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The History of Sugar Grove
College Hill - land was granted in 1838 in the Northeast corner of township, known as Number One school
Prairie - East Main Street, Lancaster (east of Children’s Home)
Stump Hollow - transferred land in 1889 to Berne Township School District - still standing at the base of a steep hill on Stump Hollow Road.
Union - Located at the foot of Schwilk Hill and Duffy Road
Myers or Stone - Erected about 1820 Lutheran Lane (Across from St. Paul’s Lutheran Church)
Pleasant - Chicken Coop Hill
(name unknown) - near junction of Bauman and Sugar Grove Roads
Eckert - was a school at the junction of Eckert and Sugar Grove Roads, moved near Sugar Grove where it is now the home of William Chesser
Tarkiln - built in 1839
Hansley - known as Number 10 - school district was given the land in 1877. Formerly stood at the corner of Alten and Horns Mill Road but later moved a short distance on Horns Mill Road.
Germany (Burnt Cabin Road school) - on old Stage Coach Road 1844
Chestnut Ridge - located in Madison Township 1855 (Madison Township School District found school too distant to service properly, so turned over to Berne Township)
Crawfis Institute - John Crawfis was born in Berne Township and moved to Putnam county in 1834. There he made a considerable fortune. Crawfis’ will stated that upon the death of his wife, his holdings will be divided into two equal parts--one as a gift to the boys and girls of Berne Township and the other as a gift to the boys and girls of Blanchard Township in Putnam County, Ohio.
The institute continued until 1931 when economic difficulties forced it to close. The buildings became part of the Berne Union School System. In the 1940’s, the local grange rented the buildings for their programs.
Sugar Grove Schools
The second school located now known as 300 East Street was purchased for $45 from Daniel Hawkins to the board of education on June 14, 1854. In 1877, the board sold the property. The growing community needed a bigger school building.
The third school building (pictured below) still stands at the southwest corner of East Street and Fifth Street. The Board of Education of the Special School District of Sugar Grove purchased the property on October 18, 1871. The board sold the property October 1, 1917. Three rooms were used for school which included eight years of grade school and three years of high school. The remaining rooms were used for lodge meetings.
Sugar Grove High School graduated its first class in the spring of 1917. Three young men and three young women were members of this class. It is interesting to note that in the spring of 1925 an epidemic of smallpox came to Sugar Grove making it necessary to postpone graduation exercises until later in the summer. As the years went by, there was much discussion of Crawfis High School and Sugar Grove School combining. Of course, patrons of both schools wished to keep their own school and when voters went to the polls, each defeated the other.
After much effort, the voters decided that the school should be in Sugar Grove. Thus, the two schools combined and it was decided to name the district Berne Union. The school colors became maroon and gold. Sugar Grove colors had been purple and gold and Crawfis, blue and gold.
The Fairfield County Board of Education passed a resolution Saturday, June 7, 1930, creating the Berne Union School District. On June 16, 1930, the board with three members from Sugar Grove and two from Crawfis met for organization.
It was decided that board meetings should alternate between Crawfis and Sugar Grove as some high school students would be finishing their education at Crawfis and elementary classes would continue to be held there.
Mr. R. B. Duke became the first superintendent of the new district and the board ratified teacher contracts made by both boards with the privilege of transferring high school teachers.
The total of the first budget of the new budget submitted to the county auditor for fiscal year 1931 was $42,000. Mr. Harry Sharp was employed as janitor August 1, 1930. Later board minutes show that he remained in that position until his retirement in May 1959.
Bus routes were established to provide transportation for students to the Sugar Grove and Crawfis schools. The board minutes indicate that the prospective drivers bid for the bus routes and sometimes furnished their own bus. Mr. Wesley Wilson served as bus driver for twenty-five years. There is much written in the board minutes concerning the specifications for coal to be delivered to all schools - Sugar Grove, Crawfis and the one room schools.
The next few years seemed to be filled with frustration for patrons and board of the newly created school district. Citizens were asked to pass a bond issue in order that the school at Sugar Grove could be enlarged to accommodate the students from the one room schools which had been ordered closed by the Department of Education.
A representative from the State Department of Education was asked to give recommendations for solutions to the problem facing the board. The recommendation was to place all high school students above the eighth grade at Sugar Grove, fill Crawfis with pupils from the one room schools and again ask for the passage of a bond issue to build at Sugar Grove for all children of the Berne Union District.
Early in 1933, as a result of the failure of the bond issue and overcrowding in the Sugar Grove school, citizens of the Sugar Grove area signed and presented a petition to the board demanding that action be taken to relieve the crowded conditions at Sugar Grove and suggested that the newly created district be divided into a northern section and southern section. The board passed a resolution to make the division.
During this unsettled period with lack of funds and the building in need of repair, teacher contracts were on a month to month basis. On May 5, 1933, the school was closed for the year with only 8 1/2 months completed.
In July 1933 the board voted to request a grant from the Federal Public Works Recovery Program to build at Sugar Grove and repair the Crawfis building. The grant was approved. In November 1933 a bond issue was passed, the voters being asked for a smaller amount due to the government grant. The voters approved $63,000 and the district received $27,000 from the grant.
Land was purchased to the south of the original building on which stood a hotel and some property belonging to the Rudolph family. Total price $1,975.00.
Laborers from the Fairfield County Civil Works Administration were contracted for part of this construction project. The south wing was completed and dedicated May 12, 1935. The new addition provided the much needed space and the remaining one room schools were closed. Students who were attending Crawfis School were permitted to finish their high school years at Crawfis until 1935. Crawfis remained an elementary school until 1941 when it was closed and for the first time all Berne Union students were attending school at Sugar Grove.
In 1938, with a roster of less than 12 players, the baseball team won the Class B State Baseball Championship. An article in the “Fairfielder” states that the Berne Union Band Boosters was organized in 1940.
The next few years were World War II years and war had a tremendous impact on the lives of students and faculty. Scrap drives, savings stamps, war bond sales and other projects were held to help the war effort. Gasoline was rationed which made transportation for interscholastic sports difficult. However, the girls won the Fairifield County Volleyball Tournament three consecutive years; 1943, 44, and 45.
January 1952 a constitution was adopted and Berne Union Athletic Association was formed because Coach Carroll VanSchoyck had a dream of starting an interscholastic football program at Berne Union. Fund raising projects were held including the planting of 30 acres of corn. All games had to be played at other schools during the first season but by the following season, the new field and bleachers were ready.
A new addition to the Berne Union School was dedicated October 10, 1954. This new addition, which cost $290,000 contained five elementary classrooms, a new cafeteria and kitchen, a shop and drafting room and a music room. There were 686 students enrolled in grades one through twelve. Twenty-five teachers were employed.
A teacher was employed, and the first class for special education began during the 1958-59 school year.
Rockbridge High School, Hocking County, lost its charter in 1959. By vote of the West Hocking School Board, grades 9 through 12 were assigned to Berne Union. The Berne Union Board of Education agreed to accept the students on a tuition basis with West
Another addition to the school was dedicated January 12, 1959. The total enrollment at the time was 770 and the faculty included 30 teachers and administrators. This unit was built at a cost of $185,000 and included seven elementary classrooms, one high school classroom, a high school library and an extension to the cafeteria which was also used for kindergarten, the first ever at Berne Union.
Ground was broken in the spring of 1964 for the new high school. This building was connected to the existing building by the gymnasium
Because of the additions to the original building, little space was available for playgrounds. The board decided to attempt to purchase the 11.31 acres to the north and east of the building. Terms could not be reached with the owner and the board began the necessary steps to appropriate the property. However, a settlement was reached and court proceedings were stopped. The property was purchased for $25,000. The house and some of the buildings were sold at public auction.