The One Room School Houses of Richfield & Osborn Corner’s Grange

 

At one time there were 12 one room school houses in Richfield Twp. For some presently unknown reason, there seems to be no school designated #11, but there was a school (according to a 1891 history) called the Special School located on (we think) the Huntley Farm on 303 in or near West Richfield Center. Of these 12 schools, it was thought that only two of them had survived to the most recent turn of the century, one at the corner of Boston Mill & Black Rds. and the other at 3091 Streetsboro Rd. (Rt. 303) near where I-271 now passes. But now another school has been “found”.

School Hse. #10 was (originally) located at Osborn’s Corners, at the corner of Everett Rd. and Medina Line Rd. At one time Ohio Revised Code stated that no student should have to walk more than 4 miles to school (which partly accounts for the large number of “neighborhood” one room schools). When the new centralized High School was built in 1864 (pic.6) in West Richfield (the building now being used as the Masonic Temple) it is believed that most of the one room schools closed. But because it is over 4 miles to either corner of the township, the Black Rd. and Everett Rd. schools remained open. It was only later when horse drawn school wagons began to pick up the kids that the last two one rooms closed.

School #10 (pic’s.2&3) then became a Grange Hall and School #5 (pic.1) passed into private ownership (as School #6 [pic.4] had earlier). No one (yet) knows how long the Grange continued to use the former school, but eventually the Grange moved and the building was acquired (probably) by the Osborn family. They moved it to their farm at 2484 Medina Line Rd. The farm was later owned by Pete Schrober, then, in 1963, by the Taucher family. The remaining 13 acres are now owned by Sandy (Taucher) Brubaker and her husband.

( ~~Update: Jan. 30, 2014. In talking to the Ohio State Grange Office we have learned that the Osborn Corner’s Grange #1079 was organized  Nov. 24, 1874 and closed 1930. We do not yet know which of those years the Grange resided in the “school house” but they will search their records and let us know what they find. They do have the roster of founders and the members when it closed and will send that information shortly.)

When the school/Grange building was moved it was “remodeled” to become a barn. It was raised 8′ in the air to create lower level ground floor animal stalls (the whole added lower level seen in pic. #2) and a dirt barn bridge was added at the west wall so equipment could be driven in to, and hay stored in, the “new” barn’s upper level (the schools old ground floor). The original doors were removed or sided over (the east door can still be seen from inside the barn). The interior plaster was also removed, but interestingly, the lathe and wainscoting was left and can also still be seen (pic.3).  The north and south windows are still in place. When the building was in use as a school it probably looked much like Bath School # 12 on Hametown Rd. (pic.5) or the Black Rd. School (pic.1).

The Osborn Corner’s one room school has now finished its history as a barn. The Brubaker family had decided to offer the school/barn to Richfield. They’ve asked the Richfield Historical Society if they would like to move and restore it (possibly in the center of town next door to the Old Town Hall). Or, if the Hist. Soc. is unable to save the building, Sandy has offered the old school to the Museum of Western Reserve Farms.

[For now, we very anxiously await the Society’s decision on whether they can save the “Osborn” school. If they are not able to do so, we’d love to move & restore the school here at the museum, where it will be free to visit and open to the public. We would plan to restore it with one end as school and the other as Grange Hall. –We have already begun collecting Grange artifacts, with the possibility the Ohio Grange Headquarters may donate artifacts and mementos once the building is fully restored.]

A couple of stories we have been told about schools #5 & 10 include, … The Sabecki Family now owns the Black Rd. School House. Over the years its rather poorly laid foundation stones (large barn stones just set on the ground with no footer or mortar) have shifted. They are now putting in a proper foundation and replacing the floor joists and flooring and the “school” building, now residence, should last another 100 years. When Bill Sabecki’s dad, Walter, attended the school, he only spoke Polish. His classmates (now long gone) remembered him mostly only saying, “Wha”?, by which they thought he meant “What?”. Karl Knopp’s granddad, Elmer, went to the same #5 school until the “new” High School opened. Everyday he would come home from school to work on the farm, then every evening walk back to school the 3 miles across the fields to play basketball. Buzzy Davis told how his family, when he was quite young, lived near Camp Bradlow on Medina Line Rd. One October for a Halloween prank, some of the local boys “stole” one of the Davis’s buggies, disassembled it, and reassembled it on top of the  Osborn Corner’s School House.

The three Richfield schools are quite similar in size and shape. The Black Rd. School #5 measures 38’6″ X 28″5″. Osborn School #10 measures 34’5″ x 20’6″. The Streetsboro Rd. School #6, sometimes called the Schmidt School, has had additions added to every side, but you can still see the original structure peeking out from behind the many side rooms, porches and front solarium. The Bath School, the only area school restored (by Bath Historical Society) to its original use and look also has approximately the same size and shape. It measures 32’5″ x 24’5″ (with a side addition used as a cloak & supplies room). All are (or were originally) one story with low attics.

In these “modern” days of highly controlled school attendance policy of who may attend which school, it is interesting to remember that our forbearers often conducted their lives in much more sensible manner. Often “corner” schools, like the Osborn Corners & Boston Mill Rd. Schools, allowed students from nearby communities to attend the (out-of-district) corner school, if it was closer to their homes than their own community schools. This may have been particularly noticeable at the Osborn School where it is believed students from Richfield Twp., Bath Twp. (both in Summit Co.) and Medina Co. attended.

Note: -There is also one more one room school house that has been recently moved to Richfield. Several years ago the museum moved the Abbyville School from Medina County to the museum. The school is fully restored and functional as a school (we use it for homeschool classes). For more information about the Abbyville School, please scroll down the website for pictures and history.

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