Tradition of Excellence
Mason City Schools have a proud tradition of excellence. In 2015, the City of Mason celebrated its 200th birthday, and in 2011 Mason Central celebrated its centennial. We continue to be grateful for those who came before us and look forward to a bright future.
Enough can’t be said for the leaders of this community. school board members, superintendents, principals, teachers and all who have worked and volunteered here. We’ve come a long way from small school buildings and one-room schoolhouses. It seems to me some things never change. There is a history of pride in our schools, from the earliest days to the current multi-campuses.
Sherri Federle, Mason Historical Society & MHS Alumnae
A Brief History of Mason Schools
As told by Sherri Federle, Mason Historical Society & MHS Alumnae, during the Centennial Celebration
Schools were being built in and around Mason since the early 1800’s. A small one story frame school was built in 1827 on a lot west of Main Street and a 1881 map reveals seven one-room school houses in Deerfield Township.
Mason’s first High School commencement was held May 21, 1886 at the Presbyterian Church. These 7 graduates completed the three year High School program and each read their topic paper at the graduation ceremony. Professor Louis Coleman was the school superintendent and possibly the only teacher in the high school.
By 1906, because of overcrowding, classes were held for our youngest children in an old saloon on the corner of Main and East streets. Three years later, with a 30% increase in students, a levy was passed by a margin of 119 to 56 for construction of a small supplementary school. The construction was postponed until in 1911 when it was decided to purchase the old cemetery lot behind the Methodist Church.
One hundred years ago, (before most of us here were ever born) on an extremely rainy November 17th, the program for the laying of the cornerstone of the new school house was held in the Methodist Church to our south. The large crowd witnessed the items to be placed for “many generations.” A special edition of the local newspaper, the Warren County Appeal, listed the village officials, various organizations and businesses of the time. It was announced that Mason High School had been given a state charter declaring the local school system to be of first grade. It was necessary to improve the library and laboratory along with changing from a three to a four year system. The only two teachers were Superintendent T.H. Rogers and Elva Drake.
When this building opened in early September 1912, 51 students were enrolled in Mason High School. The Mason School Board consisted of A. C. Baysore, George Kohl, George Kerr, John Buck and W. A. Cox. They were pleased to have the students in the new building even though the school grounds were said to be strewn with building supplies and covered in mud. Students had to wade through the muddy grounds to the octagon shaped outhouse behind the school all during the first year. Thank goodness times have changed!
This building held all grades 1st through 12th. Students from the one-room school houses, when promoted to High School, came to this building. At one time they even played basketball upstairs.
Students Hall, Western Row and Lick one-room schoolhouses were closed in 1937. That same year this gymnasium was added and students received hot lunches sponsored by the Mothers Club.
This building has grown and adjusted to the needs of its community. The 50’s brought another addition of classrooms on the south end and two new buildings, Wm. Mason High School and Western Row Elementary. This building's identity changed to Mason Central where it continued as an elementary and junior high school. Mason Heights elementary came in the mid 60’s and it didn’t stop there.
This building has been used as an intermediate school, middle school, kindergarten & pre-school, Latch key and administrative offices. 2006 was the last year students were here after MECC was built. What’s great is this gym is still used for youth basketball, and serves our community and staff.
Enough can’t be said for the leaders of this community, school board members, superintendents, principals, teachers and all who have worked and volunteered here. We’ve come a long way from small school buildings and one-room schoolhouses. It seems to me some things never change. There is a history of pride in our schools, from the earliest days to the current multi-campuses.