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Pieces of the Past — There Were Schools

March 6, 2024

When I offered to write Pieces of the Past the purpose was to help people remember Warren as it used to be. You can’t reflect on that without going back to school.

If like me, you grew up in Warren in the 50s and 60s you went to school within walking distance to your home. There was Lacy, South Street, Jefferson Street, Home Street, Seneca, East Street, and McClintock. Market Street came later. Some of those buildings have been repurposed or the property liquidated. I still have one brick from Lacy. My mother snagged it just before they warned people to stay off the site.

The funny thing about this particular Piece is I don’t recall ever hearing anyone mention that they went to East Street! East Street wasn’t even on East Street! Its address was 140 6th Street. I guess East Street simply rolls off the tongue more easily! Depending on your age, you might remember the building. It had two lives, From 1895 to the mid-70s it was one of Warren’s bigger elementary schools. Back then the rule was to build up not out. So East Street had a second floor and room at the top for more.

If you look around the lot where the school used to be and remember its footprint, it fits like a glove in the neighborhood. It sat dormant for a while. In ’79 it became Warren County School District’s central office. My Mom worked as the secretary to the Director of professional personnel for many years there. Long after the building was deemed unsafe for students. She used to say: “the place wasn’t safe for kids, but it’s fine for adults!”

Lacy is now Warren Shurfine, South Street was demolished and rebuilt where it was, and is home to Head Start students, along with McClintock (which also houses other organizations). East Street gave up its spot to private development. Seneca remains housing offices for public service organizations. Jefferson Street was being redeveloped as housing. Home Street is gone.

There is a scene from the movie A Christmas Story where Ralphie is walking onto his school grounds. It’s a perfect representation of things I saw and heard, between 1956 and 1962. Especially conversations that included: “I double Dog Dare you!” I don’t remember any kid ever sticking his tongue on the flagpole though!

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