BIDWELL — Bidwell-Porter High School alumni are remembering the past.
The final graduating class of Bidwell-Porter High School was the spring of 1957, exactly 60 years ago. Some of those members still meet annually for alumni reunions, which have been occurring for 99 years this spring. The first class to graduate from the school was 1903, after the merging of two local schools.
The first school building was erected for the 1902 school year at the same location where its’ successor also stands. According to Charles Murray, 1957 graduate of BPHS, the first school building was a two story wood framed building with a gym, stage, and seven classrooms. This building served from 1902 until 1928 with the current brick building on Ohio 554, just west of Ohio 160. The building still stands and is the home of Bidwell Bait and Tackle.
Several other structures and old one room school houses were moved to the BPHS to serve as additional classrooms; including Crossroads from Ohio 850 and Kerr Road area, and Fairview School from Woodsmill road. There was also a school for African American students.
Murray, along with Donna Broyles and Herman Sprague, have been organizing alumni reunions for several years now, collecting Bidwell Porter history along the way. Murray has written a book on one room school houses in Gallia County and a collection of historical facts about the school building and its inhabitants over the years.
“Every year the attendance at our gatherings goes down, we’re getting older and there are less of us now” explained Broyles, who graduated in 1957. “This is our 99th reunion, I don’t know if we will have a 1ooth.”
“We’ve been doing this for quite a while now. Not many people know we still do it” said Sprague, class of 1956.
BPHS graduated a total of 778 students over the course of its’ existence, many of which became educators themselves or entered the military to serve.
“We’re excited about the reunion coming up. We don’t do a big thing like we have in the past, we have a meal and we talk” said Murray, who went on to explain that alumni simply desire to socialize and catch up.
Alumni should keep a watch for further details to come. The Bidwell-Porter High School class reunion will be held on Saturday May 27 at 3 p.m. at the River Valley Middle School.
Reach Morgan McKinniss at 740-446-2342 ext 2108 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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