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Matamoras Minute: Stover School

With the decision to build Stover School Matamoras had made a substantial commitment in tax revenue. First a $50,000 bond issue was voted. Then another bond of $30,000 was added by an overwhelming vote of the people. Finally $20,000 more was provided. But the return on the investment was in line with the support and Stover flourished.

From 1926 until 1960 the school building at Broadway and Second Streets served the primary grades. The three established teachers of that building at the time of its closure were Mrs. Myrtle Karcher, Miss Dorothy McMahan, and Mrs. Amanda Garrett.

School lunches were carried from Grandview Avenue up to the site, and the playground bustled with students during recess. In the fall of 1960 the order came for the elementary students to move to a new building which had been constructed on the grounds of Stover School. On the designated day the children picked up their belongings and marched down Grandview Avenue to claim their new realm. The fourth grade class which had been held for years on the ground floor in the Stover School building also took up residence in the new elementary structure that day. On a personal note I was a member of the fourth grade class who walked into our new universe.

The grand school of 1893 on Broadway turned off its lights. It had served the community for 67 years and now stood bare. Its huge sandstone foundation blocks quarried from nearby Mill Creek and the trim of sandstone around its windows brought from the same location would never again host students. There were invaders however as some youngsters, including myself, occasionally found their way in for the purpose of wandering the old rooms or venturing up the bell tower to sound the brass.

The building was demolished circa 1971 to become the home of the Peoples Savings Bank. That grand opening for the new building was Aug. 12-13, 1978.

In the fall of 1962 Bloomfield High School was closed and its upper grades were sent to Stover. Bloomfield retained its lower classes for the next few years. In 1964 the Frontier School District was created as the State of Ohio began to push for smaller schools to consolidate. This brought together students of Matamoras, Newport, and Lawrence.

In the fall of 1968 the new Frontier High School began its first year. Last year the original class, of which I was a member, celebrated its 50th anniversary. It is interesting to consider the number of graduating classes that each of the local schools have had. The upper Third Street school was in operation for 26 years although each year may not have had seniors since a high school diploma in the later half of the nineteenth century was not a common achievement. The school on Broadway graduated 33 classes. Stover had 42, Frontier is continuing its count into the next half century. But the school building with the greatest number of years having classes of some level in session would still belong to Stover.

John Miller is president of the Matamoras Area Historical Society. Membership dues are $15 per year single/couple. Life membership is $150. Contact the society at P.O. Box 1846, New Matamoras, Ohio 45767. Much of this column is built on the work of Matamoras’ historian, the late Diana McMahan.

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