North Industry School
There was a feeling of excitement in the air as village residents prepared for the day’s activities on November 23, 1923. Today was the day Sam Stokes would lay the cornerstone for a new school. The officers and members of Thomas Jefferson Unit #100 of the Junior Order of United American Mechanics were especially proud. Their names, along with two daily newspapers, were included in the tube contained within the cornerstone. Thus, they were assured of a special niche in history. Such were the events surrounding the construction of North Industry High School. Like her sister school, the Mapleton Road High School in Waco, North Industry would serve as the high school for students in Canton Township for eight years. With the opening of Canton Township High School in 1931-32, North Industry then became an elementary building.
The original building consisted of eleven classrooms situated on 3.1 acres in downtown North Industry. It also had a large auditorium with a stage, so arranged that it could be used as an auditorium or gymnasium. Concrete steps were on one side, and on this tier were placed “opera seats” so it could serve as an amphitheater when basketball games or gymnastic exhibitions took place. Only one major construction project had altered the building. In 1952, an addition provided for eight more classrooms and a gymnasium/auditorium. Even before the addition of the gymnasium, Country Western “Big Name Bands” performed in the auditorium.
In the early 50’s people came from all over, packing the gymnasium to hear those Country Western sounds. Various remodeling activities were completed throughout the years to meet North Industry’s needs.
Music has always been a co-curricular emphasis in our schools. Prior to the opening of the high school, decked out in sparkling white uniforms, the pre-1931 North Industry High School Band could be seen performing at school and community functions alike.
Many can remember leaving our classrooms and walking in orderly lines for music and other classes that were held in the Portables. These were two buildings on the south side of the lot that were used when North Industry was bursting at the seams with students. Although they were called portable buildings, it is doubtful that anyone ever saw them move.
In addition to physical changes over the years, North Industry Elementary also had changes in the student body. Originally a high school, North Industry later housed grades 1-8 when Canton Township High School was opened in 1931. Two wings were added to the high school in 1937 causing North Industry to have grades 1-6. Fluctuating population numbers at the high school resulted in North Industry adding the seventh graders and then the eighth graders through the 1950’s. With the opening of Walker Junior High School in 1962, North Industry became a facility for grades K-6. Years later, after a re-evaluation of the district needs, the school became a K-5 building.
Known as the Raiders, many spirited and hard-fought basketball games took place in both the original and new gyms. Dating back to the late 1920’s, the highlight of the season was always the rivalry game with Waco. Both boys’ and girls’ teams battled it out for Township and school bragging rights, dating back to the late 1920’s. Most alumni of the blue and white North Industry teams would tell you that the Raiders traditionally came out on top. In addition, the gym was always the hub of excitement for the students. Who can forget the Hal Harrison assemblies, the Halloween costume parades, or the Christmas programs presented to packed houses?
As the population of the entire school district fluctuated, so did student enrollment change at North Industry. In 1981-82, approximately 260 students were being educated by 12 teachers, tutors, aides, itinerant personnel and specialized instructors. Classrooms no longer needed for full-time use had been transformed into a music room, art room, and even reading labs. The building, staff, programs and students at North Industry had come a long way since that November day in 1923.
Nine principals served North Industry School since its opening:
1923-31 Mr. Lyman Hert
1931-33 Mr. William Seese
1933-46 Mr. Amos McDannel
1946-59 Mr. Dwight Flohr
1959-62 Mr. William Hayden
1962-64 Mr. Dan Dowling
1964-66 Mr. Walter Linhart
1966-73 Mr. John Weber
1973-84 when the building closed Mr. Paul Neiss