tower, and placed at the rear of the Weger building on Main Street. It is quite likely that the bell will be placed in the new building to continue in service. The old bell is an object of interest to many people. While many are familiar with the sound, they have never seen the bell. It was cast by Fultonís Son & Company in Pittsburg, in 1869.

Delphos Herald, June 10, 1910

(This bell is located now at the high school on State Route 66).


The Delphos school board met Wednesday evening and arranged for the publication of the notice to contractors for bids for the erection of the Second ward school. At this meeting the board also decided upon names for the Delphos school buildings. The new high school and grade building will be known as the Jefferson school, the Franklin street building as the Franklin school, and the Second Ward building as the Lincoln school. A name will be selected also for the South Delphos school (Garfield).

Delphos Currant - April 9, 1910


Work on the construction of the new Jefferson school auditorium, gymnasium and the remodeling of the Jefferson school building is progressing.

The pouring of the concrete floor in the new addition was being completed Friday and the erection of the outside walls is expected to be started within the next several weeks.

Workmen this week had started to remove the asphaltic composition flooring on the first and second floor hallways and stairs of the old building in preparation for the laying of new terrazzo floor throughout the passageways.

It is planned to have the new addition in readiness for use at the start of the 1950-51 basketball season.

Delphos Herald, July 8, 1950


Landeck became part of the Delphos school district in 1968.

Ground was bought from Mrs. Clara Kavermann, in 1902, by the Delphos Board of Education for building a new school there. The Garfield School was built sometime between 1903 and 1909, and closed in 1961.

This school located on South Clay Street was also known as the Marbletown Ward School and housed all eight grades. Garfield Park is there now.

Edited by Betty Schmelzer


Order of building schools:

Van Wert side - late 1840s

Allen side - years before 1859

Jefferson, first - 1869

Jefferson, second - 1912, addition 1950

Jefferson, third - 1973

German Dept. - 1883

Franklin - 1889

Garfield - between 1903-09

Lincoln - 1912

Training Center - 1971, then high school built and complete 1973.

A new school bus garage was built - 1952.

Delphos Herald - Aug. 28, 1952


Jefferson Street High School

German Department School

Lincoln School

Franklin School

Garfield School


Compiled by Robert Holdgreve
Delphos Historical Society

October 16, 2004 Delphos Herald Newspaper

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