: Caption reads: "Opened October 4, 1831. Woodward College (High School) First Building."
William Woodward (1768-1833) and his wife Abigail first started as the Woodward Free Grammar School as an effort of educated the city's poor. The growth of the public school system around 1829 caused him to reevaluate his goals for the school. Additional land was purchased, and a new school built. The Woodward High School of Cincinnati opened October 1831 in a two story brick building on Franklin Street and was the first high school west of the Allegheny Mountains.
The school's thorough education caused trustee's to apply to collegiate powers, which were granted. Woodward's College Department opened January 1936, in the same building as the high school, and alumni of the school earned degrees at graduation. The school continue to grow, and by 1841, a third story was added, and plans were undertaken to construct bigger facilities, which were completed in 1855. "Old Woodward", designed by John R. Hamilton in the English - Gothic style, was located on the corner of Woodward Street and Sycamore Street, and was one of the first buildings in America to use terracotta as exterior decoration.
Around 1850, public school were continuing to grow, and it was becoming apparent that the need for the Woodward as a private institution was waning. The high school was suspended, so that the college portion of the school could survive on the remaining funds. Money ran out, however, and the College Department closed in 1851. Not wanting to close the school entirely, especially with a new building underway, the board decided reinstate the high school and joined the Cincinnati public school system later that same year, changing their name to the Cincinnati Woodward High School. In 1860, the remains of William Woodward and his wife were placed in a stone vault on school grounds near the Broadway Street entrance, to honor his dedication to the school and in 1878, a monument and statue were placed over the tomb.
A new building was constructed on Sycamore Street in between 1908 to 1910. In 1950, this building became the Abigail Cutter Junior High School, and Woodward High School moved to a new building on Reading Road. From 1976 to 2010, the School for Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA) used the building on Sycamore Street, which plans to move to new facilities adjacent to Cincinnati Music Hall in the fall of 2010. The future of the Sycamore Street building currently remains undecided.
Notable people associated with the school include: Joseph Ray, the school's first principal, teacher of mathmatics and author a series of algebra textbooks; William McGuffy, teacher and author of many well known spellers and readers; and former U.S. President William Taft, who is an alumni (1874).
It is also interesting to note that William Woodward's home was built on the site of the Sycamore Street school, in 1832 (before the school was built). The house was lived in by Henry Rucher, and early principal and teacher, and was commonly known as the Rucher House. From 1856 - 1863, Levi Coffin, "President" of the Underground Railway, and his wife Catherine, lived in this home. The home later served as the Good Samaritan Hospital for a short time, and St. Luke's Hospital, before eventually being demolished in order to build the new school, in 1907. View on Ohio Memory.
: SA1039AV_B03F13_001 Subjects
: Schools--Ohio; Woodward College (Cincinnati, Ohio); Woodward High School (Cincinnati, Ohio); Bond Hill (Cincinnati, Ohio) Places
: Cincinnati (Ohio); Hamilton County (Ohio)