by M. Geck/2018
Moreland Hills Town Hall Water Color
by SHAW, ELSA VICK (28 Jan. 1891-28 March 1974)
Cleveland Artist and Moreland Hills resident
Education has always been a priority for our founders, even though for many years we didn’t actually have an “Orange School” south of Chagrin Blvd. We know from stories shared that the Garfield children (circa 1830’s) attended school in “Chagrin Falls”.
Perhaps the Garfield children attended the Bentley school just a 45 minute walk from their home down Jackson Road where it meets Chagrin River Road. The story goes on to state that Mehitable carried her 4 year old brother, James A. Garfield to school on her back. It further suggests that James Garfield’s older brother, Thomas, built a frame house for the family around 1849 (located on 30 acres southwest corner of SOM and Jackson) and that Thomas dismantled the original wood schoolhouse that stood at the corner of the Garfield property, and used the wood to double the size of his mother Eliza Garfield’s home.
The “new” school was erected to replace the “Garfield” school and can be seen above on the 1858 map. It was built on a foundation of concrete with a brick exterior, the walls of plaster and the floors of wood. It was remembered as the “little red schoolhouse standing on a knoll.” The 1858 map, courtesy of Cleveland Historic Maps, http://www.arcgis.com, identifies one school on the property of Mr. Samuel Glasier. In 1862 Samuel Glasier paid property taxes for “whole”, (118.75 acres on lot 14), “except school house”. We are comfortable dating our one room school house/council chambers to as early as 1858.
On May 29, 1932 an article was published in the Cleveland Sunday News and the schoolhouse was described as having stood “75 years overlooking the countryside and for a large portion of that time it has basked in the reflected glory of its proximity to the old Garfield place”. William W. Jackson, was mentioned in the article as having taught school in the building in the “eighties”, (that is the 1880’s!)
I’m not sure if this building was ever abandoned but of note by 1884 there was some competition in the neighborhood. In 1884 we find a deed from Henry B. Boynton to Orange Board of Education for parts of his lots 9 & 10 (north side of Jackson near Sterncrest) and a 1892 map of Orange Township confirms this, (courtesy of Cleveland Historic Maps, http://www.arcgis.com)
We also know that the schoolhouse was used as a residence from 1923 until 1933. At that time the property was owned by the Chagrin Valley Land Company who allowed their caretake, Taylor Springer, to live on site. Mr. Springer is listed in the 1930 federal census; Taylor Springer, a widower age 48 rents his home for $25 and is a teamster [sic] for the Country Club. He resides here with his children Kenneth, Howard, Carl, and Nellie.
The Village of Moreland Hills was incorporated in 1929 and the first meeting was held in the home of Mayor Frank J. Lynch. Meetings were held in the homes of mayors and councilmen until July 1, 1932 when the one room schoolhouse became the home of the Moreland Hills Village Council.
After 1932 the Village gave the old school house a new look adding the Mayor’s office wing as well as a separate wing for administration.
In 1979 the building is the backdrop for the 50th anniversary pamphlet, “Things Remember-Moreland Hills at 50 Years.” A description from the pamphlet, “Florence Wilker, Giles Road resident in front of the Village Hall with “Red Brick School” council chamber in background. School dates from the 1860’s.”
In the year 2000 Mayor Croucher and the Historical Society had the floor replaced with the left over wood from the building of the James Garfield replica cabin, and in 2004 Mayor Renda had the room remodeled to reflect the 1880’s look we enjoy today.