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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL was the first public high school in Cleveland. Established on 13 July 1846, it was the first such school west of the Alleghenies to provide free secondary education at public expense. Its founding was controversial because of the prevailing belief that education beyond the elementary level was a private responsibility, opponents of Central High alleging that operation of the school out of public funds was illegal under Ohio statutes.

Central High School building on Willson Ave. (E 55th), ca. 1880s. WRHS.

These issues were resolved by state legislation in 1848 that made provisions for Central's funding. The major proponents of Central High were GEO. HOADLEY†, CHAS. BRADBURN†, and Geo. Willey, and its first principal was ANDREW FREESE†. Early Central students included such eminent figures as JOHN L. SEVERANCE†, JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER†, MARCUS A. HANNA†, SAMUEL MATHER†, and LANGSTON HUGHES†. The early curriculum of Central High included courses in English, mathematics, natural science, bookkeeping, rhetoric, and philosophy. By 1928 the curriculum included courses in English, foreign languages, mathematics, social science, physical science, commercial education, technical education, art, home economics, and music. First housed in the Universalist Church on Prospect Ave., Central High changed locations 3 times in a span of 100 years. It moved to a new building on Euclid Ave, west of E. 9th in 1856, and in 1878 to a Gothic-style building on E. 55th St. In 1940 the school moved to E. 40th St. By the time Central had its centennial celebration in 1946, it had graduated 10,000 pupils. In 1952 Central merged with EAST TECHNICAL HIGH SCHOOL, while its old site on E. 40th became Central Jr. High.

Last Modified: 27 Mar 1998 10:17:52 AM

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