From “The hitching post. . .” column in the Ottawa Herald, a series of stories about one-room schools in Franklin County, researched by Bruce Fleming and written by Jim Hitch, editor and publisher of the Ottawa Herald.
Norwood School, District 97, was located five miles north and one east of Ottawa, in the town of Norwood. Patrons built this school in 1898 because Oak Grove School to the northwest had become crowded.
Norwood was thriving and must have expected more growth, since the school contained two rooms. The town had several businesses, a church, and an elevator. It had a depot, too, and became a shipping point on the Santa Fe railroad after the town was founded.
The growth failed to occur, though, and Albert Baldwin, Ottawa RFD 2, reports that one room was never used for classes, although it was used for plays and other extracurricular activities.
In the 1920s, when enrollment dropped at Norwood and Oak Grove, the districts merged into New Union, District 19, and a new school was constructed at the Oak Grove site.
Baldwin recalls that in 1923 A.R. Shannon was the teacher and lived in Ottawa, just north of Highland Cemetery on Lincoln. “Each day he walked to the Santa Fe depot (now the Old Depot Museum) and caught the train to Norwood. The ticket price was ten cents and his monthly salary was $35.”
Albert said Shannon paid him a dime each Monday morning to build a fire, because it would go out over the weekend. “We ice skated on West Tauy Creek and on Mrs. S.B. Hays’ pond nearby,” he said.
There were 39 pupils in 1913, but the enrollment had dropped to only 13 by 1921. The pupils that year were Harold, Esther, Dee and Ethel Johnson; Roy, Helen, Delia and Albert Baldwin; Frances Oshel, Oneita and Thelma Crook, Pearl Moore and Faye Butler. School board members were R.N. Crook, J.A. Baldwin and Emil Johnson.
Olive Reh of Homewood went to Norwood for a short time. “There was an outbreak of whooping cough in the area. My stepmother wouldn’t let me go to school because I might catch it and bring it home to the family.”
Among teachers who worked at Norwood were Faye Matteson, Florabelle Lancaster, Miss Blinkstaff, Miss Taylor, and Miss Bond.
Former students still living in Franklin County include Dee (Johnson) Wray, Baldwin, Delia (Baldwin) Adolph, Reh and Myra (Jones) Korietz.