HISTORY WOOD COUNTY WV SCHOOLS
Parkersburg High School 1906
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Information On Parkersburg's First Schools Conflicting Adequate and authentic information of Parkersburg's first public schools is conflicting. One early historian states the system was inaugurated in 1864, another in 1870 and yet another in 1874.
However, all agree that Parkersburg Independent School System was one of the oldest in the state when it passed out of existence with the beginning of the county unit system in 1933. The first public school' is said to have been conducted in a frame Baptist church building at 6th and Ann St. now the location of Logan Memorial Church congregation.
Parkersburg Independent school system, was established about 1870-1874 under a special act of the State Legislature. The first school building, the old Franklin school, was erected at the corner of Ninth and Juliana Street. It was a three room frame structure and served until 1876 when it was removed to a lot on Ninth street where it became a residence. In the same year a' new building, also known as Franklin school, was erected of brick and stone. It was destroyed by fire in 1889.
A four room frame building, the Washington school, was erected at the corner of Seventh and Green Sts, and was used until 1890 when it was razed. In 1891 Parkersburg High School building was erected there at a cost of $55.000. At that time it was the foremost school building in the state and considered as a credit to the city.
It later became the Washington Junior High School. Public opinion at first was adverse to public' schools as an improvement over the established private institutions in the city, including those so well known in that day as Mr. Nash's school for boys, the school for girls taught by Miss McLeod, which had succeeded an earlier one taught by Mrs. Rogers. They are only for poor children, some declared. but the public schools continued. Under the superintendency of Professor E. S. Cox, from 1874 to 1879, they were graded, their work systematized, and the education program fairly launched on the career of growth and steady improvement that made a record. The old Jefferson school on Grafton street was the third distinctively named building erected. It was razed many years ago. The next was a two story frame building on Thirteenth street, which became a dwelling house, in later years The school was transferred to a brick building, erected in 1880 on 13th St. It was used for retarded pupils for many years.
Garfield was erected in 1883 and the McKinley in 1901. In 1893 at four room residence on the, site of the present McKinley building was remodeled for school purposes. The remodeled residence later became a dwelling, house again. First Nash building was converted from the residence of J. C. Nash in 1895. The present structure bears that name, although it was once designated as Willard school to honor the famous leader in the temperance cause.
Parkersburg high school, the pride of the city was built in 1917. The "wings" were added several years later. During 1925 a school building program resulted in the construction of Neale, Lincoln and the present Jefferson buildings. Emerson school in North Parkersburg is another of the older buildings. The school board's early days were hard and its' path was indefinite. But it flourished and growth was gradual as educators slowly gained the full confidence · of the people.
W. L. Cole was the first president. He held office from 1879 to 1882. Other presidents and their terms of office were as follows: 1. Boreman, 1883-1894; S. S. Hazen, 1894-1902; James Bryan, 1902-1907; Talbot O. Bullock, 1907, 1908; E. T. Coleman, 1908; R. J. Boreman, 19013-1911; James A. Wetherell, 1911-1914; C. E. VanDevender, 1915-1918; C. A. Musgrave, 1918-1922 C. L. Scholl 1922; John S. Echols. 1922-1930; S. W. Cain, 1931-1933.
In the early, schools of Parkersburg J. C. Nash and Professor Cox were two outstanding figures; Professor Cox especially because of his working grading the schools and Professor Nash because of his abilities as a teacher Said by some to, have been the greatest school master the town ever produced, Professor Nash's memory is kept alive today by the building named in his honor.
Among superintendents of Wood County schools from its beginning were L. S. Boardman, SIdney F. Shaw, S. H. Piersol, Sam T. Stapleton. E. S. Cox, R. T. Barber, Sam T Stapleton, J. F. McKusic, A. L. Hollister, A. L. Purinton, W. M. Straus, W. F. Fleming, J. W. Swartz, U. S. Alleman, F. B. Burk, W. T Cochran, C. L. McVey, Edgar B. Sims, D. C. Tabler, M. B. Morris, Ira B. Bush, F. M, Longanecker, H. A. Langfitt, L. C. White, H. A. Langfitt (two separate terms), Walter B. Huffman, Harold W. Piggott, John A: Davis and Lloyd Wharton. In 1949 E. Spence Shannon was named superintendent, a post he has held through the years.
Several months ago Mr. Shannon informed the board he was not a candidate' for reappointment at the expiration of his present term this year. However he accepted a contract for one year, which will end July. 1, 1964.
Teachers in the early days of the school system here included James McAboy, Nash, and Cox
were William G. Brown; a Harvard man; Mrs. Alice McCreary, Mr. Edington, Miss Gilman, Miss McLeod, Mrs. Rogers. Wood County School system has grown rapidly through the century. There are now two high schools, Parkersburg and Williamstown, six junior highs and 43 elementary school buildings.
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