Along the Way: Ravenna school district making a list

By Diane Smith | Staff Writer Published:

If you want a brick from Ravenna's old high school, I have a number for you.

330-296-7159.

That's the number for the business services department in the Ravenna School District. Those are the folks keeping a list of people who want bricks from the building, which is being demolished to make way for future development.

Every time I write a story about the building, I get calls from people wanting a brick.

Sorry, I'm not making a list. Nor am I checking it twice. After all, I'm not Santa.

High school history

Allow me to introduce myself.

I'm the "historian" who figured out what nobody else had before -- the time capsule tucked behind the cornerstone at Ravenna's old high school was left by the Masons. I then went around asking historians and Masons if that was something the fraternal organization would do.

Actually, I'm not really a historian. I'm just a journalist, and as a journalist, I read the paper.

And so I pulled up a copy of the Ravenna Republican that was inside the time capsule, and was so fascinated by the article on the high school that I had a copy made of it.

In addition to spelling out details of the Masonic cornerstone laying ceremony (it was May 10, 1922, and the same date was on a list of school and city officials) the article gave a detailed description of the new building.

Headlined, "New Ravenna City High School to be All That Was Promised ... and More," the article described the contrast between the building and the one-room school houses recalled by readers.

George McDonald, superintendent to the contractor, told the newspaper, "They can remember when the little red schoolhouse came along. It was heralded as a step forward -- and it was. For instance, in the old log school, our seats went around the four walls and were made from slabs from the outside of logs .... All of the children faced the wall, except the class that was called out to the center of the room to recite. Here was where some of the greatest statesmen received their early training.

"The school house of today is quite a different creation. It is no longer four walls and a roof, as a visit to Ravenna's new site will prove. It's tons of steel and miles of pipes and yards of stone and sand. Thousands of brick of various kind, when stacked on the site, look to passerby like the preparation for the towers of Babylon. But go down and look them over, and you will find that there is no confusion of tongues. Everything has been allotted to its place long before it was sent out on the job."

Quite an ambitious undertaking for a generation that still relied on trains for travel and chicken thieves were front page news. Also on the front page was the story of a Kent boy who had been struck by an automobile and killed. The car was only going 15 miles per hour, but drove over the 10-year-old's neck.

The "six page" paper, which was established in 1830, proclaimed that it is published three times a week. A subscription cost $2.50 for a year, and single copies were a nickle.

Man meets beast

My Facebook friends have been fascinated with the video of the man interacting with a young deer. The deer comes right up to the man, lets him pet him and even licks his hand. I'm sure I wasn't the only one who felt a twinge of sadness when he said, "You be careful."

It reminded me of contrasting responses by the Animal Kingdom to the question, "Hey, little guy, whatcha' doin'?"

In the case of the deer, it came right up to the man and spurred a heartfelt, gentle exchange between man and beast.

But when Dan Lintz of Ravenna asked the same question of a black bear, the animal quickly darted into the woods.

Somehow, I doubt that Lintz would have wanted to pet the bear and lick his hand, but that's just me.

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