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In the year 1858, just before the Civil War, a group of citizens of Ft. Mitchell determined to have a school for the children of the neighborhood. Among these public-spirited citizens were Elijah Vickers, Lewis Senour, John Perkins, Clinton Kennedy, Samuel Rich, Robert Hemmingray, and Alfred Pope Sandford.
Each family contributed something toward the project. The land upon which the school house was erected was a part of the estate of Alfred Pope Sandford which estate still abuts the school property. Over fifty years later a quit claim on the land was procured for five hundred dollars. Since then two pieces of property, one piece to the north and one to the west, have been purchased to make the present property.
The building which was erected, over seventy-five years ago, was essentially the same as that known to all here present as "the old building" and which was just razed this past summer.
In that old building there was always one class every year, but for a long time there were two seasons of teaching, a spring season and a winter season.
Miss Kate Sandford, now 75, the oldest living daughter of Alfred Pope Sandford, recalls many of her teachers, among them Mr. Wilson, Mr. and Mrs. Culbertson, Mr. Best, Mr. Smithers, and Mr. Stubbs. A younger sister, Miss Mae Sandford, who later taught at Beechwood, recalls Miss Nancy Kyle, Miss Carrie Pace, Miss Florence Rich, Mr. Ben McGlasson, and Mr. Houston Kennedy.
Miss Mae Sandford went to John G. Carlisle High School in Covington and graduated in 1881. 'The following year she began to teach at Beechwood where she remained for twenty years, till 1904.
In an accompanying photograph you see the class of 1896 with Miss Sandford and her sisters. In the front row sits little Miss Clara Britsch who later became Mrs. Adam Bauer. Our sophomore Luella Bauer is a daughter of Mrs. Bauer.
Beechwood School 1896 Click image for a larger picture
For a time after Miss Sandford left, a Mr. Northcutt taught. Following him came Mr. John Kleete.
In 1912 Beechwood School left the county system and became a district graded school. The members of its first board were Mr. F. A. Hilker, president; Mr. John Hoffman, secretary; Mr. G. N. Hobbs, Mr. Chas. H. Meyers, and Mr. G. V. Wert. Mr. J. G. Heileman was the treasurer. From that time till this past season Mr. Hilker, Mr. Hobbs and Mr. Heileman have been faithful servants of the school and of the taxpayers in this district, as members of the Board of Education.
At that time the taxable property in Beech wood District amounted to 426,225.00 and for the school this was taxed at twenty cents on each hundred dollars. The census showed 165 children of school age of which only 34 attended Beechwood.
This board employed Mr. Eric M. Martin to act as principal of the school and gave him as an assistant Miss Alma Holmes to teach the primary grades. School opened September 16, 1912; a photograph of Mr. Martin and his first class is shown.
Beechwood School 1912 Click image for a larger picture
In September 1914 two years of High School were added to the eight grades. The following summer the already venerable building was remodeled to accommodate the larger number of pupils. In September 1916 a third teacher was added and in September 1923 a fourth one.
September 18, 1927 school opened in a new four-roomed brick building which stood in the very front yard of the old building. High School classes were discontinued, and the four teachers had two classes apiece. Two of our present teachers began teaching that year - Miss Jean Chambers, and Miss Ella Talliaferro.
Two years later a fifth teacher was added and the following summer an addition to the new building was completed. It was decided to try to have one grade of High School, and accordingly in September 1930 Mrs. J. F. Huskey had the Freshman Class. It was this year that Miss Betsy Burke put in an appearance. The staff then numbered seven.
The following year there were two High School grades; September 1932 marks the advent of Mr. Boyd Howard and Mrs. John Glenn.
Last year two more teachers were added making the total nine -Miss Esther Edelmaier for the High School and Miss Ruth Congleton for the sixth grade.
During the past summer a second addition was made to the new building and the seventy-six year old "old" building was razed to make room.
This year for the first time in the history of Beechwood we have a graduating class of High School students. Two new High School teachers were added, Mr. S. B. Smalley and Mr. Robert Ferry. At the same time Miss Nan Chambers was added to the grade staff.
The present teaching staff consists of: Kindergarten, Miss Ruby 0'Bryant; First and Second Grades, Miss, Jean Chambers; Third Grade, Miss Ella Talliaferro; Fourth Grade, Miss Nan Chambers; Fifth Grade, Miss Betsy Burke; Sixth Grade, Miss Ruth Conglcton; Seventh Grade, Mrs. John Glenn; Eighth Grade, Mr. Eric M. Martin; and High School, Mr. Boyd Howard, Miss Esther Edehnaier, Mr. Robert Ferry, and Mr. Stephen B. Smalley. There are 142 pupils in the eight grades and kindergarten and 49 in the High School.
While we speak of this year, the grandest in the long history of Beechwood, we must take off our hats to the members of the board, who are with us a hundred per cent and without whose enthusiasm the grandest year would not have been possible. Our board members are: Mr. Chas. Feuss, chairman; Mr. Clifford Homan, secretary; Dr. W. G. Pendleton, Mrs. T. E. Wallingford, Mr. J. J. Bell, and Mr. Kenneth Wright, replacing Dr. Pendleton who, because of a new state law, cannot serve on the board until he has been a resident of Beechwood district three years.
It is interesting to note the growth of the district the past quarter of a century. The 1935 census shows 631 children of school age as compared with 165 in 1912, and taxable property amounting to $2,500,000.00 as compared with $426,225.00 in 1912. All evidence is in favor of a bright future for Beechwood District.
Compiled by S. B. Smalley