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April 9, 1987


PIX #1 & #2 - These two fine well preserved photos of the past, used with today's article tell another story about important history of Fostoria. The photo at top being taken in 1888, the other was probably taken in 1880 when the building was completed, and which burned down in 1904.

"I found this scrap of paper concerning the old Fostoria Academy, and thought you might be interested," wrote Mrs. Kleinhen, recently.

Indeed I was. The scrap of paper, on oneside, had the name of Miss Anne Hales. She came to fostoria to attend the Academy, and later married Robert Kleinhen's grandfather, Frank G. Kleinhen.

The other side of the scrap paper, told incoming students about Fostoria, and instructions upon arrival here.

"LOCATION -- Fostoria is a flourishing city, located on the line of five prominent railroads: The Baltimore & Ohio; The Lake Erie & Western; The Columbus, Hocking Valley & Toledo; The Ohio Central; The Nickelplate.

"By these lines it is 35 miles from Toledo, 95 from Cleveland, 65 from Mans- field, 85 from Columbus, and 96 from Fort Wayne.

ARRIVAL -- Students upon arrival should come at once to the Academy Building, where they will be welcomed and provided for. The fall term of the College of Music begins Tuesday, Aug. 31, 1886, College of Music, Fostoria, Ohio.

There maybe some readers who never knew about the Fostoria academy. The accompanying photo shows it. It burned down and was never rebuilt. The lo- cation was west of Vine St. and bounded on the south by North St. and on the north by Foster St. One of the old residential buildings for students still stands on Foster St.

Thank you Mrs. Kleinhen! Robert Kleinhen, deceased, was the son of Ray Kleinhen and grandson of Frank G. They were in the real estate business in the building whichonce stood where the parking lot is now at Main and Center. It too was demolished by fire.

Shortly after preparing the item sent by Mrs. Robert Kleinhen, Henrietta Keller of Bradner, turned over to Ann Sendelbach, N. Main St., the other pho- to used with today's article, showing another view of the famous academy which Fostoria was once proud and privileged to have.

From information on the back of the photo, it was taken in 1888. The only person in the group who is identifiable is Charles P. Smith, third person from the right, with mustache.

It would seem quite evident that the group in the photo were both students and staff.

Henrietta Keller's brother-in-law was the son of Charles P. Smith, who was either a student at the Academy, or connected with it in a supervisory capa- city when the photo was taken.

The school had many names during its existence, starting in 1870 under the name of Northwestern Normal School; later adding a unit called Fostoria Business College. At thaat point in time the institution had a staff of 14 people and approximately 500 students.

Subjects taught were English, grammar, teaching, natural sciences, ancient languages, mathematics, science, rhetoric, algebra, penmanship, drawing, piano, organ and vocal music.

In 1875, the school failed, due to financial management. Shortly after the failure, a group of local citizens: Isaac Crouse, J.S. Overhold, Joseph Bever, F.J. Breining, R. French, A. Overholt, John A. Bradner, Thorton D. Ingle, Joseph Stouffer, C. Olmsted, W.J. Rigby, Roswell Crocker, O.J. DeWolfe, Junius V. Jones, Isaac Warner, Jesse Bower, Charles Foster, L.J. Hissong, C.W. Foster, J.W. Bricker, M.D., petitioned the Findlay Conference of the United Brethren Church to establish a school here, which they did, after Fostoria residents raised $22,000 for buildings, to be constructed on four acres of land donated by Charles Foster. The cornerstone for the new academy was laid Aug. 4, 1879.

Later, at an unknown date the school closed due to insufficient funds to op- erate it. It was then taken over by Professor W.E. Ashcraft of Indiana, and a group of associates who purchased the property and reopened it, naming it Ohio Normal College.

A catalog published in 1903 showed an enrollment of more than 500 students throughout Ohio as well as 16 other states and Canada.

In 1904, a fire caused by an overheated furnace, burned the building to the ground, and it was never rebuilt.

The home where Professor Ashcraft lived still exists on W. Fremont...No 723. Currently, according to the latest directory the Rodney D. England family reside there.

After the college burned down, Ashcraft continued to live at 723 until 1916. At that time he was selling real estate in Fostoria.

Others who lived at 723 at various times were N.E. George, John D. Lord and Richard (Rick) Norton Jr., the latter well known being head of Norton Mfg. Co.

N.E. George was a well known business man in Fostoria for many years, oper- ating a restaurant, grocery and fruit and vegetable warehouse.

A much more complete story of the schools history was contained in Potluck June 15, 1978

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