Log CabinOne-Room School HouseBloomfield HouseCarriage House

The Henry County, Ohio, Historical Society
P.O. Box 443
Napoleon, OH 43545

Public Education

Early Schools

The beginnings of education in Napoleon were indeed humble. School was held in a little log cabin near Craig's Tavern as early as 1837 with Mary Whipple as teacher. Around 1838 a one-story frame building was built near the present courthouse. Pupils were taught by a young New Yorker named Watson.

In the 1850's another school was built at the rear of the Bitzer block on East Clinton Street, one block east of Perry Street. Another story was added which housed a large bell. This bell, rung by hand, called the children to school and could be heard all over the village. This famous bell now has a place of honor on the lawn of the Cen­tral School. In the disastrous fire of 1869 which burned the wooden court house and most of the business area, the school, too, was burned to the ground, only the bell being saved. For several years, until 1871, school was held in rented rooms.

Union School

Prior to 1858 the village of Napoleon and prescribed limits formed a part of School District No. 1 of Napoleon Township. Schools were under the supervision of school directors. The Board of Education composed of T. S. C. Morrison, James Haly, J. A. Stout, John Powell, Wm. Dodd, and Justin Tyler placed before the voters a ballot to create a Union School District in the territory known as District No. 1. The issue was passed 43 for and 3 against, thus the Union School District was created.

Bloomfield Home & Carriage House
Hours of Operation

June 25th 2:00-4:00 p.m.
July 8th Home & Garden Tour
10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
July 23rd 2:00-4:00 p.m.
August 8th Children's Victorian ActiviTEA
11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
August 27th 2:00-4:00 p.m.
Sept 10th 2:00-4:00 p.m.
Sept. 24th Harvest Tea 2:00 p.m.

In 1865 the Board of Education agreed unanimously to purchase for $4,000 a tract of ground belonging to Henry Yeager lying south of the Meth­odist Church and joining the canal (the present W. Main Street). A new brick school called the Union School was erected here in 1871 at a cost of $40,000. It housed 9 rooms on 3 floors and included A, B, and C grammar rooms as well as a classroom for Ger­man-speaking students. The old bell was placed in the tower.

In 1875, Union School graduated its first class composed of 2 boys and 9 girls: Jerry Belknap, Carl Becham, Ruth Bigley, Mary King Maerker, Hattie King Leist, Hattie Suydam Emmil, Flora Halter Perry, Mae Sheffield Hart­man, Kate Wilson, Mary Blair Lee and Jennie Hoskinson Patrick. The Super­intendent was J. F. McCaskey whose salary was listed at $120.00 per month.

Several years later, it became appar­ent that the building was not large enough to accommodate the increas­ing number of students. Additions and improvements were completed for the school year 1906-1907.

On the morning of March 10, 1908, another fire broke out in the school building, destroying the third floor and part of the second. None died but a few were injured. Quoting from the Buckeye of 1915, "On the anniversary a fire drill is held to recall this event." The destroyed and damaged sections were repaired and Union School remained the seat of learning until 1921 when a new high school was built at a cost of $290,000. The old Union School was then used for elementary students.

The above article is reprinted from Henry County, Ohio, Volume Two, A Collection of Historical Sketches and Family Histories Compiled by Members and Friends of The Henry County Historical Society. Dallas, TX, Taylor Publishing Co., pp. 279-280.

The content that used to be here on the homepage can now be found HERE. We wll make it easier to find in the near future.

The Henry County Historical Society was formed in 1970 to perpetuate the history of Henry County, Ohio, to learn about and preserve the artifacts of the county, and to generate interest in the past of the county. Our primary focus at this time is the completion of the restoration work on the beautiful Dr. John Bloomfield Victorian home, built circa 1879. This house is located at the corner of West Clinton and Webster streets in downtown Napoleon, across from the Napoleon Public Library. The house has been completely restored and is decorated with authentic period furnishings. Work is in progress on the carriage house and gardens. The home is open for special events, educational programs and private tours. We welcome new and old members alike to lend a hand and help us in our many programs and activities.

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2016 Strawberry

Christmas 2015
Open House

Log Cabin Open House
Dec. 5, 2015

Garden Tour, 2015

Gazebo Moving, July 2014

Photo Gallery

This site is proudly sponsored by Spengler's Restaurant, Napoleon, Ohio.

Wine and Cheese Parties

Visit our photo gallery for scenes from past events at held by the Henry County Historical Society.