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Stryker Schools through the years

Stryker 1857 Two Story School Building

     Stryker's first schoolhouse was a small one-room log building in the woods near the northeast corner of Defiance and Curtis streets. Stryker, surveyed in 1853, grew rapidly and the log schoolhouse soon became overcrowded.
     In 1857, the village, with the township's assistance, built this two-story, two-room wooden frame schoolhouse on the site of the present elementary school at a cost of about $1,600. This school building faced west toward what was then the town's public square or park, but which is today part of the school grounds.
     In 1869 the frame schoolhouse was replaced by a brick building. The frame schoolhouse was moved one-half block to the west side of Center Street, just south of Short Street, and turned 180 degrees so that its entrance faced east.
     Springfield Township acquired the structure and for more than 40 years, it served as a township hall and community center, hosting entertainment, church services and other local social activities.
     In June 1911, E. P. Mignerey purchased the old building at public auction for $52 with the stipulation that it was to be removed within 60 days. The old schoolhouse's ultimate fate is unknown.
     This photograph is from the Louis Seigneur collection.

Stryker 1869 School 3_edited

By 1864 the Stryker school district had 263 pupils and larger school facilities were again needed. The school board approved construction of a "large and stately school edifice of brick," designed by C. C. Miller of Toledo.
On June 20, 1867, the construction contract was awarded to Francis Solier, a Stryker merchant who once operated the Lockport mill. Mr. Solier died unexpectedly, and construction ground to a halt.
In the summer of 1868 a new contract was awarded to Wheelock, McKay & Underhill of Fort Wayne, Ind.
The school's cornerstone was laid September 19, 1868-the 15th anniversary of Stryker's founding. This four-room brick school building was completed by December 1869 on the same site occupied by the present elementary school at a total cost of $13,000.
This photograph is from the Kevin Maynard collection.


As the community continued to grow, by the mid 1880s additional classroom space was needed.
At an election in April 1886, voters approved an $8,000 tax levy to build an addition to the brick school or to construct a second building. School board members John G. Rumsey, Dr. Nathaniel B. Stubbs, John A. Von Behren, Dr. Festus A. Snear, P. J. Bourquin and Fred Louys decided to build a two-story addition on the west side of the brick school that virtually mirrored the existing building with the 1869 building's large bell tower in the middle.
Henry G. Shaffer, an owner of the Stryker boat oar factory, sawmill and tannery, received the contract to build the addition for $6,503. By July 1, 1886, 25 to 30 men were working on the addition. In August the roof was being placed on the addition, and it was probably occupied in the fall of 1886.
The cornerstone of this addition today sits near the 1868 school cornerstone on the east side of the elementary school building.
This photograph is from the Williams County Public Library's Photographic Archives.

Stryker School Fire 1902

On the night of December 9, 1902, Stryker's fine brick school building erected in 1869, along with its 1886 addition, were destroyed by a fire intentionally set by Fred Bowman, a 14-year-old boy who lived two miles north of Stryker.
Bowman confessed to starting a number of other suspicious fires including those in the Stryker Methodist Episcopal church, W. P. Grisier's barn and a one-room schoolhouse near Stryker. In the spring of 1903 the young arsonist was sentenced to reform school in Lancaster, Ohio, to remain until he was 21 years old.
Stryker classes soon resumed in the Universalist church, the Methodist Episcopal church, the United Brethren church, the fire engine house on Defiance Street south of the railroad and at the Springfield Township hall (Stryker's former wooden frame school building) on Center Street.
At a special election in December 1902, Stryker voters approved issuance of $15,000 in bonds to construct a new school building by a 177 to 3 margin.
This remarkable photograph of the Stryker school fire is from the Williams County Public Library's Photographic Archives.

Stryker 1904 School Building-edit

This Stryker school was erected in 1903-04 on Defiance Street just east of the site of the building destroyed by an arsonist on December 9, 1902.
The facility was designed by W. H. Powers and constructed by Monroe Snyder of Fort Wayne, Ind., at a cost of about $28,000. Built of pressed brick trimmed with Cleveland sandstone, and topped by a slate roof and tower containing an 800-pound bell, it was said to be the finest school building in Williams County when it was completed. The three-story building measured 78 by 85 feet and included an auditorium and library.
It opened on September 5, 1904, with an enrollment of 227 students, housing all 12 grades until completion of the 1922 high school building.
In February 1979, the building was razed to make room for construction of the present elementary school.
This photograph is from the Kevin Maynard collection.

Stryker 1922 High School Building

In 1916 and 1918, neighboring rural school districts were consolidated with the Stryker school district, and the influx of new pupils created the need for additional classrooms. In 1918, as an interim measure, the school board purchased a portable two-room "knockdown" building nicknamed the "chicken coop" and placed it southwest of the 1904 school building to provide additional class space.
In January 1919, Stryker voters approved a $120,000 bond issue to construct a high school building by a margin of 351 to 65. Toledo architect M. M. Stophlet designed the high school, which was constructed northwest of the intersection of Defiance and Curtis streets, south of the 1904 school building.
In May 1919, the school board awarded the construction contract to V. M. Gettins of Toledo for $87,771.96. The new high school opened in the spring of 1922.
In 2006, local voters approved construction of a new junior high-high school facility to replace the 1922 building, which was razed in February 2009.
This circa 1926 photograph is from the Kevin Maynard collection.

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