Washington School (First Ward School) History
- From "A Collection About Ohio County Public Schools," Bonar, Levering C., 1978, pg. 11.
The original First Ward School was built in 1849 at North (5th) and Main Streets. It was a four-room, two-story, brick building with a basement containing additional rooms. In 1868 a three-story, ten-room brick building replaced the first one. In 1887, the three-story Washington red-brick structure began its long period of service. It had seventeen rooms besides the assembly rooms and office. Assembly rooms, one for girls and one for boys, were used assemblies and roll call. Toilet rooms were in the basement. Architect W. E. Wilson planned the building but drowned in the Ohio River before it was erected. The contractor, Wilbur Jacobs of Wheeling, was a leading brick and stone contractor. He first used steam power in hoisting materials in the course of construction of the First Ward School. This structure, with its sturdy oak framework, home-made brick walls, huge sandstone foundation and original staircase that gave majesty to the spacious hallway, revealed its architect and builders were skilled and artistic workmen.
To meet the changing safety requirements and modern ideas of what a school house should be, Washington was renovated, remodeled, and renewed on the inside. This eliminated the beautiful staircase, which was replaced with smoke and fire resistant stairways. Classrooms were changed into an auditorium-gymnasium. New toilet rooms were installed in the basement. [The building] was completely rewired. There were several renewals of furnaces and many other changes. The brick walls on the outside had been painted with the characteristic architecture of the time it was built, Washington School was a landmark in North Wheeling.
The building was vacated in 1975, and pupils were relocated in the new North Park open classroom school and in others nearby. With one week, destroyers entered the building and wrecked the inside, making it a great loss to the taxpayers of the county. It is a sad ending for a school where so many boys and girls received the beginnings of their education.
▶ History of Washington School
, written in 1901
▶ List of First Ward/Washington School Principals
▶ Corner of Main and 5th Street in North Wheeling (Demolished)
▶ Vertical File: Wheeling Schools A-Z, Wheeling Room, non-circulating, ask for access at the reference desk.
▶ Vertical File: Washington School, Wheeling Room, non-circulating, ask for access at the reference desk.
▶ A Collection About Ohio County Schools, Bonar, Levering. Wheeling Room, non-circulating, ask for access at the reference desk. CALL #: Wheeling 379.75414 B64c