East Ward School, photo taken 1998
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East Ward School
106 North Traver Street, St. Johns - Clinton County
Other Names Theresa Merrill School
Property Type school
Historic Use EDUCATION
Style Late Victorian
Architect/Builder Oliver Hidden
White and Hussey
Narrative Description The East Ward School is a one-story, brick structure constructed in two sections: an original, two-room building dating from 1876 and an addition built in 1906. The 1876 building consists of a broad, rectangular, classroom block fronted by a projecting entrance block displaying an arched, recessed porch. This section has a low, double-hip roof broken by a gable at either end and in the center of the entrance block. The school's exterior displays an elaborate decorative scheme of corbelled and paneled brickwork. The 1906 addition, similar in size to the earlier section, is a two-room block with a high hip roof and corbelled and paneled brickwork matching that of the 1876 building. A mansard-roof bell tower which once capped the front gable of the older section of the school has been removed and the narrow windows of the older section have been replaced by broad ones matching those in the newer section.
Statement of Significance The East Ward School is the oldest known school building in St. Johns and is among the surviving, nineteenth-century schoolhouses of Michigan. It is unusual both for its size and its elaborate brickwork. The building is one of the best remaining examples of the work of Bay City architect Oliver Hidden in St. Johns. The building was renamed in 1976 in honor of a former teacher and principal. It is currently used for adult education.
Period of Significance 1866-1900
Significant Date(s) 1876, 1906
Registry Type(s) 05/12/1980 National Register listed
02/27/1980 State Register listed
Site ID# P22891