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Edgewood School


History of Edgewood Graded School.

BY H. L. PEDICORD, PRINCIPAL.

About three miles northeast of Wheling lies the town of Edgwood, situated in one of the richest and prettiest valleys of our "Mountain State."

Here, some fourteen years ago (1893), a little band of men came together to consult each other as to how to obtain a school for their children. The result was that a mass meeting was called in Hands' Hall, Elm Grove, to persuade the Board of Education that a school was needed. The citizens were put off at the time because the board was heavily in debt due to the destruction of school property by a flood. A second mass meeting was called at Seibert's Garden at which the board was asked to be present. After much discussion the citizens determined that, if necessary, they would go on the bond of the board to enable them to put up a school building.

The agreement was made, but its fulfillment never became necessary, as the next board found no difficulty in providing funds for the erection of a two-room frame building. It was located on two lots purchased on the so-called Edgington Lane. Comparatively few families lived there then, but most of them were land owners. School was in session the next year, 1894, for five months, being taught by J. H. Lazear and Miss Hallie Baird.

In 1895 Miss Lena Meminger taught for a term of eight months. Miss Meminger was succeeded by J. D. Muldoon, who was principal one year. He was succeeded by A. W. Curtis. In February, 1899, the frame building caught fire and was destroyed. School was taught in a private house the rest of the year.

The board then ordered a four-room building erected upon the site of the old one, though at this time they were criticised for extravagance. The school was once more in operation in September, 1900, and three of the four rooms in use. Another room was added in 1902.

Mr. A. W. Curtis, who had been principal for five years, was succeeded in 1902 by George S. Biggs, the County Superintendent of Schools; the former was transferred to a more responsible position at Elm Grove under the same board. Mr. Biggs retired at the end of that year in accordance with the State law forbidding County Superintendents to teach. He was succeeded by the present incumbent, who has held the position for four years.

Edgington Lane was incorporated June 14, 1905, as the town of Edgwood. Bonds were issued to the amount of $17,000 for the provision of lights, streets, walks and roads. It is essentially the same today as years ago -- a town of residences for business men and laborers of Wheeling who take the advantage of the excellent trolley system passing through. The town possesses many of the advantages of city life, with but few of its dangers; there are no saloons and no factories; pure air and pure water are abundant. The children of such a town naturally are free from the many hinderances of life in industrial communities.

In 1905 bonds were issued to provide for an addition of four rooms to the school building; these were ready for occupancy in September, 1906. This building is unsurpassed by any of its class in the State. It is finished in hard wood and alabastine; it has all modern conveniences, such as large rooms, the best of light, metal ceilings, hot air furnaces, electric bells, an assembly hall with seating capacity of nearly 300, and a library of about 200 volumes; it is a well equipped school in every respect.

There are now six teachers well equipped to instruct the 200 or more school youth in attendance. We have had free text books since 1903. The graded course of study has always had its place. We are now following an outline made by the principals of Triadelphia District in accordance with the latest State Manual. Our attendance averages about 95 per cent. We have for the present year eight months of school, but will have a nine-months' term next year.

There have been nineteen graduates from the Edgwood School -- three in 1902, seven in 1903, five in 1904, four in 1906. The class of the present year consists of five boys and four girls.

A high school course of one year was arranged in 1906, and two pupils are now doing that work. It is but a beginning in this line, and additional high school work will be added in time. Our graduates enter Wheeling High School or West Liberty State Normal with advanced standing.

Our pupils are not purely local, but many not properly in the subdistrict are granted permission to attend, where they have superior advantages; these come from Mount Leon, Pleasant Valley, Leatherwood and Mount de Chantal.

The many advantages we enjoy are provided by a board that is wide awake to the needs of the community and quick to act when the needs assert themselves. As Whittier says in his Centennial Hymn, "Let the new year shame the old."

--from The History of Education in West Virginia, rev. ed. Charleston: Tribune Printing, 1907, p. 181-182.


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