Great Western Schoolhouse
There are three historical venues located on the Eastern campus of Ohio University. The Shaeffer Campbell Covered Bridge, located on the College Pond, is east of the campus. The Great Western School and the 1828 Brick Tavern are on the west side of the campus adjacent to National Road. The one room school is open to visitors, by appointment. Please contact Ohio University Eastern at 740-695-1720.
The Great Western School was built in 1870 by the Clark Construction Company. The clay for the hand-made bricks was taken from the farm pond. Roof support beams were hand-hewn from trees in the schoolyard. The iron bell which is housed in the cupola was cast by the J.B. Foote Company in Fredericktown, OH. This school remained in use for 82 years with enrollment fluctuating from as few as nine students to as many as 70. School was not mandatory during this time in history and if families needed their children to assist at home or on the farm, they, the students, were not obliged to be in attendance.
When the school closed in 1952, it was the last active one-room school in Richland Township. After its closing and for a period of several years, it was used as a meeting place for the Coon Hunter’s Club as well as a venue for local square dances.
It was finally abandoned and fell into disrepair...that is until National Trail #348 of the International Questers took on the task of restoring it as a Bicentennial project in 1976. It has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places and a plaque recognizing the Bicentennial of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 is displayed. Tours and educational classes are conducted throughout the year in this ‘working museum’. Visitors and students are welcome and encouraged to “come sit a spell” to hear and experience the history of this one-room school. Over 300 children visit the 1870 schoolhouse each spring and take part in spelling and arithmetic exercises using old-fashioned slates and slate-writers.
The one room school is open to visitors, by appointment. Please contact Ohio University Eastern at 740-695-1720.