History of Lakota Local Schools
Historically, the Lakota Local School District is an area of the John Symmes Purchase -- a land between the Great Miami and the Little Miami Rivers.
Geographically, it is located in the southeastern part of Butler County between two industrial giants, the rich Mill Creek Valley complex to the south and the Middletown area to the north. Vocationally, it is a cosmopolitan community of agricultural, professional, and industrial workers.
Years ago, the children of the present Lakota School District attended some fifteen elementary schools. In the Union area, the attendance centers were Eighteen Mile, Maude, Pisgah, Port Union, Rialto, Wakefield, West Chester, and White Section. In the Liberty area, they were Bethany, Hughes, Huntsville, Kyle, Oak Hill, Princeton, and Rockdale.
In 1915, all but two of the schools in the Union area were consolidated as the Union Township Schools. During the 1940's, Pisgah and Port Union joined the Union Township District at the educational center in West Chester. By 1928, all of the elementary schools were consolidated in the Liberty area as the Liberty Township School.
The word 'Lakota' is an Indian name meaning coming together, unity, or togetherness. The consolidations have brought together the many small neighborhoods and molded them into a strong, cohesive community.
Following the consolidation of the Liberty and Union districts in 1957, the district was known as the Liberty-Union School District. The name of the district was changed to Lakota Local School District in 1970. Covering 68 square miles, the district serves a large and diverse geographical community. Eight separate mailing or post office zones including West Chester, Hamilton, Middletown, Monroe, Sharonville, Fairfield, Springdale, and Cincinnati comprise the area.
What was school like in Lakota back in the late 1800's?
Hughes School, built in 1887, was the second school in Liberty Township. Grades 1 through 8 met in the school; while the teacher worked with one class, the other students were expected to be doing their own work or helping another class.
A teacher’s life was very different then. Mostly young and unmarried, teachers arrived early to shovel snow, start the fire, and prepare the building for the school day. Parents provided room and board for a month at a time, and were expected to clean up the building and grounds, maintain the property, and furnish wood and coal. The school board provided the teacher with a horse and buggy or saddle horse.
Each student had chores assigned—they had to gather firewood for the stove, pump and carry water, keep the fire burning, take out ashes, clean the blackboard, get kindling ready for the teacher for next morning, and sweep the floor.
After 1922 when Liberty Elementary opened, Hughes School was used for a time as the custodian’s residence and for storage. In 1975, restoration of the building began; the original school bell was found in the attic at Liberty Elementary and restored to its place at Hughes School. The building is now maintained as a historical site and to help Lakota students understand public education in the early 1900s. (Thanks to Pat Day for this information.)