History Facts About Niles Schools

The first school in Niles was opened in 1834 on South Main Street, south of the Mahoning River. The first teacher was Herman Harmon, a descendant of the first settler, Ruben Harmon. A second school was later built on the corner of Leslie Ave. and Linden Ave. Both were one room school houses. In 1870, Central School was built. It housed a twelve year twelve grade school system, started out with 6 teachers, and was considered the high school until McKinley High School (now Edison Jr. High School) was built in 1914. Frank Robbins was the first student to graduate from Central High School in 1875. He was the only one in his class. In 1888, there were 1,370 pupils attending Niles Schools (not all were from Niles. Some students were from neighboring towns, and paid tuition to attend Niles, due to their more advanced educational opportunities compared with other area towns and villages.

Washington Jr. High School (now Washington Elementary)was built in 1924.

By 1976, Niles had 8 elementary schools, a new Niles McKinley High School, 2 Junior High Schools, 4,293 students, and 201 staff members.

Niles has two Parochial Schools - St. Stephen School, established in 1893, and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School, in 1949.

The first school board for the Niles area consisted of William McKinley, Sr., Jacob Robinson, and Dr. Miller Blackley.

(Source: History of Niles, Ohio by The Niles Centennial History Club and McKinley High School, 1984, published by The Niles Daily Times.)