2007-10-19 / Front Page

History goes up in flames

By Warner M.Montgomery Warner@TheColumbiaStar.com

The house (l) on the corner of Lee and Queen Street which burned October 11, 2007, was originally a two room school house built in 1906.

Photo by Casey Clark Photo by Casey Clark The building at the northeast corner of Lee and Queen streets that housed the first Shandon School in 1906 burned October 11, 2007. The building, originally a two- room school house, had been converted into a residence decades ago. It was vacant at the time of the fire.

The following is an excerpt about Shandon School taken from Warner Montgomery's book, Columbia Schools, A History of Richland County School District One.

"The first school in Shandon was called Shandon School and came under the administration of S.M. Clarkson, Richland County Superintendent of Education. The first teachers were Miss Marion Means and Miss Katie Duncan. A third teacher, Miss Nan Pagett was added before the first year ended. Within three years Miss C. Dozier, Louise DeBruhl, Jessie Patterson, and Mr. S.M. Busby were added to the faculty.

The early Shandon School trustees were Scott, Swygert, and Jeter. The Shandon School building was also home to the Baptists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and Methodists as they organized their new congregations in Shandon.

The house on the corner of Lee and Queen Street that was burned October 11, 2007, was originally a two room school house built in 1906. The house on the corner of Lee and Queen Street that was burned October 11, 2007, was originally a two room school house built in 1906. By 1908, the enrollment outgrew the building. A new six classroom brick building was constructed on a one- acre lot at the corner of Devine and Maple streets in 1909 for $10,000. The trustees listed on the 1909 cornerstone are S.T. Carter, C.M. Scott, L. Bremer, L. Miller, C.J. Bruce, and W. Maxwell.

In 1913, Shandon School with its 300 students was annexed by the Columbia City School System and Wilbur S. Wertz became the principal. In 1917, Wertz left Shandon to become principal of Taylor School and Watkins Elementary School.

Samuel P. Schneider succeeded Wertz as principal at Shandon School. Schneider was principal of Shandon School for 19 years until his death May 26, 1936. On May 13, 1937, S.P. Schneider's birthday, the name of the school was changed to Schneider School.

Guy L. Varn became principal in September, 1936, at an annual salary of $2,100. He remained until 1946 when he became district director of personnel. He became the fifth superintendent of the Columbia City Schools (District One) in 1961. Roy J. Ellis succeeded Varn as principal and remained for 20 years when he became district director of testing.

Clifton L. Harkey was principal from 1965 until 1973. Ruth Ott was the last principal of Schneider Elementary School. In 1975, the building was used as an alternative school and Sam A. Heyward was principal. The Walk- In School headed by Dr. William Howell also used the building.

Schneider ceased to function as a school in 1977. The school board voted September 25, 1979, to sell the building and use the money to beautify other schools. The school was purchased by T- John Inc. for $325,000 and retrofitted into the Schneider Apartments."

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