Lincoln Junior-Senior High School, the home of the Wolverines and named for U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, was first opened for classes back in September 1926. It sits majestically atop a hill at the end of 5th Street on Crescent Avenue in the heart of downtown Ellwood City, Pennsylvania.
The site where it was built was the former home of the Lawrence Hotel. The luxury hotel, the first in Ellwood City when it opened in May 1891, was originally named the Hotel Oliver and was rebranded as the Lawrence Hotel in about 1906. The hotel was sold several times over the next few years. In 1911 a temperance movement was dominating Lawrence County politics and the hotel and others like it were denied licenses to sell liquor. This and other restrictions brought about a severe financial loss and forced the Lawrence Hotel out of business in May 1913.
In June 1914 the hotel building and surrounding property was sold for $19,000 to the Ellwood City Board of Education, which made some modifications and renamed it as the Lawrence Building. The first floor of the building became the home of the Ellwood City High School when the older students from the severely-crowded Central Public School transferred there when classes opened in September 1914. The Ellwood City public library also moved into the building a few months later, while the second floor of the former hotel was rented out as private apartments.
In 1918 the Ellwood City High School formed its first ever basketball squads and began practicing and playing games at the gymnasium located at the Shelby Social Club at 1st Street and Hickory Way. In the summer of 1920 at least two small annex buildings were constructed next to the Lawrence Building to accommodate the overflow of additional students.
At the same time a debate was started concerning razing the Lawrence Building and building a sort of civic center, which would include two new schools, a library, a gymnasium, a swimming pool, and a social center. The grandiose plan proved too costly but two new schools were earmarked for the property, which was soon enlarged by purchasing additional lots.
In early 1923 construction started on the new Hartman School, named after Ellwood City founder Henry W. Hartman, right next door to the Lawrence Building at the corner of Crescent Avenue and 4th Street. The Hartman School was opened for classes for primary-aged children in September 1924. A few months later, in October 1924, the school board agreed to sell the Lawrence Building, including all its lumber and the boiler, to local construction guru Joseph A. McCandless of Ellwood City for $1,025. McCandless soon had the building dismantled and carted away.
Construction of a dedicated nineteen-room high school began sometime in early 1925. The high school students of Ellwood were given the task of choosing the name of their new school, and in late October 1925 it was announced the building would be christened as Lincoln High School. A ceremony on the afternoon of Monday, November 30, 1925, marked the laying of the cornerstone and the building was completed the following summer.
The school finally opened for classes on Tuesday, September 7, 1926, with Professor Earl Davis, who came to the Ellwood High School from the Rochester (PA) High School in May 1924, continuing to serve as principal of the High School. Dwight Conner was in overall charge as supervising principal of the entire Lincoln School, which included additional junior high students. With a new high school gymnasium the basketball team, which had been using the court at the Shelby Social Club, finally had its own home and a combination football/baseball field was built right behind the school as well.
The magnificent Lincoln High School was officially dedicated during a lavish ceremony on Friday, November 12, 1926. The first commencement exercises were held at the Liberty Theater on Friday, June 4, 1927, when eighty-four proud seniors received their diplomas. High School Principal Davis resigned soon after to take a position at the University of Pittsburgh, and was succeeded by Frank S. Attinger.
The school originally housed grades eight through twelve, but it absorbed more seven and eight grade students after the nearby Central Public School was closed in mid-1935. The large bell from the Central School was also fitted in place atop Lincoln High School, but it was removed in 1975 and placed as a monument in front of the Ellwood City municipal building (where the Central School once stood).
Several additions, including a large auditorium built in 1929-1930, were added over the years. A major remodeling effort was began in 1953, that saw a new gymnasium, cafeteria, music department, offices, and a parking lot built behind the school and over where the football field once stood. The football and baseball teams began using new improved fields established at nearby Ewing Park. Today the school, officially known as the Lincoln Junior-Senior High School, is home to seventh through twelve grade students from Ellwood City and the nearby townships of Wayne and Perry.
Many of my relatives from the LaPatka family attended Lincoln High, including my mother MaryAnn (DeMarc) Bales (class of 1966) and my maternal grandmother Irene (LaPatka) DeMarc (class of 1942).
To read an article about the Ellwood City School Board purchasing the old Lawrence Hotel in June 1914 click on: HOTEL PURCHASE ARTICLE. The ground floor of the hotel, renamed as the Lawrence Building, was immediately slated to be converted into a makeshift high school. To read about the renovation plans click on: RENOVATION ARTICLE. To learn more about how the Shelby Steel Tube Company was permitted to open a night school for its employees in the Lawrence Building in February 1915 click on: SHELBY OPENS SCHOOL ARTICLE. To read how an architect was selected to draw up plans for a new high school on the site of the Lawrence Building click on: ARCHITECT ARTICLE. In October 1924 the old Lawrence Building – the actual lumber and hardware – was sold to a local man for scrap. To read more about that sale click on: LAWRENCE BUILDING SOLD ARTICLE. To learn more about how the name was chosen for the school in October 1925 click on: NAME CHOSEN ARTICLE. To read an article about the upcoming cornerstone laying ceremony for the new Lincoln school click on: CORNERSTONE ARTICLE. The learn more about the upcoming school dedication to be held in November 12, 1926, click on: DEDICATION CEREMONY ARTICLE.
A view of Lincoln High and the corner of Fifth Street and Crescent Avenue c1940. Full Size
A drawing of the school that appears inside by mom’s 1966 high school diploma.
A typical classroom at Lincoln High during the 1939-1940 school year.
A basketball game inside the original gymnasium (known as the “old gym”) of Lincoln High. Photo from late 1939.
The 1942 Lincoln Senior High football squad, lead by head coach Thurman “Dutch” Croft and his assistant Howard B. Gills, finished 7-1-1.
The 1945 Lincoln Senior High footballers compiled at 4-2-2 record, but finished on a sour note while losing their final game (at home) 12-0 to Beaver Falls High School.
An overhead view of Lincoln High School in the late 1940’s. The old Hartman Elementary School is visible at top center as well as the old Purification of BVM Catholic Church in top right corner. Full Size
A class photo of a portion of the junior class of 1946-47. Full Size
Running back Ray DeFonde, #48 in white for the boys from Ellwood, crashes through the line against powerhouse Central Catholic High from Pittsburgh during the 1959 season. Central Catholic rallied in the fourth quarter to win this hard-fought contest (which was Lincoln’s Homecoming game) by a score of 12-6. The Ellwood gridiron boys finished the season with a disappointing 3-7 record. Full Size
The recognizable Majorettes from Lincoln High, who kept a busy schedule performing at football games and local parades, from the 1959-60 school year.Full Size
The Majorettes and the Blue Band from Lincoln High prepare to begin the local Shriners’ Parade c1959. Full Size
The Lincoln High School band marches down Lawrence Avenue in Ellwood City during the holiday season of 1962.
On the morning of Thursday, August 2, 1962, five teenage boys who attended Lincoln High in Ellwood City were involved in a horrific car accident on Sampson Street in New Castle. Patrick Newman of Ewing Park, age 16, was killed almost instantly and Joseph Perriello of Koppel, age 17, died later that evening. The news put a serious damper on the upcoming start of school. The 17-year-old driver was charged with manslaughter and was sentenced to the George Junior Republic (reform school) in Grove City. This memorial page appeared in the Lincoln High yearbook of 1963. (1963) Full Size
The “Blue Band” in action in late 1962. (1962) Full Size
A group of ninth graders at Lincoln High during the 1962-63 school year. Oh look… there’s my mom MaryAnn DeMarc of Chewton. (1962) Full Size
If you were to flip to page 169 of the 1966 Ellwoodian yearbook you would find none other than my mom….MaryAnn DeMarc of Chewton. The athletic Jimmy DeMark – with a K – is also from the Wampum-Chewton area but we are not related. Full Size
The side of the high school. (1966) Full Size
Members of the Blue Band from the 1973-74 school year. Full Size
The cafeteria staff of Lincoln High from 1973-74. Full Size
A portion of the junior class from the 1973-74 school year. Love the plaid pants Richard McAllister! (1973) Full Size
The newer auditorium of the Lincoln High School pictured here in the early 1970’s.
Junior High music teacher Robert Egan, who was named Senior High band director in July 1975, instructs some students during the 1973-74 school year.
Miss LaRue Craig (1923-2007) served as the high school guidance counselor for 26 years from 1948-1974. She departed in 1974 to take up a similar position in Butler County. (1973)
A pep rally in the gymnasium in early 1974. (1974)
The high school cheerleaders from the 1973-74 school year. (1973) Full Size
The staff of the Lincoln High School newspaper known as the Echo. (1977) Full Size
The school was extensively remodeled during the 1981-82 school year. (1981) Full Size
Freshman and senior girls take group photos in preparation of the annual Powder Puff football game in the fall of 1981. (1981)
The Lincoln High Wolverines football squad in action during the fall of 1981. Wolverines quarterback John Price is shown carrying the ball. This offensively-challenged team started a promising 2-0, but lost the remainder of its contests to finish 2-8. (1981) Full Size
A typical classroom during the 1981-82 school year. (1982) Full Size
The view of the high school looking up 5th Street. (Nov 2009)
The front of old portion of the school. (Nov 2009)
Another view of the school that opened in 1926. (Nov 2009)