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Background: Consolidation of township school districts leads to the creation of the Talawanda School District


In the months leading up to the spring of 1954, the Ohio Department of Education created the Talawanda School District.

The option for Milford Township students in grades 7-11 to attend Seven Mile school ended, prior to the 1954-55 school year. The State of Ohio created the Talawanda School District and consolidated Milford Township students with Oxford township students at Oxford Stewart Junior and Senior High School. Milford Township students who were seniors in 1954-55 were allowed to complete their senior year at Seven Mile.

The following article appeared in the September 22, 2006 edition of the Oxford Press

"Milford Twp. schools played roles in three communities


By Natalie Bartal - Staff Writer / Oxford Press

Friday, September 22, 2006


Before the Talawanda consolidation in 1956, Milford Twp. consisted of three high schools: Somerville, Collinsville and Darrtown.


Each school possessed its own unique qualities. Some parents in Milford Twp. attempted to stop the abolishment of their district, but they did not secure enough signatures.


Somerville High School was constructed in 1917 and operated for 37 years. However, the school only served teenagers until 1934, when the last senior class of eight people graduated. From there, high school students living in Somerville attended Stewart or McGuffey schools in Oxford.


In Collinsville, Robert Todd secured a charter for a high school around 1906. The era was much different than landscape today. At the time, horses and buggies were used to transport students to and from school. As the high school began to grow, two rooms were added at a cost of ,000 in 1914. During this year, Center, Greenbriar and Taylor schools consolidated with Collinsville adding more students.


The following year in 1915, parents took a more active role in the school. They established a mothers club where moms took turns cooking lunches. The cost a student paid for a meal was 10 cents.


Ten years later in December, the school experienced a frightening event. More than 100 children barely escaped a fire caused by an overheated furnace. A 13-year-old boy discovered the fire while playing outside. After this traumatic event, students used the basement of the Collinsville Presbyterian Church as the cafeteria, and classes were held in buildings over local stores.


In Darrtown, the high school was built in 1926. One famous major leaguer got his start at there. Former Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers manager Walter "Smokey" Alston was a student at Darrtown High School. Alston was also a standout athlete at the high school. In 1929 he scored 26 points in a basketball game against Hanover. Alston's team won the game 50-6. The Darrtown alum went on to manage the Dodgers for 22 years before returning home. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., in 1983.


One Darrtown resident explained her feelings about the town in a graduation speech from 1917. 'You have now reached the time when you must sever the ties which have bound you to this school,' Rosabelle Snavely said, 'and following the old custom our class must bid you a final farewell. Soon you will leave this familiar old building and the places you have been accustomed to will be left to others.' "

Talawanda School Leaders




Two leaders of the Talawanda School District are seen in the photo at the right (circa late 1950's or early 1960's) .


Superintendent Robert Bogan and long-time school principal, Carl Garnett (at Stewart and Kramer schools), appear left to right in a photo that was taken during a school dance - probably in the Talawanda High School gymnasium.


This undated image was contributed by Betty (Lindley) Daniels.

Talawanda High School


Circa 1957


This photo was taken from Chestnut Street looking south toward the high school.


The taller portion of the building in the center of this photo housed the gymnasium.


The awing at the right side of this image led to the school's main entrance(including the principal's office).

Robert White addresses reunion of the Talawanda class of 1957


According to Kirk Mee, III, Mr. Robert White, of the Oxford Press, used the following notes in a message that Mr. White presented during the 50th reunion of the Talawanda High School Class of 1957 - which was held on the evening of September 15, 2007.

The 1957 Talawanda senior class was the first to graduate from the newly consolidated school district.


I apologize for a written talk, but my memory is not what it was back in 1957.

When I was old enough for high school, the towns of Montgomery and Blue Ash had each hoped to have the district's choice. So to calm the waters, the board put Sycamore High School right in the middle. Buses drove east or west, and many of us walked to and from Sycamore high.

As an only child, I had parents who doted on my welfare. We had first lived in Norwood, and when we moved to Montgomery it was to live in a farmhouse with four large bedrooms. While at a Mothers' Club meeting, my Mother learned that a young teacher needed a place to stay during each week. On the weekends, he returned to his farm home near Wilmington.

And that's how for two wonderful years my family threesome benefited from having Bob Bogan as my "almost brother." On Friday nights, I accompanied Coach Bob to our basketball games (football had yet to come upon the scene) and when he headed to Wilmington I joined classmates with cars going down to a coke and sandwich shop in Silverton.

In 1939 Bob moved to a teaching post in Hamilton and married Mary Louise Murrell. After high school graduation, I worked for a governmental post in Cincinnati and then headed to Miami University. Working in a restaurant, teaching tap dancing and going to classes, I managed to get my BS in Education. After a year of working in New York City, and a near to impossible teaching assignment in rural West Elkton, I headed back to Miami to earn a Master's Degree.

In 1952 I joined Mrs. Avis Cullen and other members of The Oxford Press. It is a change which I have never regretted. In those days The Press had women who wrote notes or columns about activities in Darrtown, Somerville, Reily, College Corner, and so forth, and often I would be visiting area schools with camera in hand.

In 1954, when you may have been a student entering high school, I had been covering activities in Stewart and McGuffey High schools, Hanover, Somerville and Collinsville high schools and even making occasional visits to Reily Township High School. School Board members studied the pro's and con's of having a single CONSOLIDATED High School. It might be set to the south and east of the Miami campus, would have sufficient water and sewage services, and occupy at least twenty acres. Land then, just beyond Oxford's town limits at the end of Main Street, was made available; the McGuffey PTA and the Miami School of Education gave their okay. In the May 4th, 1954, primary election the bond issue of $1,100,000 was passed on a majority vote of 62.5% with Oxford and Somerville leading the way and Hanover and Milford on votes near to 50-50.

Footnotes: In 1954 a dinner was held recognizing the success of Darrtown's "Smokey" Alston.... A Remember When item notes that Wilbur C. "Weeb" Ewbank, Miami 1924, served as coach for both McGuffey and Miami teams for 13 years and was named head coach for the Baltimore Colts. He left for the Navy in 1943. At the age of 101-pIus, his lovely widow, Lucy lives at The Knolls of Oxford.

Do you remember Oxford as it looked back in 1954-57?

Remember Corso's, Bang's market, the Apothecary Shop, Hosack's, the Oxford Lumber Company, the Purity, Venn's Restaurant, Don Osborne and The Huddle?

What about Robinson's and Sloane's shoe stores, Coffee Pete's, the Shillito Shop, the relatively new Miami-Western Theatre, and the old Princess Theatre?

Remember Zwick's, the Kiddie Shop, Frundt's Ice Cream, the Oxford House cafeteria, the Sunshine restaurant? Most of these local business are no more: The Miami theater is now a restaurant and bar; Snyder's was closed this past year after 105 years of Oxford and Miami service.

You also may remember that, in 1953, Dr. John D. Millett took over the reins as Miami University President and held a reception introducing Mrs. Millett and their three sons: Allen, David and Stephen. Seeing Miami University's 150th birthday coming in 1959, Dr. Millett moved to update the campus. Old Main, Miami's initial school structure, was razed to be replaced by a new Harrison Hall. The Army building which housed "the res" would be replaced as a part of Miami's new student union, later to be the Shriver Center. Gone, too, were the temporary buildings of the Miami Lodges and Vet Village.

Meanwhile, Robert and Mary Louise Bogan were living in Hamilton and Bob was teaching in Fairfield. They welcomed son Bobby, and not much later Robert W. began teaching at Hanover High and working toward the program of this district's consolidation.

A funny footnote: In my Tower column of that March, I noted that Miami's new indoor pool had organized female swimmers going through the gyrations for "A Gander at Mother Goose." For which I noted that "I found it to be just 'ducky,' adding that 'I can't resist those wise-quacks.'"

Then came the fall of 1956. The name of Talawanda had been chosen and the high school opening was delayed until Sept. 17, while freshmen were to have classes at McGuffey school on a temporary basis. Talawanda had brand new uniforms, area team representatives were Don Krauth, Ronnie Setser and Coe Potter. In the Southwest Little League previews, Talawanda downed Ross 20-0; Seven Mile and Middletown Fenwick came on top at 20-0; in the third preview Talawanda and Fenwick stalled at 0-0, The Press noting that "Late in the game Mike Poast broke loose for 43 yards, carrying the ball to Fenwicks 17-yard line, but a penalty cost the Braves yardage. Trying desperately to score, Bill Bowers threw a beautiful 30-yard pass to Don Wills, who was tackled on the 18-yard line as the game ended."

In Talawanda's first full-time game of the high school's athletic program the Braves came from behind to win 13-12 over Monroe. With Kirk Mee and Don Krauth as co-captains,Talawanda defeated Lockland-Wayne 20-0. In October/ the new Talawanda held a homecoming for classes from Stewart, McGuffey, Hanover, and Milford Township.

The Braves ended the season with a Crown and 8-1 record. According to Coach Larry Bowers, the Boosters honored the grid game and cross-country teams following the Talawanda-DePorres game of November 9.

With the brand new high school there were activities everywhere: A Talawanda student Advisory council included Dick Fryman as President, Susan Taylor as Secretary, and Kirk Mee as Vice President. Class Presidents were Don Krauth for seniors; Gordon Schutte, juniors; Bill Bowers, sophomore, and Jim Gross, freshmen. Other senior class representatives were Dick Fryman, vice president, Beverly Stamper, secretary and Don Wills, treasurer.

Talawanda's opening basketball game was with the Braves facing the College Corner Trojans in Withrow Court. At season's end, The Little Southwestern League members were recognized in the Talawanda Cafeteria with Coach Larry Bowers as toastmaster and John Pont as guest speaker. When the new Talawanda High School gym opened its first shot came from co-captains Ralph Flick, #10, and Roger Parks, #19. Girls Athletic Association activities such as field hockey, basketball, bowling, and modern dance involved Wilma Williams, Susan Taylor, Barbara Berger, Linda Mee, Judy Grewe, Barbara Mapel, Susan Service, Mary Ann, Brown and Mrs. Carol Hartman as coach.

The 1957 Talawanda High football team produced a perfect 10-0 season record and was ranked 29th in the final state poll. The head coach was John Trump. In Talawanda's first year, six coaches (John Trump, Carol Hartman, Don Knodel, Dale Bufler, Al Tanner, and Dan Webster) served five sports and fourteen squads.

At 2 p.m., Sunday, February 7, 1957, a dedication program and Talawanda Open House brought an estimated one-thousand visitors to the new building. Bob Bogan welcomed visitors and wife Mary Lou helped to serve at the punch-bowl. Ironically, the new McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital was bringing its visitors to its new facility just two weeks later, on February 24th, and required a second visitation day for the its overflow. On May 11, the local Kiwanis Club held its first Pancake Day with the proceeds to support getting Talawanda band uniforms. The co-chairs for the pancake event being held upstairs in Oxford's city building were Jack Samuelson and Bob Bogan.

In its initial year, Talawanda High students were a busy lot. Marcia Haley, Gail Shaw, Judy Ray and Terry Ward did a one-act play "Overtone" which went on to district recognition. In the second semester, eight seniors were included in the all-school production of "Meet Me in St. Louis." Six Talawanda seniors were named state scholars: David Hackley, Robert Christophel, Richard Fryman, Michael Poast, Judy Holcomb and Don Wills. Kay Samuels earned honors in ice skating. Joanne Pelley headed the first "Talawanda Torch" and a second one followed the next semester, with Jo Pelley and Wilma Williams as co-editors, Julie McCune and Vinnie Lawrence as headwriters, and Bob Selby as Advertising Manager.

Talawanda held its first-annual all-sports dinner in late May. Guest speaker was Jay Colville, head trainer at Miami University, who spoke of his experiences as a member of the U. S. team at the 1956 Olympic games in Melbourne, Australia.

The first Talawanda Prom saw Roger Parks and Susan Taylor as King and Queen, and they were attended by Don Krauth and Bev Stamper, Dick Fryman and Bonnie Mayes, Kirk Mee and Barbara Berger. Music by the Deke Moffett orchestra.

The Class of 1957 had its Baccalaureate ceremony at Talawanda at 3 p.m. Sunday, June 2, with Dr. Fred Sturm, Western College Chaplain, with music by Harold Mohr leading the High School Chorus and Herman Torge leading the Talawanda Orchestra.

The Commencement of June 6 included an introduction by District Administrator Robert Bogan. Senior awards were announced by Vice-Principal Carl Garnett; Class President Don Krauth gave class greetings, Valedictorian Martha James delivered the class address, and Principal Alton Rudolph presented the class to Board Member Kirk Mee II, who then presented class diplomas, one of which went to his son, Kirk Mee III.

The guest speaker was Floyd Faust, whose talk focused on "Living with Energy and Enthusiasm." A. D. Lekvold led the high school orchestra and music also included the Talawanda Triple Trio.

In a subsequent recognition assembly, leadership awards from Avis Cullen, owner of The Oxford Press, were presented to Julie Holcomb and Richard Fryman by editor Bob White.

Robert W. Bogan served as Superintendent of Hanover Schools from 1942-48; the same with Oxford Local schools 1948-1954; then, he was the first Superintendent of the new Talawanda Local School District until 1969, when he retired. While in Oxford, the Bogans had lived within a stone’s-throw of my house. Then they moved to a senior center in Hamilton. In 2004, I moved to The Knolls of Oxford and not much later so did Bob and Mary Lou.

On August 28, 2006, the Talawanda Board of Education named its newest facility, the Robert W. Bogan Elementary School, and at past 90 years, Bob Bogan, the district's First Superintendent, delivered dedication remarks and cut the entry ribbon. He took pride in visiting the new elementary school several times before his death this past April. Bob and Mary Lou, who sends her greetings, had been married for 68 years.

So, the Class of 1957 activities during that memorable Talawanda High School first year have been touched upon. My own longtime friendship with Bob Bogan, Talawanda's initial School District Superintendent, has been covered, and there is but one closing thought: Talawanda High School came about, through a bond issue approved by district voters on May 4, 1954. The vote had a 62.5% majority - making the way for consolidation; leading to bringing in Milford and Hanover townships, Oxford's McGuffey and Stewart schools and, eventually, the Reily Township schools as well.

Now, the Talawanda Board of Education members have issued final steps on a bond issue that would provide greater high school and junior high space (said to be 165 acres) south of Oxford just off Route 27. Treasurer Mike Davis has confirmed the amounts of .25 percent income tax and 4.8 mill property tax in the proposed bond issue. The election will be held in November.

In mentioning this upcoming issue to class members who recall the consolidation leading to Talawanda and its first class of 1957, I can only add the saying that "everything that goes around comes around."

Thank you and all good wishes."

Initially, in 1954, Milford Township students were consolidated with Oxford Township students.

Later, students from Hanover and Reily townships were added.

The district contains 144 square miles.

This page is devoted to information about the Talawanda School District and its relationship to the history of Darrtown and Milford Township.