1897 Immanuel Lutheran One-Room School House
Hours: open during the Henry County Fair and for special events
The school house at Immanuel Lutheran Church, rural Hamler, found a new home at the Henry County Fairgrounds on July 28, 1988. The Church’s trustees donated the building to the Henry County Historical Society with the agreement that it would be moved from its Ohio Route 109 and County Road H location to the Fairgrounds.
The move was completed by Harmon movers of Napoleon with additional service by Groll Tree Service and Tri-County Rural Electric Company.
The wooden school house was built in 1897, a year following the organization and building of Immanuel Lutheran Church. In 1902, an additional 20 feet of space was added to the structure, which indicated the rapid growth of the congregation as well as the large number of children in the families.
Rev. G. F. Kock was the first full time Pastor and teacher after the Rev. W. L. Fisher, of Freedom Township, helped in organizing the congregation.
Religious instructions as well as reading, writing, and arithmetic were taught in the German language until World War I when all children were required by law to attend public school until they reached the age of 16.
Some of the children attended Religious school until Christmas and then attended public school until spring when their help was needed on the farm.
Rain water from the roof of the school was collected in a cistern located behind the school and was then used to water flowers in the church cemetery. ‘Boys’ and ‘Girls’ outhouses were located just west of the school house.
Religious school was continued primarily on Saturday and/or some day during the week after public school hours. The instructions included lessons from Luther’s Small Catechism, Bible History, Bible verses and church hymns and culminated with confirmation at the age of 13 or 14 when Holy Communion was offered and the student was considered as a member of the congregation.
Pastors who taught in the school were; Revs. G. F. Kook, 1896-1904; F. W. Schulze 1904-1907; G. Wockenfuse 1907-1911; H. B. Wurthman, 1911-1921; H. C. Knust, 1921-1940; W. Fehner, 1940-1951; E. K. Jeschke, 1951- 1955; R. J. Burow 1955-1958; C. Hoffmeyer, 1959-1973; others include Rev. Paul Holls, 1973; Rev. Patrick Boots, 1977 and Rev. Duane Flurchtling, 1982.
In all, approximately 700 people attended the school either as children or adults.
In 1949, a Sunday School was organized and held in the newly remodeled church basement. This eliminated some of the sessions held in the old schoolhouse. An occasional class was held there, however, due to lack of space elsewhere. Summer school sessions as well as Vacation Bible School were held in the school as well as in the church basement.
After 1980, the school was primarily used for storage and for Vacation Bible School craft workshop.
The Schoolhouse was opened to the public for the first time during the 1988 Henry County Fair. Wooden steps and a ramp for easy access by the handicapped were added by the Henry County Historical Society.
The building is currently used as a meeting place and for display set up during the Henry County Fair. Future plans include further restoration of the building and enhancing its historic use as a one room schoolhouse.
During the 2011 Henry County Fair, we took some photos of the School House interior. Some children showed up while we were photographing, so we asked them to be a part of a living history lesson.