HISTORY OF AURORA PUBLIC SCHOOLS
1804 – 1910
The first fireplace school in Aurora was opened in 1804; it became the model for log cabin schools. Log cabin schools were not built on permanent foundations—as the school population shifted within the twenty-five square miles of the township, the school could be lifted, put on runners and sledded to its new location. In fireplaces built of stone and mud, wood which had been cut and chopped by parents burned to heat the school. The floors were made from split tree trunks. Schools were supported by subscription—the Ohio Assembly did not enact a law enabling townships .5 mill tax on real estate and tangible property until 1825. Parents often provided room and board for teachers and feed for their horses as well as whatever cash they could afford to contribute.
By 1870, the map of Aurora showed seven little white school houses; these were located in the most populous areas in order to be within walking distance for the greatest number of students. The last of the seven buildings was standing at the corner of Brewster and Sea World Drive when it was razed during construction of the parking lot for Sea World.
In 1888, the building which is now City Hall was erected as a two-story, two-room school. Remodeled in 1896, the school at Aurora Corners began in 1897 with four rooms; all students were brought to it by “kiddie hacks” drawn by teams of horses. The first graduating class had seven pupils. By 1910, the school included ten grades.
1910 – 1950
In 1912 the red brick building on Garfield Road became the school and Aurora Township took over the use of the old hall. By 1925, the school included three grades at the high school level. Students traveled to Chagrin Falls, Mantua, Streetsboro, or boarded in Hiram or Alliance to finish their diplomas. Others enrolled in Business College in Cleveland or Ravenna to prepare for the working world. Aurora’s Class of1926 were the first four-year graduates.
In 1948 the first half of the Hurd Road elementary building was erected—the second half was added in 1954. Until 1949 there was no public Kindergarten in Aurora.
In 1950, Streetsboro lost their High School charter, and for two years sent their students under tuition grants to neighboring schools. The influx of students from Streetsboro stimulated an increase in Aurora’s teaching staff and the beginning of new building plan
1960 – Present
Several rooms and a gymnasium were added to the old Garfield Road building in 1960; a library was established in the High School. Additional bonds were voted to build Lake Elementary School on East Boulevard in 1961. In 1965, by voting enough bonds to comply with state aid, Aurora was able to have the new high school built on West Pioneer Trail. Miller Elementary School on South Chillicothe was opened in 1969. At this time, Kindergartens were still being houses in three churches. When the Harmon Middle School on Aurora-Hudson Road opened in 1974, all sections of Kindergarten and Grade 5 were housed in the central campus building on Garfield Road.
Can you add your memories of the schools?