The Great Western School
(hallway exhibit)

The school was built in 1870 and closed in 1952. It is located on the Ohio University Eastern campus. One of the children’s favorite songs to sing while at school was School Days. The board at the top is a spelling board. Kids would use it to learn how to spell. The chalk board is actually a writing slate. It’s what they used for note books to practice penmanship.


The school was built by the Clark Construction Company on property owned by Mr. Simpson Lentz, the local tavern proprietor. Bricks for the school were made from clay taken from the farm pond near the building. This “modern” school was named for a steam ship which had crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a record-setting 15 days.


The slate located next to the case was placed on the school roof in 1870 and was replaced in 2016. The slate was on the roof for 146 years.


Classes were held in the building until 1952, when it was closed due to declining enrollment and the district consolidation program. It was the last active one-room school in Richland Township.
The National Trail Chapter #348 of International Questers restored the building in 1976 as a Bicentennial project. It is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Quester Chapter continues to maintain the school and provides tours and educational classes to visitors throughout the year. Students who visit this "working museum" are instructed by the 'schoolmarm' using the McGuffey Readers, Beacon Charts, Ray's Arithmetic, and Webster Spellers. They also participate in such games as Jacks, Pick-up-Sticks, Tug-of-War, Leap Frog, Drop the Handkerchief, and the Sack Races. If the flag is flying, guests are welcome to "come and sit a spell" and to hear the history and numerous stories of this one-room school