The Harlem Grange building is now owned by Harlem Township. Township trustees renovated the building to create a space for special occasions, and last Saturday evening was truly special when Harlem alumni gathered at the Grange Hall for their annual banquet.
Harlem resident Vickie Tieche said the last class graduated from Harlem High School in 1952, when consolidation created the Big Walnut Local School District.
“We recognized the 70-year graduating class — Pat Dell Bowman, Mary Jane Wurm Fisher, Ellen Salisbury Noie and Gene Piper were at the reunion,” Tieche said. “There were 12 total in the class back then.
“In the fall of 1952, Harlem High students went to Big Walnut and the Harlem High School became Harlem Elementary School for grades 1 through 8,” Tieche added. “Several youngsters who were attending Harlem at the time of the consolidation and who graduated from Harlem’s eighth grade were also in attendance at our banquet.”
Tieche said the oldest Harlem High School alumna in attendance was Marjorie McElwee Cook, Class of 1937; and Fritz Dell came from Long Island for the banquet.
The first school in Harlem Township was a log cabin built east of the old Methodist Church on Harlem Road during the War of 1812. By 1849 there were nine sub-district schools in the township, to which a 10th school and joint school on the Licking County line were added by 1868. All of the one-room schools in the township were closed by 1917.
In 1871-72, a two-story, brick school was built in Center Village, as the Sub-District 6 School, but was condemned in 1911 because of a large crack in one wall.
In 1913, a one-story brick building was constructed on Rich Street in Center Village, using bricks saved from the condemned school. This new school housed 11 grades in two rooms. Two additional rooms were eventually added, and the roof extended, which allowed room for 12 grades.
In 1922, Harlem Township built a four-room high school, which opened for the 1922-23 school year without a cafeteria or indoor facilities. These amenities were added in 1937.
The first graduating class of Harlem High School had two students; the last graduating class in 1952 had nine students. After the high school building was constructed, the 1913 building housed grades 1 to 6; the high school building housed grades 7 to 12.
Harlem High School’s colors were green and gold.
Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093