South Ward School, photo circa 1875.
During the year 1869, the school board ordered the creation of three new primary school buildings, patterned after the Marshall primary school buildings. A blueprint used to build a Marshall school was purchased by the Albion board, and construction began. The three primary schools were practically identical in appearance.
The South Ward School was erected on River Street on a site purchased in April 1869 for $1,000. The site presently is the location of the Sheldon Manor physical plant. Helping build the South Ward School in 1869 was Carl L. Schumacher, a newly arrived German immigrant, who began his long construction career here at the site, working as a mason.
The three ward schools did not open in September 1869, as none were yet completed. Board records indicate that openings were delayed until some time in November.
The South Ward School was closed in June 1920 and students were transferred to Dalrymple during the winter of 1918 (January-March) because of a coal shortage. Residents petitioned the school board in September 1920, asking that the school be reopened, but were denied their request because there were so few children in the neighborhood, the conditions at the school were unsanitary, there was a lack of lighting, and the state inspector had closed the building. The site was subsequently given to the City of Albion in June 1922, and became the location of the physical plant of the Sheldon Memorial Hospital.
Fourth Grade City Baseball Champions, circa 1910. South Ward school.
Source: Frank Passic. A History of the Albion Public Schools. Albion, Michigan: E. Weil Publishing Services. 1991.