History Series: Hartman Farm School
by Linda Dillman
Hamilton Township Alumni Association
A lonely little brick building located at the intersection of Rathmell Road and US 23 (South High Street), now boarded up with many of its architectural features long removed, once served as a schoolhouse for the Hamilton district.
Records show a building at the same location as early as 1880, but the structure standing today is thought to have been built by Dr. Samuel Hartman for his farm employees. Rows of simple houses once lined the east side of High Street and served as homes for farm families whose children attended the one-room schoolhouse.
Dr. Hartman built a fortune upon his Peruna tonic, a medicine touted as a cure-all for a wide range of ailments. In reality, the foundation of his empire was little more than a watery concoction consisting of more than 25 percent alcohol. However, what Hartman did with his profits left a lasting imprint on Columbus with the Hartman Hotel (now a condominium complex) and Hartman Farm—at one time a sprawling 2,900 acre operation with a stable, dairy and orchards.
The farm was not developed until the early 1900s and the present brick building is shown on township maps dating back to 1895 and 1910. In 1880, school District No. 8 (with a building located at the southeast corner of Parsons Ave. and Rathmell Rd.) and District No. 9 (the Riley school located at the corner of Obetz Rd. and Parsons Ave.) were split and District 10 (Rathmell Rd. and US 23) created.
A $1,500 levy was ordered by the school board on all taxable township property to build the new district’s schoolhouse. Five pages of very detailed plans and building specifications were recorded in the board minutes indicating all materials were of the highest quality available.
Christian Zebold submitted a construction bid of $1,274 and the schoolhouse was ready for students in October 1880. The site was leased from Cynthia Holmes for five dollars. Dr. Hartman later purchased the grounds and asked the school board in 1904 for permission to grade and improve the grounds.
In 1926, students attended class for the last time in the one-room building before the school was closed and pupils transported to Obetz and Shadeville. In 1930, the school board ordered the building sold at public auction. It is now owned by the Hartman estate and was used as a private residence for several years.