Tuesday, May 31, 2011
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:
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 The school had been named a defendant in a law suit regarding outdated heating practices involving coal, lol.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. Now that the school has been razed, we may never uncover the mysteries at the Monitor.
(Photo Property of Theresa Racer)