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TRIP BACK IN TIME: A fun history lesson about Dalton area schools

Built in 1924, this former high school building became Dalton Junior High in 1966. It was torn down after the new DEMS opened in 2014.


School is out for summer, but here is a quick fun history lesson about Dalton and other local schools.

The first schools in Dalton were held in small churches and then in primitive small buildings, just to say a little bit about construction of buildings.

No records have been found to give us a high school location until 1891. In that year a large two-story building was erected on S. Church Street, across the street from the present library. Pupils in grades 1-8 were housed on the first floor, and high school classes were on the second floor which included a combination auditorium and gymnasium. All plumbing was outside.

A building was built just east of this school in 1924 to house high school classes and executive offices. In 1938, a six room addition, two levels, was added with a new west entrance. In 1955 a cafeteria, industrial arts room and hallway was added to the building along with a new front entrance.

In 1950, a new one-story; elementary was constructed which included 8 class rooms and was constructed on school grounds south of the 1924 building.

Around 1955 the old 1892 building was razed and the upper elementary, grades 5-8, was built.

In 1966 the new high school building on N. Mill was built and the 1924 building became the intermediate school.

A new elementary and intermediate school building opened in 2014 and all the old buildings were torn down.

A few items of interest about the old schools:
* The first Dalton High School graduated in 1866 with 11 graduates. In the beginning the classes were small with the biggest in 1935 – 38 students.
* The first athletic field was used for football, baseball and track 1920-1966. This field was located just south of Athletic Court and down the hill from the high school. Bleachers for the home side were in the hillside.
* School colors of orange and black were first mentioned at the first football game in Dalton on Thanksgiving Day 1906 against Orrville.
* Dalton’s initial football game under the lights was played at Wooster in 1935.
* The school that was built in 1892 was so small that the 7th and 8th grades were held in the town hall on the second floor, and the boys and girls basketball team had to practice in a barn.
* The first mention of Bulldogs occurred in a Gazette account of a basketball game with Orrville in 1943. But the name didn’t gain widespread use until around 1960.
* Dalton High bands appeared in 1920s and by 1940 bands played and marched. In 1948 the Dalton All Girl Marching Football Band was organized by Victor Gerber.
* Dalton school buses first ran after Christmas vacation in January 1936.
* The high school song was composed in 1920.
* Sixth grade students have participated in a week’s camp at Camp Wanakee since 1971.
* The last class to graduate with only 3 years of high school was the Class of 1910.
* Dalton has had graduating classes in 1886, 1889, 1891, 1894, 1897, 1898 until the present day.
* Marshallville operated a three year high school until the mid-1930s when the state required them to have four years of high school. They started going to Dalton High School and the Dalton class of 1936-1953 included Marshallville students. After that Marshallville chose to become part of Green Local District (Smithville) when the state refused to permit Marshallville school district to transport pupils through one school district (Orrville) to attend another school
* In the early years of high school the state only required three years of high school. The last class to graduate with three years of high school training in Dalton was the Class of 1910.

Vickie Menges is president of the Dalton Community Historical Society and provides a regular history column to The Dalton Gazette & Kidron News.


  1. Jamee Mumaw DeGeorge on July 11, 2023 at 11:22 am

    So enjoyed the article. My mother was a teacher in Dalton until she retired in 1975. It was sad for me to return back and see the buildings gone.

    • Earl Nickles on July 11, 2023 at 5:31 pm

      Hello Jamee.

  2. Susan Hall Croskey on July 11, 2023 at 5:09 pm

    My father (Del Hall/Halls Dairy) had attended Marshallville high school until it was no more.😔 He could choose to attend the Doylestown schools at that time, or Dalton. He chose Dalton!. He went out for football but his build was so small it was more of a beating on him he said… He decided then to be part of the boys cheer team.. He graduated Dalton high School with the class of 1938!! 🧡 🖤…

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