Schools‎ > ‎

Vienna Centralized School

One room school buildings continued to flourish into the early twentieth century, but in early 1915 a decision was made to consolidate the ten one room school sub districts, when Township voters approved centralization.  Vienna Centralized School was housed in a new brick building constructed just east of Vienna Center.  Due to the number of students that year, the use of a "Portable Building" located next to the new brick school was required and was used for several years.  The new school was dedicated in 1916 and considered a fine building for its day. [1]

Vienna Centralized School - 1915

When the "Portable Building" was used due to overcrowding, the students drank water from a pump in the rear of the school building, using a folding aluminum cup they carried in their pockets.  The toilet facilities were wooden and stood near where the baseball field is currently located.  Electricity was installed in the school in 1922.  Kerosene lamps were most likely used, when necessary, before that time.

When electric power was brought to Vienna, the PTA advanced the money to run the line to the school. [1]

1st & 2nd grade students in Vienna Centralized School - December 1922
Photo donated by Doug Scott

In the late 1920s, the school lunch program was started by Mrs. Marie Mathews (the wife of Ithel F. Mathews).  Parents were asked to bring to the new Domestic Science room, any produce that would be canned and used for students' hot lunches.  This was a welcomed addition to the school program.  Dishes such as lima bean soup, vegetable soup, tomato soup, and macaroni and cheese were brought to the classrooms in large kettles and served by the students.  Every Wednesday, however, students would walk to the Vienna Methodist or the Vienna Presbyterian Church in alternating weeks to get their noontime meal.  These delicious lunches were served for 10 cents each.

The Board of Education voted on December 10, 1927 to have bonds issued by the Vienna Township Rural School District for the purpose of constructing and furnishing a fireproof addition to the schoolhouse.  The sum proposed was $72,000, and a levy of taxes to be made outside of the fifteen-mill limitation, estimated by the County Auditor to average 3.40 mills for a maximum period of 21 years, was to pay the principal and interest of such bonds. (Note that a mill levy is a property tax that is based on the assessed value of a property. The rate of this tax is expressed in mills. One mill is equal to $1 for every $1,000 of assessed value).

Due to the new construction at the school, the "Portable Building" was vacated as a school on December 21, 1928. 

Vienna Centralized School - circa 1928

The 1929 Trumbull County Schools Annual carried the following description of a new addition:

The second semester found us occupying the new building.  The new rooms, the new furniture that occupied them, gave a new impetus to school work.  A special feature was the new Gymnasium which has been appreciated by the community in general as well as by the parents and pupils of the townships.  The earnest and untiring efforts of an interested Board of Education are recognized in this connection.

Also added in 1929 were an auditorium, the library, a study hall, two high school classrooms and two elementary classrooms. [1]

In July 1933, the local school board began discussion on a second addition to the 1915 brick school, and finally passed the following: "Be it resolved by the Board of Education of Vienna Township Rural School District that for the purpose of accommodation of school of said district it is necessary to alter the present building and to build an addition thereto, including the heating and equipment of same and a cost of $55,000."  A further resolution stated that President William H. Francis and Clerk F. Catchpole be authorized and directed to make application to the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works in Washington D.C. for funds necessary to provide the improvement.  A five-bay, thirty-two by sixty-foot garage was built in 1934 with the help of the federal Civil Works Administration.  The cost to the Board of Education was approximately $843 for materials.

Vienna Centralized School - 1950
Image source: 1950 Viennese

The view outside of the Vienna Centralized School Auditorium - November 1950
Image courtesy of Edgar Mealy

The entire student body of Vienna Centralized School in the school auditorium in 1951.
The photographer was facing east, taking the photo from the stage, which still remains.
Image courtesy of Dallas Woodall

The last addition to the Vienna Township School occurred in 1952: a combined gymnasium and auditorium, two classrooms, and the manual training and shop areas.  The auditorium was called Vienna Memorial Auditorium.

The 1952 Viennese contains a page that highlights the dedication of the new gymnasium auditorium on February 15, 1952.  The dedication took place after a brief band concert and consisted of Reverend Burkardt's invocation and Reverend John Roach's reminiscences.  Superintendent Wanamaker told of the history of the building and the many added facilities which included an increase in seating capacity for basketball games from 120 to 650, and as an audtorium from 400 to 1,000.  The stage was nearly 3 times as big and had much better lighting.  Architect Harold Hunter presented the keys to the auditorium to the president of the Board of Education, Mr. C. M. Werden.  Remarks were made by Principal Raymond F. Moyer, and then a benediction by Reverend Woodall.  The high school's mixed chorus also participated and the Vi-Hi Starlighters played music for dancing afterwards.

Vienna Gymnasium Auditorium Dedication, February 15, 1952
Image source: 1952 Viennese

Vienna Centralized School after the addition of the gymnasium in 1952.
Image source: 1952 Viennese

The "Vienna Centralized School" text remains at the top of the school's facade.
Image courtesy of Leanne Lee, 2017

After consolidation in 1961, the school was renamed Mathews High School and served as the high school as part of the Fowler-Vienna Local School District, which later became the Mathews Local School District.

Updated 8/13/2020

This entry is adapted from "Vienna Township Schools, Then and Now" in Vienna, Ohio, "Where We Live and Let Live": Town 4, Range 2 of the Connecticut Western Reserve (Apollo, PA: Closson Press, 1999), pp. 166-167, 170.
[1] "Tribune Trailer Finds Vienna Friendly School In Friendly Community: Enrollment Totals 346," Warren Tribune Chronicle, February 14, 1938

Photos: The Annual of the Trumbull County Public School System (Trumbull County Public Schools, 1929).