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Author Topic: Somerville, Ohio  (Read 42 times)

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Online ink

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Somerville, Ohio
« on: August 01, 2008, 01:53:17 PM »
Somerville is located between Hamilton and Eaton right on the Butler/Preble County Line. The incorporated village of just over 300 people is completely within Butler County.

I posted a few photos of the exterior of the former Somerville School a few months back, but returned yesterday as my office assigned me to complete an Ohio Historic Inventory form for the building as requested by the Ohio Historic Preservation Office. CDBG funding has been secured to abate and demolish the building.

Somerville isn’t the kind of town I’d normally post (I go small, but not this small), but I thought some context was needed for the school.

Somerville National Bank survives…somehow. Until 1989, it was the smallest nationally chartered bank in the United States. Today, SNB has branches in Eaton, Hamilton, Oxford, and Camden.

Where it all started in 1910

The other commercial building in town

Seven Mile Creek zags just to the west of Somerville; a Norfolk Southern RR Line crosses the creek just above and below Somerville to be able to service the village. I’m not sure if there was ever a depot, though.

Abandoned church

The old school overlooks the village

Abandoned for more than a decade, Somerville School was completed in 1916 and used for all 12 grades until 1953 when the district became part of Tallawanda City Schools which includes the City of Oxford, Oxford Township, Milford Township, Reily Township, and parts of Hanover Township and the City of Hamilton, making it one of the largest school districts (geographically) in the state. The school wasn't closed until the early 1980's though.

From this spring (with a bit of snow left and no ivy)

Let’s go inside…(legally of course)

The Auditorium was used as a church in the early 1990's.

I like how this shot came out

The building is infested with pigeons, which means the floors are covered with droppings and dead carcasses.

You’ll notice the pigeon resting on the light fixture. The second floor is almost unbearable because of how many live within the former classrooms. When I came upstairs, they all became scared and started flying about and into closed, not-yet-broken windows. All around (and above) me the pigeons were racing about and making noise, it felt like a bad horror film. I don’t know how seicer does this stuff.

Girls Restroom

No comment

Down in the basement…

Boys Restroom

The Gymnasium

Go Somerville!

As I expected, the building wasn’t heated with a hot water system (boiler/radiators, etc.), the building had a forced air system with tube heaters.

Notice the coal tubes within this chamber

The above chamber was connected to a 'Flean Air Room' that contained a massive blower

What is even more disappointing than the building’s demolition is the fact that CDBG money was used just a few years ago to install a new roof on the building. The village had dreams of creating a community center as has been done with old schools in other Butler County rural towns like nearby Collinsville and Reily. The building below was renovated over several years (with many grants) by Milford Township—the same township in which Somerville is located.

So long Somerville School, so long!
« Last Edit: August 02, 2008, 05:25:35 PM by ink »

Offline MyTwoSense

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Re: Somerville, Ohio
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2008, 02:04:47 PM »
it's a shame that such a beautiful building is now a filthy pigeon coup.

Offline seicer

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Re: Somerville, Ohio
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2008, 02:22:56 PM »
Yuckie. Bird droppings are contaminated with histoplasmosis, and the spores are spewed everywhere just from someone trampling on it. Cryptococcosis, etc. and the overwhelming aroma can make you pass out in just over five minutes if it is not ventilated. I've had my share of close calls, but bird droppings (and I mean a mass number of them) is where I call the line.

Yuck yuck yuck.

Online ColDayMan

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Re: Somerville, Ohio
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2008, 12:29:28 AM »
Never heard of this place.
"You don't just walk into a bar and mix it up by calling a girl fat" - buildingcincinnati speaking about new forumers

Offline John S.

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Re: Somerville, Ohio
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2008, 12:57:26 PM »
Nice but sad photos, Ink. As you pointed out, so many old schools have received a new lease on life as community centers, even adapted as living quarters as has been shown on HGTV. As for the "Union Jack" transoms, these are actually Neo-Classical, "Roman" style transoms which were very popular in prominent public buildings built during the first two decades of the 20th century. You'll find these window designs especially in courthouses, post offices, and schools, from that period. Early 20th century Neo-Classicism, sometimes also called the Beaux Arts style because this formal classical academic style was taught at the famous Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, came to the U.S. late in the 19th century as many leading American architects had studied at the prestigious French school of architecture. Beginning with the Great White City built of plaster at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago-which mimicked the ancient marble temples and buildings of ancient Rome-Neo Classicism soon swept away the frills and curlicues of the Victorian era and imposed a strict classical order of symmetry and decoration. A friend of mine in Lakewood, OH calls it early 20th century "Greek Revival, Revival".

John S.

Offline Huxlay

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Re: Somerville, Ohio
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2010, 06:24:34 AM »
it's a shame that such a beautiful building is now a filthy pigeon coup.

I m agree with you. i wanna  :shoot:

Offline PigBoy

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Re: Somerville, Ohio
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2010, 10:43:30 PM »
Grossss. Thanks for undertaking this adventure, ink, and I'm glad you've survived the subsequent two years!

Offline Lgustosmio

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Re: Somerville, Ohio
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2016, 11:02:08 PM »
Just a couple of comments.  Ink stated he was not sure there was ever a depot in Somerville, there was a depot building standing in the 1950's.  My recollection is that it was used only for mail pickup and drop off at the time but in prior years there was passenger service.  Same thing as in Collinsville just a few miles down the line.  Trains at that time did not stop to pick up the mail, the mail sack was hung on a special post next to the track and was snatched on the fly by a special hook protruding from the passing train.  Mail was dropped off in a similar manner.

Ink also stated the school was used for all 12 grades until 1953.  That is not correct.  I do not know when the school changed from a full 12 year program to lesser grades but when I attended the school 1946-1951 there were only 6 grades at the school.  There were only three teachers with one of those also acting as principal.  We had 2 grades per room at the time and my recollection is there were about 50 students total.  About 1953, the school added two more grades, I'm not sure exactly when this happened but do know my younger brother went through 8th grade at Somerville.  Also, somewhere along this time more teachers were added but there were still mixed grades in each room as I recall.  Also, somewhere in the early 50's but after 1951, there were finally indoor toilets installed.  Up to that time, we had outdoor privies.

All-in-all though it was a great place to attend elementary school.  When I drive by a small asphalt playground of today's modern elementary schools and think of the lush green several acres we had for 50 kids, I cringe.