Dale Bridenbaugh and Andy Verhoff, a representative of Ohio Historical Connection, take a moment to chat about the Bridenbaugh schoolhouse and the area following Saturday's unveiling of historical marker at the site - Putnam Sentinel
Dale Bridenbaugh and Andy Verhoff, a representative of Ohio Historical Connection, take a moment to chat about the Bridenbaugh schoolhouse and the area following Saturday's unveiling of historical marker at the site. (Putnam Sentinel/Anne Coburn-Griffis)

PANDORA — Dale Bridenbaugh rang a school bell to start a special program last Friday at the Bridenbaugh School House.

“School is about to begin,” Mr. Bridenbaugh joked as he opened the ceremony to mark the unveiling of a historical marker plaque from the Ohio Historical Connection. Mr. Bridenbaugh and Andy Verhoff, with Ohio Historical Connection, were the main speakers. The school house is located at the corner of Road 6 and M6.

Recounting the history of the school, Mr. Bridenbaugh said Michael Bridenbaugh, one of the first settlers in this area, donated the land for a one room schoolhouse. The first schoolhouse at this location was a wooden building that served the area for 11 years. In 1889 the current building was built and served the local children for nearly 30 years. It closed its doors in 1927.

Dale Bridenbaugh owns the school building and has done the restoration of the building including adding desks, schoolbooks, chalk board and other items inside the building to show what one-room schools were like.

When the school was reopened to the public in 1997 a special gathering including a former teacher, Mildred George, and students at the school, was held.

A few years later fire damaged the school building. It was again damaged in 2012 when a derecho struck the county, bearing with it straight line winds in excess of 80 miles per hour. Each time Mr. Bridenbaugh had the building restored.

Mr. Bridenbaugh sent in the application for the maker in 2018. Mr. Verhoff said it takes several months to research and go through the process before an application for a marker is approved.

“We need to verify everything and make sure it is correct,” he said. “You can’t use whiteout on a sign like this.”

Mr. Verhoff said these markers are important because they help people from all over recognize different historical sites and be able to read and learn about the history of the state.

This is the sixth historical marker that has been placed in Putnam County by the Ohio Historical Connection (formerly Ohio Historical Society).

The Bridenbaugh School House was placed on the National Registry in 2005.