Thoughts on the Razing of ZHS, by Linda Williams Warne

If your experience is like mine, you've lived around Zanesville for all these years and its always been comforting to know the THE building was there. I drove past it at least twice a week on my way to shopping, doctors, dentists, and to Dresden where I enjoyed fourteen years as a tour guide for Longaberger Basket Company. Passing by the High School, I would instantly recall memories of all of you, memories which would flood my mind and linger there. I couldn't imagine that it would one day be destroyed by the wrecking ball.

Looking back to opening day, September 9, 1954, when that four million dollar building became reality, many said "you have to see it to believe it" and still more of us simply called it "real keen". It encompassed sixty-five acres that formerly was the location for the McIntire Children's Home. It seemed appropriate that we, in our youth as well, became occupants over this hallowed ground in this newly acclaimed building to finish out our twelve years of education.

Recently, my brother-in-law asked "Linda, have you seen the high school, it looks as if it was bombed!". I told him no, I had been avoiding going by there, just didn't want to see it. Someone else asked if I had picked up one of the bricks after demolition and before they hauled them away. Again, no, I have a brick from my elementary school on my desk and I didn't want any more bricks. I cherish my memories but I'm not into a collection of bricks. I don't like change, even though I know we have to move on and go with the so called 'flow'. But as classmates of that first class to graduate in 1955, that pile of bricks represented so much more to us than we can express in words. However, I have some thoughts about ZHS, The Building.

From the first time I saw that beautiful edifice of education we called "ZHS", I was in awe of her majestic appearance peeking out from atop that hill on Blue Avenue and spilling over to the other side. She seemed to beckon us inside to partake of her many pleasures. Snuggled into the hillside there, her deco art walls reminding me of the architecture of the late great Frank Lloyd Wright.* Her expanse so exactly fit the hillside and organically was intertwined both with the earth she stood on and her purpose to educate.

In our memories it was where we first took a deep breath, walked and ran to classes where we would indeed finish out our high school education. We studied, crammed, laughed, cried, and sweat it out there. We ate lunch together, played pranks, played ball, and cheered for our teams. We danced and sang, joined in, jostled, and bullied, and often learned the hard way to take our failures along with our successes. We loved our teachers, we loathed our teachers, we respected our teachers. If we cheated or tried to fool them we blamed it on our youthful inexperience and expected pardon from the offended.

Finally, it was only a building constructed of cement, bricks, and glass, but from those many classrooms and long hallways, a clan of classmates emerged whose lives are welded together through friendships that have lasted for over a half century. Looking forward to sharing some memories with you at our reunion.

 

* Reference to FLW from The Fellowship, The Untold Story of Frank Lloyd Wright and the Taliesin Fellowship by Roger Friedland and Harold Zellman
(a good read)