Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Monitor School

When the Monitor Furnance opened up in 1857, the need for schools to educate the growing population of the area became a real problem.  As a result, the "Little Red School House" was built, which was quickly added to over the years.  To accomodate overflow, several additional one-room school houses were opened up in the community as well.

In 1905, the "Little Red School House" burned down and on the grounds of one of the smaller, one-room school houses, the new Monitor (or Coal Grove) School was built in the summer of that year.  It was built by Cooke Bros. Construction Company with architect T.S. Murray, a local citizen. (T.S. Murray had his office on the second floor of the Furlong building, and his company was sued by St. Joseph's in the 1880s for breach of contract.)  Total cost for the Monitor School was $24,000 and the lot cost an additional $1000.

Frank Kelley served as the first principal of the new school and for the 1905-6 school year, the following staff was employed at the school:
W.J. Higgins
R.A. Gregory
Agnes Steward
Clara Burton
Frances Fullerton

In 1911, two additional rooms were added, and in 1918, the meager staff was increased by two additional teachers.

By 1924, increasing population called for an increase in modern schools.  Between 1924 and 1925 the Dawson Bryant School was erected, with additions made in 1931.  Due to the added space and modern ammenities, in September of 1932, the high school class formerly housed in the Monitor School had been moved to the new Dawson Bryant School.  Classes further shifted  as new schools were built and by 1954, the Monitor School housed the community's kindergarten through third grade only.
The school apparently closed sometime in the 1980s/1990s after a new school was built.  Thanks to a tip on the HPIR guestbook, we think we've got the actual closing date as 1996. The date listed on one site is 1984, however. The school had been named a defendant in a law suit regarding outdated heating practices involving coal, lol. Afterward, it was apparently still owned by the Dawson-Bryant School District.

In 2000, the community tried to rally together and turn the abandoned school into a community center. It was, however, bought by an investor who wished to turn it into an apartment complex. The community again rallied...this time AGAINST those plans. They wanted to keep the building in as original condition as possible, and it was put back on the market before finally being torn down for good.

The main paranormal activity reported is strange lights seen inside the building when no one is there, and also scant reports of a ghostly janitor seen roaming the halls.  When HPIR investigated this location, we unfortunately didn't uncover any paranormal activity, but had a really fun time with our guests.  Unfortunately, at this point in time, I've also been unable to verify any deaths of a janitor at the school to account for the ghostly janitor seen in the boiler room/downstairs.  I was able to verify several deaths of teachers and at least one principal, but none of which who were serving at the school at the time of their deaths.

*Sorry guys...just updated a few broken links and some new info.  This blog post is several years old and I didn't realize it'd be getting so many hits today!*

HPIR Investigation

(Photo Property of Theresa Racer)


  1. my family has lived in coal grove for many years and I grew up playing on the swings of monitor school. The closing date of 1996 sounds about right just for your info. it was a great building and has since been torn down.

  2. Are you sure it has been torn down?

    1. I haven't been there in several years to verify if it has been torn down or not, but I was told by several people it had been, and the person in the previous comment also believes it has been razed. If you, or anyone in the area has information that the building is still standing, I'd love to hear! This is a wonderful location and I'd love for it to still be there!

  3. monitor school has not been torn down it has been bored up i live right across the street it is still here every morning i wake up , i dont know where u got ur information at but u heard wrong

    1. Thank you for sharing your info on this location. Would it be possible to share a photo of it in its current state? You can email me at theresarhps@yahoo.com. Thanks!

  4. Monitor still stands. Just saw it today. I'm a 47 yr old Coal Grove resident. I went to 1st through 3rd grade in the building. My 26 year old went to 2nd and 3rd grade at Monitor and received a certificate in 1996 for being one of the last group of kids to be educated there. My grandfather also was educated there during high school. I would love to see it restored for its historical value....especially since it is hard to find any history on Coal Grove.

  5. The old monitor school has not been torn down. I live right down the street from it and it still stands as of this date. The closing of that school is in fact January 1996. After classes resumed from Christmas break in January 1996, the children did not return to that school they were bussed to the derringer location and the new high school was opened. The graduating class of 1996 was the first to graduate from the new high school. I was amoung that class that graduated that year.

    1. I am sorry**deering location