Getting Old South School History Straight


William Tell Sez
by Edgar Schergens
The News
December 26, 1984

Recently I wrote about Tell City's Old South School building (now gone) and published a picture of it.  Also I wrote at that time about Franklin street school which replaced South School (nearby) and explained that it had recently been purchased by Dr. Jim Jordan of Florida.

Since then my historical aid, Charles A. Schreiber, who spends most of his free time (he's retired by still works like some others of us) monitoring and reading the old Tell City and Cannelton newspapers.  They are all on microfilm and more easily monitored than leafing through the large file books.   He found the following item inn the July 30, 1910 issue of The News concerning the South School:

"When the old South School Building in Tell City was recently torn down in the following articles were found the cornerstone.

"J. Bollinger opinion of political conditions at the time of the cornerstone laying, which was in 1863;  copy of an address of Prof. Oestreicher; minutes of the Swiss Colonization Society held in Tell City in 1868; a copy of the by laws of Tell City; two copies of the Helvetia, one of Feb. 6, 1861 and one of July 3, 1863; the June 12 issue of the Cannelton Reporter, a bottle of wine, and as per program found it was Catawa wine, raised by Christian Schmidt on lot 12; a map of Tell City and the following money:  a gold dollar, 2 pennies, 5 silver meunzen work 50, 25, 10, 5 and 3 cents, $1 bill and paper money in the following denominations 50, 25, 10 and 5 cents."

The Old South School was sold soon after the new South (Franklin) School was completed and occupied by local students.  it had been erected in 1864.  It was a two-story brick, four rooms and was "delightfully situated on the brow of one of the bluffs overlooking the city."  George Hess, Sr., bought the building at a public auction for $203.  Mr. Hess tore the building down.

The newspaper, The Commercial on August 3, 1872 said:  "The South School building tower was raised six feet.  A bell has been bought to be placed in the tower, it is 32 inches in width, 3 1/2 feed high and weighs 55 pounds."  The same bell was transferred to the new South School when it was completed and still is located in the tower of that (Franklin street) school.