By Peg Schmidt, Delhi Township Historian, and DHS Trustee.
In August, the Delhi Historical Society will go visit an old friend at Heritage Village in Sharon Woods. Few know that the Myers Schoolhouse, which stood on Neeb Road south of Delhi Pike for more than 100 years, almost became a part of the DHS family in 2004.
A little history first...
The Myers Schoolhouse now at Heritage Village was the third school on the site. The first school was a log building that was also used for meetings of the first trustees of the western section of Cincinnati as early as the 1830s. The second building was handmade brick, probably constructed around 1843, which was the year that District School #3 opened with 19 students and one teacher.
The current Myers School was constructed in 1891 and opened for class on October 4 of that year. It was named for Cornelius Myers, who was a longtime school trustee, as well as a township trustee. It was a fine building for its time, with a pyramid-roofed bell tower at the front of the gable peak. The peak contains a date stone inscribed “1891 Dist. School No. 3”
Alas, it was only to serve Delhi students until 1926, when modern motorized transportation allowed for the consolidation of all Delhi one- and two-room schools into the new Delhi School at Anderson Ferry and Foley roads. The Myers Schoolhouse was auctioned at public sale and purchased by Henry and Emma Backus, who just happened on the auction while taking a ride in the country.
The Backus family built a white cottage attached to the back of the school. The three-room addition included a bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen. In 1932, they built a colonial home behind the schoolhouse that now serves as the Sisters of Charity Earth Connection ministry.
In 1958, the Backus’ son Harry moved his interior design business into the old schoolhouse. He retired the business in 1986 and sold the property to Charles and Pauline Johnson for $107,000. Once again, the schoolhouse was used for educational purposes. Pauline was a vision therapist who specialized in reading problems for students with dyslexia. Four years later, the Johnsons sold the property to the College of Mount St. Joseph (now Mount St. Joseph University). Two parcels of land adjacent to the school, still owned by Harry Backus, were also sold to the college.
The college used it for a pre-school, and once again the walls of the old building contained the laughter and chatter of students. It eventually became a daycare facility for children of Mount adult students.
In 2004, Sister Barbara Hagedorn of the Sisters of Charity met with then DHS president Don Blaney, consultant Sue Ann Painter and Peg Schmidt to see if we would be interested in using the building with the stipulation that we would need to make some structural repairs. After having a structural engineer estimate $60,000 to $70,000 in repairs, we suggested they contact Historic Southwest Ohio, which operates Heritage Village in Sharon Woods. HSO set about raising the money needed to deconstruct, move and reconstruct the building - brick by brick - from Delhi to Sharonville.
Today, the building is undergoing continuing restoration in order to reopen to visitors to the living history village.
Explore the History of the Myers Schoolhouse in Person!
Join us Monday, August 6th for a field trip focused on the Myers School House. Delhi participants will meet at the Delhi Historical Society at 9:30 am for a short talk on early schools in Delhi. Then they will depart by bus to the Sisters of Charity Motherhouse to hear about the Sisters’ part of the story and tour the Motherhouse. Afterward, the group will travel to Heritage Village for a catered lunch and tour of the Myers Schoolhouse and the village. The group will arrive back at DHS around 4:30 pm.
The Early bird rate is $35/member, $40/non-member and includes travel, admission, and lunch. Prices go up after July 30. Reservations Required. Reserve your spot by calling 513-451-4313. Mail checks to 468 Anderson Ferry Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45238 (Must be received by August 1) or visit our click here to pay via credit card.
Yearbooks from the Myers Schoolhouse.