following text in italics is from the book Truaxton Truago Trenton,
Bicentennial Book Committee, 1979)
In the 1830's, a
small crude schoolhouse was built of logs on the banks of the Detroit River.
This little log building was about twenty by twenty-four feet, had seats along
the wall in the form of benches and in the center of the room stood a large
stove near which the master had his desk and all the pupils faced him. This
building was used for many years but the time came when more room was needed.
A temporary log
structure was built at the corner of Washington (Jefferson Avenue) and Elm
Street and was painted bright yellow. This was soon replaced by a frame
schoolhouse near the other building and was called the North School.
In the early 1870's,
another school, the South School, a two story building was built at the south
end of town below Washington Street (Jefferson Avenue) between the old cemetery
and Slocum's Island. School board minutes of September, 1876 moved to have a
graded school system and upper classes through eight grade were held here in
At the turn of the century,
the school population was increasing so rapidly that a school was built at the
corner of St. Joseph and Third Street. Eleven years later three rooms were
added. In 1917 the bond issue for a new school was defeated. From that year
until 1923 it was necessary to construct portables for the continually
increasing school population. In 1923, Slocum-Truax High School was built.
Since the old high
school was being used for the elementary grades and was filled to capacity,
provisions were made for a new grade building. The entire block bounded by
Third and Fourth Streets, St. Joseph Avenue and Pine Street (West Road) was
purchased and on the corner of Pine and Third, the first unit of the Washington
Grade School was completed in December, 1929. The school site cost $65,482 and
the eight room building was said to have cost $65,136. Further additions were
made to the "New Elementary School", as it was also called at a cost
of $146,000. About half of this money was a Federal contribution as a Public
Works Act project and the other money was furnished by the people of Trenton.
The school was formally dedicated on January 20, 1937 and the name was changed
to the G. E. Strohm School at that time. Total school enrollment in 1937 was
1,101 and the student capacity of Strohm was 350.
The old St. Joseph
Street Building was used as a school in one way or another from 1900 to 1961.
From 1900 to 1924, when Slocum-Truax was opened, it was used for all twelve
grades. From 1924 to 1929, it was an elementary and junior high and from 1929
to 1959, it was used as a junior high school. In 1963, the old red building
that had cost $10,000 to build in 1900 was torn down and a new kindergarten
wing was added to the north end of Strohm School.
was built in 1923 at a cost of $165,000; opened in 1924 for students and the
swimming pool completed in 1929, the school system seemed adequate until the
beginning of the 1950's when Trenton's population took a tremendous jump. It is
difficult to determine the exact cause for this except that it was shortly
following the close of World War II and many people seemed to be interested in
moving to the suburbs, plus the fact that a new Chrysler plant was in the
process of opening in Trenton with opportunities for employment for many. At
any rate this huge increase in students necessitated the construction of new
The first new school
building that went up was what is now Trenton High School but in September,
1953 it had 550 pupils attending elementary classes on a temporary basis until
completion of Hedke, Anderson, Foley and Owen Elementary Schools which all were
finished in the late 1950's.
In 1959, Slocum-Truax
became a junior high school for seventh and eighth graders and the school on
West Rd. was opened to high school students. It was during this time that a
fine athletic facility was completed and the athletic field was named in honor
of Walter "Red" Farrer, who was a member of the Trenton School system
from 1926 to 1966 and was a teacher, assistant principal of Trenton High,
principal of Slocum-Truax Junior High, athletic director and coach.
A new housing
development in the south end of Trenton required a new elementary school so
Taylor School was built and opened in 1968. About this same time, it was
decided to introduce a new concept in the Trenton Schools of the middle school
which includes sixth, seventh and eight graders. In view of the fact that
Slocum-Truax was not large enough to accommodate these three grades, Monguagon
School was opened in 1971.