Residents living at the Blackburn Home in Poland visited the Little Red Schoolhouse last week. Dave Smith, Historical Society trustee, presented information to the group about the history of the Schoolhouse.
Smith presented a timeline that covers some important facts about the building. In 1858, property the school sits on was purchased for $80 and the one-room brick schoolhouse was built and became known as Poland's Center School. The school operated until 1915 when it closed, but remained the property of Poland School District. From 1915 to 1979 it was used as a church, government office and several other miscellaneous purposes.
In 1979, the Poland Township Historical Society was formed to preserve the school and promote Poland's historical heritage. Two years later, the Poland Local Board of Education and the Poland Township Historical Society entered into a 99-year lease agreement at $1 a year.
Photos special to the Town Crier
Posing after a tour of the Little Red Schoolhouse are, in the front row, Ruth Eddy, Anne Peck and Ann Lipinsky, residents at the Blackburn Home; and Gail Constance, volunteer-assistant. In the back row are residents Kay Varga, Helen Wilkinson; Ruth Burns, volunteer assistant; Connie Daugherty, Blackburn Home program coordinator; with Sue Holloway and Dave Smith, Historical Society trustees.
In 1983, a grant was received for restoration and work began, mostly by volunteers. The following year the school house was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places.
A bell tower was built and installed in 1987 and the schoolhouse was dedicated to the community after the restoration by the Poland Historical Society. The same year, an addition was built to include restrooms, a kitchen, and office space. The schoolhouse today serves as a showplace for many historical items donated by Poland residents and as a meeting place for the Poland Historical Society.
After Smith gave the timeline, Sue Holloway, also a Historical Society trustee, shared the story about "Quailwood" and "White Saddle," books written by Poland resident Ethel Hull Miller. Ethel, her husband Messenger Miller, and their daughter Janie built a log cabin on a huge plot of land called "Quailwood" on Clingan Road in 1929. In addition to many other animals, the family purchased a beautiful pony with natural white markings that looked like a saddle, and they named her WhiteSaddle.White Saddle was born in 1903 and came to America from the Shetland Islands. She won many awards at the Canfield Fair and the Ohio State Fair before her death in 1940. She is buried on the property where she was raised by a loving family.
The Blackburn residents spent their time listening to the speakers and browsing through the many historical artifacts on display at the Little Red Schoolhouse.
The public is invited to tour the building from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14, when the Poland Historical Society has its final open house for 2012. Outdoor activities are being planned as well as the inside tour.
Arrangements for private tours can be scheduled by leaving a contact name, phone number and a message at 330-536-6877. The Poland Historical Society meets the third Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. in the Little Red Schoolhouse. For the Oct. 16 meeting, the program will be presented by Ted Heineman, who will talk about the seven lakes in the Poland area.