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West Denison Elementary School

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Denison Elementary School
Denison Elementary School

Location: 3799 West 33rd St., Cleveland, Ohio


Pre-1841 - The first school at this location was a somewhat informal affair that was simply called The Academy.
1841 - Brooklyn Academy opened in 1841 under the direction of the Brooklyn Village School Board. It was nothing more than a two room building of wood construction; built on land deeded over to the School Board for the sum of $100 by early pioneer, Ebenezer Fish. At this point in history, the school was known as The Newburg Street School. All grades were taught, even high school level classes. For one year, Rev. A.W. Knowlton was in charge of Brooklyn Academy.[1]

JAS. J. FARAN, Speaker of the House of Representatives.
WILLIAM HAWKINS, Speaker of the Senate.
March 13, 1839.
To incorporate the Brooklyn Centre Academy.

Sec. 1 . Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Ohio, That Joseph Weller, William Richard, L. S. Pelton, Richard Vaughn, Russell Pelton, A. L. Palmer, Diodate Clark, Peter Elbridge, Moses Merrill, John Boyden, Henry S. Hanchett, Samuel Storer, Benjamin Sawtell, Alexander Ingram, Samuel W. Turner and Henry Chapman, together with such other persons as may be hereafter associated with them, for the purpose of establishing an academy at Brooklyn Centre in the county of Cuyahoga, be and they are hereby created a body politic and corporate with succession for thirty years, by the name of the Brooklyn Centre academy, and by that name shall be competent to contract and be contracted with, to sue and be sued, to plead and be impleaded, answer and be answered unto, in all courts of law and equity; and to acquire, possess and enjoy, and to sell and convey, and dispose of property, both real and personal: Provided, That the annual income of such property shall not exceed three thousand dollars.

Sec. 2. That any three of the above named persons shall have power to call a meeting by giving ten days previous notice thereof by advertisement set up at three of the most public places in the town of Brooklyn, or by publication in either of the public newspapers of that town or county.

Sec. 3. That any future legislature may modify or repeal this act: Provided, That any property, real or personal, acquired or conveyed under its provisions, shall not be thereby aifected or diverted to any other purposes than that originally designated.

--ACTS OF A GENERAL NATURE, Passed by the thirty-seventh General Assembly of Ohio at its first session. Held in the city of Columbus, and commencing December 8, 1838, in the thirty-seventh year of said state. VOL XXXVII, Columbus.

1860 - With more and more people moving into Brooklyn-Centre, it became necessary to enlarge the school. An eight room brick schoolhouse replaced the previous frame building.
1877 - A second brick schoolhouse of the same number of rooms was built on the same site.
1893 - When Brooklyn Village was annexed to the City of Cleveland in 1894, an additional building was erected and now bore the name "Denison Elementary School" and was a part of the Cleveland Public School System. At that point, the building contained 16 rooms, thus doubling in size.
1905 - First meeting of the Denison School League, an organization of patrons of Denison School.[2]
1906 - The installation of streetcar tracks on Denison Avenue was considered a hazard for the children exiting the building at the end of the schoolday. As a remedy, a strip of land was purchased at a cost of $500 which allowed for passage from the rear of the school out towards Garden Ave.[3] At around this same time a fire escape was installed on the school.
1910 - Woodworking and cooking classes added for 7th and 8th grade students.[4]


Brooklyn Academy was fee based. Parents were required to pay tuition so their children could receive an education.

Denison was a temporary home for the Brooklyn Branch Library just prior to the building of the new school.


Kindergarten thru 8th grade


Mary L. Peterson - First principal
Katherine Lang - about 1920

Notable alumni:

  • Earl F. Hauseman, born 1884, president and treasurer of E.F. Hauseman Co.[5]
  • Attorney Robert Jay Selzer, graduated 1902.
  • Attorney William H. Thomas, born 1887, graduated 1902.
  • Attorney Clayton C. Townes, born 1887, graduated (probably) 1902.
  • Wilfred Singleton, born 1872, president of Star Baking Company.
  • Dr. Paul Hasse, born 1884, physician and surgeon.
  • Frederick William Pelton, born 1827, graduated from Brooklyn Academy about 1846, president of Citizens Savings and Loan. Mayor of Cleveland in 1871.



  1. History of Strongsville, Cuyahoga County, Ohio; with illustrations By Lucy Gallup Stone, Tamzen E. Haynes; 1901; pg.75-76
  2. The Ohio educational monthly; By Ohio State Teachers Association, Ohio Education Association, 1905, pg. 274
  3. Cleveland Public Schools - Seventieth Annual Report of the Board of Education; ... By Cleveland (Ohio) Board of Education; 1906, pg.63
  4. Manual training magazine; edited by Charles Alpheus Bennett, William Thomas Bawden; 1910, pg. 394
  5. 'A history of Cleveland and its environs; By Elroy McKendree Avery, Lewis Publishing Company, pg. 308
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