|Little Home Histories, Part 85 -- Anecdotes Written by William G. Steer: The Boarding School Fire in 1910.|
by Steer, William G.
In 1910, the Main Building at Olney Friends School was destroyed by fire. The day of the fire, Superintendent James Walton was asked if he thought the school could be continued, to which he replied he did not think it would be possible. The night of the fire, Mary Davis, who had been cared for by William Stanton's family after the death of her husband Francis Davis, passed away, thus making it possible for the Stanton family to move to Pennsylvania as had been contemplated.
A friend making inquiry, learned that the home would be vacated in ten days and also that, what was known as the Hoge cottage -- now the home of the Fogels -- was vacant.
The Superintendent of the Belmont County Childrens Home, Themes Branson, kindly offered to make sleeping quarters if needed after the fire. The twenty-two girls were provided with homes among friends and the seventeen boys occupied the Hoge cottage for sleeping quarters. They were given their meals in the home of William G. and Louisa D. Steer. Louisa Steer had Anna McGrew and Anna Cope Hall assist her with the work.
To have the needed classrooms, the tables and dishes in the dining room had to be moved to one side twice each day. Sine Walton -- not being able for her duties as Matron -- Louisa D. Steer was employed to take her place. She was assisted by Stella Hall and Inez Campbell.
It required a great deal of work to repair the Stanton home to get it ready for the school. A pipe line had to be laid for several rods to connect with the Childrens Home water system, and the plumbing had to be overhauled in the house. At the expiration of ten days, everything was in readiness for the school with the twenty-two girls and the teachers lodging in the building.
The exercises at the end of the term were held on the lawn. A large barn door was used for a platform on which the six graduating girls were seated. With all the inconvenient ways of getting along, the teachers thought that the scholars made as good progress as they would have done in the old building.
There were two terms held this way, before going to the new building in 1911.
This was a memorable experience and enjoyed by all who had a part in conducting the makeshift school.
See next entry: Little Home Histories, Part 86 -- Camm and Elizabeth Thomas.
For the table of contents and first entry in this series, please see: Little Home Histories, Part 01 -- Table of Contents and Introduction.
This entry is adapted from Little Home Histories in Our Early Homes, Belmont County, Ohio, which was published in 1942. Its publication was coordinated by Robert D. and Beulah Patten McDonald. This entry has been reedited for inclusion in the Pierian Press Fulltext eBooks database, and is included on the Stratton House Inn Website by special permission. This entry is licensed for use ONLY on this Website. It may be used for educational purposes and personal pleasure under fair-use provisions via this Website. Please note that the Stratton House Inn iteration of this entry does NOT include the subject headings assigned each chapter for use in the Fulltext eBooks database.
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