Come Explore This Abandoned School

Saint John High School was opened initially as an elementary school 139 years ago in the year 1877, by the oldest parish in Ashtabula County – Saint Joseph Parish, which was also originally opened as an elementary school in 1865; however, the school’s opening was years before it would become Saint John. The building was formerly known simply as the Station Avenue school, holding class for elementary students from 1890-1952. It’s unclear what name the school may have held from 1877 – 1890

NOTE: The 360 photos you will see below were all captured with the Theta, which is an amazing and well-priced, easy to use little piece of equipment.

You can check them out here:
Theta SC
Theta V

Other photos in this article were captured with the Sony a7s
I don’t use an a7s anymore, though they are amazing! I currently use the a7riii. For a full list of the photography gear that I use, check out the very bottom of this post!

Warped floors inside the gym

The above is a 360 view of the gym. Drag to look around! Give it just a second to load to full quality.

While Saint John may now sit abandoned and quiet, many still know it well as the original school – including Ohio State Coach Urban Meyer, who grew up in Ashtabula. Floors collect dust, while loose windows rattle in the blowing winds – but Saint John has a deeper history, buried beneath the clutter that so many seem to glance past. This building lived one incredible life, and the stories it may be able to tell could be equally so. While the building can’t speak for itself, all we can do is look into what once was, and do all we can to preserve its history.

Ashtabula’s population grew rapidly through the years leading up to 1890, when it was eventually decided that more space was necessary. The Mother of Sorrows Parish was established, and with it, the opening of Mother of Sorrows School, founded by principal Miss Mary Cox. Beginning in 1892, and furthering into later years, the school’s staff included members of the Sisters of the Benedictine order from Erie, Pennsylvania, the Sisters of Saint Joseph from West Baden, Pennsylvania, the Sisters of Charity of Saint Augustine, the Sisters of Notre Dame and the Holy Humility of Mary Sisters. During the school’s early life, the Sisters of Saint Joseph and Sisters of Charity from Cincinnatti took control of all programs, holding the role of teachers until 1897, when the Holy Humility of Mary Sisters – otherwise known as the “Blue Nuns” – took control of the school’s educational programs.

Come September 1953, the school would open its doors for the very first time as a Saint John High School – opened by Reverend Joseph Feicht. Sadly, it was not long before the building would be destroyed by a fire on November 5, 1953. The community came together, and with much determination and hard work, the school was rebuilt while classes continued within the St. Joseph School and the Pacific School annex. Less than a year later, in September of 1954, restoration would come to completion, and the doors would open once again, welcoming students – reuniting bright minds all within one building.

The school underwent a much needed expansion in 1963, as Ashtabula’s population steadily continued to grow. With such a quickly increasing student capacity, it was decided that an addition was necessary.

Twenty-nine years later, due to declining student enrollment tied with significant financial issues, the Youngstown Diocese had decided to close Saint John in 1992. Incredibly distraught, the neighbors who knew and loved this school as part of their hometown would fight day and night to re-open the building. Parents, teachers and community supporters all banded together in hopes of bringing life back into the beloved school within their close-knit community. Enough money was raised through supporters of their efforts, and the school debt was retired. The group would continue to push for purchase of the school directly from the diocese, until they finally agreed to sell the building and its contents to the Saint John supporters for $100. The school was once again brought to life under a board of directors, with its re-opening as an independent Catholic high school in September of 1992.

Saint John was closed for good in 1997, when a large reorganization took place to move students to a newer, larger location. The new location was a K-12 school, holding K-6 at the Mount Carmel Parish campus, and 7-12 at an alternate campus. To this day, the school continues to operate from their newer location.

Photos found on a roll of film from 1992:

Very often, I’m asked what gear I use for my photography, videography, etc. Questions ranging from what type of camera/cameras I use, what lenses I use, backpacks, memory cards, even what type of laptop I recommend, or what type of introductory camera I recommend…all that stuff, and more!

Well, of course I love to recommend camera gear or adventure gear that I trust and love, so at the end of each post I create here on my blog, I like to give a bit of a run-down on gear I use almost all the time!

So here it is! My entire (or most of it) list of photography/editing/adventure gear that I use.

My Camera (Sony a7riii)

Alternative Camera

Theta 360 Camera

Sandisk Memory Cards

Sony 16-35 4.0

Zeiss 55 1.8

Zeiss 85 1.8 Batis

Laowa 12mm 2.8 Zero-D

My Favorite Backpack

Tripod 1

Tripod 2

MSI Laptop (great for editing, & much more)

My e-books

Hardcover books and prints available


3 thoughts on “Come Explore This Abandoned School

  1. Who would ever dream you could find a roll of film from those days? Some loving and concerned person must have shared the history with you too–unless of course you were part of that school yourself at one time.

    Beautifully written and illustrated history…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.