"The first settlers in Hartwell were included in the Lockland School District," so says the editor of an early Hartwell newspaper called "The Olio" (1888). The editor continues: "In 1870 when the town had grown to about one dozen families measures were taken to secure better school facilities."
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The first school in Hartwell was built on a shady lot on North Crescent Avenue, now known as Kearney. The Hamilton County House Building Association donated the lot. The Springfield Township School Board gave half of the money necessary to build the new school; the citizens of Hartwell gave the other half. Mrs. Curran was the first teacher; she started with 25 pupils in a two-room facility. Two more teachers were hired in 1876, and in 1879, a third room was added to the building. Enrollment eventually increased to 114. In 1882, Professor J. Harry Lowe was the Principal. Yet another building was erected and occupied that same year. The Hartwell Village School District was organized in 1885. The teaching staff was now five in number, and Professor Trisler was the Principal. Pupils were graded by the same scale as those who were enrolled in Cincinnati schools.
In just three short years, the number of students increased from 120 to 300, so that a new, three-storied brick school was built on the corner of what is now Hartwell and Woodbine Avenues in the Spring of 1888. It boasted eight large school rooms, a hall that could seat 500, a double room basement for play rooms in bad weather, and a tower. The exterior was made of Zanesville brick and trimmed with white stone.
By the 1920's, it was considered outdated. The school at Woodbine and Hartwell was bought by a private owner and turned into apartments. In the summer of 1969, a tornado tore through the Valley, and the old school's tower collapsed inside the stairwell killing a young mother and her 2 sons.
The Hartwell School that stands today at Galbraith and Vine was built in 1925. It is considered to be an excellent example of the Georgian Colonial style. Until the late 1940s, it taught students in grades K-12. Now, grades K-8 attend there. Many of the graduates from the 1940s are still involved in the upkeep of the school and still have great school spirit. Their organization is known as the Hartwell Alumni Association.