Early Schools in Niles

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Leslie Avenue School

A drawing of the “Little White School House” as it was referred to, was the first school house built soon after the town was plotted in 1834. It was built on the north side of what is now the Memorial grounds. It was in that school that William McKinley, the future president, received his first formal education.

In those days, custom required that boys and girls sat on opposite sides of the room. They sat on long benches fronted with a sloping shelf that formed a desk. The teacher’s desk was a more distinctive affair, standing on a platform opposite the door. Behind the teacher’s desk was a blackboard.

Teachers boarded in the homes of pupils, bringing them in close contact with the parents, and enabling the less affluent to defray a good part of their school costs in this way. Books were scarce, highly prized, and usually well preserved, since successive members of the family were expected to use them.

In 1842 with the growing population, it became necessary to construct a second school house near the north east corner of Leslie and Linden Avenues.

In 1870 a three story school(Union School then Central School) was built and opened in 1871 with six teachers. The school was located on State Street where the Central Apartments are presently located. It was described as “the best in the county”. By 1890 the average teacher’s salary was $45.00 a month. Parents paid term tuition for each child of 80 cents for primary grades, $1.20 for grammar school, and $1.80 for high school.

By 1914 the new McKinley (Edison) High School was built, on Church Street between Arlington and Chestnut Avenues, because the Central School was not large enough to accommodate the growing student population.


1874 Map of Niles, Ohio with Robbins Avenue and Vienna Avenue highlighted.

1874 Map of Niles, Ohio with Robbins Avenue and Vienna Avenue highlighted.
The location of the Leslie Avenue School is marked with a red marker.

 

Picture of Leslie Ave. School Class of 1903.

Picture of Leslie Avenue School Class of 1903.
Jessie Elizabeth Davis, (mother of Bill Spowart)Person marked with a "x "
Also a school board was organized with William McKinley Sr. (the president’s father), Jacob Robinson and Dr. Miller Blackly being elected. As the district grew, more teachers were required. PO7.58

Central High School, formerly Union High School, located on State Street where the Central Park apartments are now located.

Central High School, formerly Union High School, located on State Street where the Central Park apartments are now located.


McKinley High School, 1936 photograph, located on Church Street.

McKinley High School, 1936 photograph, located on Church Street.

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