1998: "THE LAST HURRAH TOUR" OF OLD CALHOUN HIGH - 77 Years End, Skunk Juice, Human Fly


Old Calhoun County High School closed after 77 years

By Bob Weaver 1998

"With a vision, the people of Calhoun County by a two-to-one vote decided to build a high school in Calhoun County in 1915, putting their pocketbooks on the line," said Bob Bonar, president of the Calhoun Historical Society.

Bonar's comments came during the "Last Hurrah Walking Tour" of the old Calhoun County High School in 1998, ending its' 77 year history.

About 50 people took the final tour of the old school, sharing memories of school days and listening to the history of the school.

'Last Hurrah' tour group circles the school grounds
before going inside, the old well house (right)

Bonar recalled that World War I placed the project on hold until 1920, with the first graduating class in 1925.

An early graduate, excited about the opening of the school and its gigantic size, was quoted saying "This building was much too big and would meet the needs for the next 500 years."

The school was built on a seven-acre site occupied by John Ball's cabin and cornfield in Grantsville, but not after a fight over the location being at Mt. Zion and Arnoldsburg.

Former principal Don McGlothlin wrote: "Far sighted citizens had long argued for an institution of secondary education in the county...It took a long time to educate the public as to the need of a county high school."

A member of the tour recalled the low-ceiling in the school's gym, located in the basement, the basketball often hitting the ceiling.

Others recalled stories about skunk juice being squirted on hot stoves, sports victories, eccentric teachers and the day the human fly climbed the twin towers.

With Calhoun being among the first counties in the state to provide bus service, "Kids came out of these hollers by the droves," said Bonar.

Teacher and former principal Bob Bonar makes
last visit to Calhoun's first computer lab

CHS's first graduating class in 1925

Like the Phoenix, perhaps the school's greatest moment was rising from the ashes of a tragic fire in 1942.

Following the "Last Hurrah Walking Tour," a Herald article said:

In a few weeks the electric will be shut off and the gas disconnected. The old structure will sit empty, its future uncertain.

It leaves like an ancient warrior against ignorance, that has outlived its usefulness, crumbling and decaying from within, but its surface holding forth like a great pyramid to be thought about by some future generation making an ancestral visit to these hills.

For many of us it will represent triumphs, defeats, young love, challenges, changes and the good times of youth.

For others, it will represent a place that launched thousands of young people into a greater word, citizens whose talents and abilities have been sprinkled on communities across America.

The new Calhoun Middle-High School opened at Mt. Zion.

The old school was sold for the fourth or fifth time.

What does the future hold?