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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

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The Oregon-Jerusalem Historical Society and the Harbor View Historical Society are saving historic remnants from an 1894 Oregon Township schoolhouse that was to be torn down Friday.

According to the late historian Josephine Fassett’s book, History of Oregon and Jerusalem: The Story of Two Communities, the first school for Oregon Township District 9 was located on Wynn Road about one-fourth mile south of Bayshore Road, and was built by John Clay in 1891 for $1,978.60.

However, in 1894, the board of education reported that the enrollment had decreased and there were not enough pupils in the district to warrant the board continuing the two rooms. The committee recommended that the two-room building be moved to District 6 where it was needed and a one-room school house be built to replace it. The one-room school was built on the same site.

School-2
Ezechiel Zalenski, Samuel J. Bonifas, Mike Joseph and Vidal
Valentin plan the section of wall they will take for the Harbor
View Historical Society exhibit. (Press photo by Stephanie
Szozda).

According to the Harbor View society’s program manager, 30-year Navy veteran and Chief Warrant Officer Michael Joseph, the City of Oregon would have liked to have saved the building, but it was in disrepair.

“After June 1, that’s it — the building gets destroyed,” Joseph said. “The City of Oregon is trying to save part of it through these local historical groups and at least that’s a good thing.

“There’s no way they could have moved the whole building because it was just too badly mutilated. But when we walked in, there was no doubt that this was an elementary school because the chalkboard still goes around the entire inside of the building. So, we photographed it and categorized it.”

The HVHS arrived on the scene May 10 to take movies and pictures of the site and have engineers take a look at how they would encapsulate and remove a designated wall. They plan to collect data, actually cut out the wall and transport it to the HVHS campus.

The Oregon-Jerusalem Historical Society is well-established at its base, Brandeville School. The newest venture, the Harbor View group, began a soft opening of its museum last year in the former Harbor View Missionary Baptist Church at 2083 Autokee St. in Oregon. Over the past two years, volunteers have been working to convert the former church into the new home of the historical society.

Harbor View officials say its goal is to preserve the history of the City of Oregon, the Village of Harbor View, and the area once known as “The Northwest Territories” of the United States. Hilliard, Ohio resident Samuel J. Bonifas, a historian and genealogist, is the HVHS’s first president.

But Joseph says the activities of the Harbor View museum will be “totally different” from the Oregon-Jerusalem society’s activities in that they will not deal with genealogy as much. They were glad to be included in this project.

“When they called us, I almost flipped out,” Joseph said. “I can’t believe the City of Oregon is calling us because that means that now we are in the phone book — it’s one of those funny things. But when we went out, we realized after doing the first research on it that this was actually the 1894 single room school house that was built there. The City of Oregon thought that it was moved there.

“The City of Oregon has allowed our group to go out and with a crane and a bunch of stuff, we are going to literally encapsulate the wall and take it back to the museum for storage until we can get it fixed up for display and it will be a part of the Wynn Elementary school display at the Harbor View Historical Society,” Joseph continued.

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