Farewell, Union School

Architectural detail of the old Union School, now part of McCormick Middle School, Wellington, Ohio. Photo by author.

Architectural detail of the old Union School, now part of McCormick Middle School, Wellington, Ohio. Photo by author.

Back in January 2014, I wrote a post about the Union School, built in 1867. Over time, the stately brick Italianate was obscured behind multiple additions, and the overall structure is today known as McCormick Middle School. When I wrote that post nearly two years ago, plans were afoot to construct a new middle school and demolish this building. That plan has now come to fruition. The new building is complete on the north side of town, and the old one is due to be torn down by year’s end.

Today, the Southern Lorain County Historical Society, i.e. The Spirit of ’76 Museum, sponsored an open house at the school that they called, “The Last Lunch.” They opened the building up to the public for self-directed and guided tours, while serving a free final lunch to the community in the cafeteria. Tonight there is a farewell dance in the gymnasium. It was a wonderful event and the school was full of people, taking photographs of their former classrooms and reminiscing over childhood adventures.

Exterior view of the old Union School, now part of McCormick Middle School, Wellington, Ohio. Photo by author.

Exterior view of the old Union School, now part of McCormick Middle School, Wellington, Ohio. Photo by author.

I am not a Wellington native and never attended McCormick. Instead, I was hunting for evidence of the nineteenth-century core of the complex. While the original Italianate structure is clearly identifiable on the exterior, there is virtually no evidence of it inside. All architectural details, including a central, curving wooden staircase, have been eradicated or hidden behind drop ceilings, drywall, and decades of paint.

Architectural detail of the old Union School, now part of McCormick Middle School, Wellington, Ohio. Photo by author.

Architectural detail of the old Union School, now part of McCormick Middle School, Wellington, Ohio. Photo by author.

Though the Italianate section of the building looks rather large from the outside, it is comprised of only two floors: the ground level is almost entirely filled by the cafeteria, and the second story has two large classrooms, with curving walls that proved impossible to effectively photograph. The central staircase was apparently entirely enclosed in stages over the course of the twentieth century due to fears of fire.

Former exterior wall of the Union School, now enclosed in the basement of a later addition. Photo by author.

Former exterior wall of the Union School, now enclosed in the basement of a later addition to McCormick Middle School. Photo by author.

McCormick Middle School is scheduled to come down in the next two to three months. For the first time since 1867, that plot of land on South Main Street will sit unoccupied. At about the same time, the new railroad underpass will open; for the first time since 1850, vehicles will move unobstructed by train traffic through the center of the village. It is the end of a Wellington era, in more ways than one.

Exterior view of the old Union School, now part of McCormick Middle School, Wellington, Ohio. Photo by author.

Exterior view of the old Union School, now part of McCormick Middle School, Wellington, Ohio. Photo by author.

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Farewell, Union School

  1. Donna M. Adam

    Always wonderful to read of your posts, Nicole, with both the old & new topics of history for Wellington. I am launching 2 business websites and the domain name for one of my sites is http://www.wellingtontrust.com, in recognition of my Great Grandparents/Grandparents, their history in Wellington, and my legacy roots. Your work is truly excellent and I enjoy receiving your posts so much. Thank you!

    Reply
  2. Dave Barton

    Thank you for this blog. I was born in Amherst and grew up in Lorain and Avon Lake, and remember fondly visiting Wellington every year for the county fair.
    I am especially interested in this post. I have a blog on the Firelands where today I posted about Minnie Cleghorn, who grew up on Barker Street in Wellington and taught at the high school after attending Oberlin until 1897. That year she took a position at Norwalk High School, where she taught English and girls’ physical education. My grandmother was a student in her classes and thought she was an excellent teacher. The post is at https://firelands.wordpress.com/2017/03/28/minnie-cleghorn-oberlin-college/. I would appreciate it if you would check it out and let me know if you have any other information about Minnie and her family.
    Again, thank you for this blog. I look forward to enjoying more posts about Wellington, Ohio.

    Reply
    1. Armchair Historian Post author

      Mr. Barton,
      Thanks for your comment. I am afraid that the only mention I find of Minnie Cleghorn in my work is that she is in a photograph of the Methodist Choir at Christmas that I wrote about in 2014. Search “The Day Long Anticipated” and you should find it.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s