Recollection: Steffens’ 50 Years of Education

Simon Stephens later recalled that Lima in the years following the Civil War looked like a place where he didn’t want to die and be caught.

“When I first came to this town, it didn’t impress me very well. I used to go through the railroad, but from the train’s point of view, there aren’t many attractive cities to live in, and instead of living, it’s buried. I thought it was a city I didn’t want to be, “he wrote in November 1923. Recollection.

“Since then, I have changed my opinion about it,” Steffens added. I don’t hate being buried here. Because I want to be buried here rather than in a place where I have no acquaintances at all. I don’t know if I can take my acquaintance anywhere, but I’m buried in my old friends. “

Stephens lived in Lima for more than half a century, except for interludes for a short time. The city he first glimpsed through the railcar windows grew from less than 5,000 to more than 41,000. During that time, he was a high school principal and language teacher, working enough time to guide the grandchildren of former students through the education system.

Stephens was born in Germany on March 10, 1847, and his parents emigrated to the United States when he was young and settled in Wisconsin.

“He had an early education in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, and later attended Heidelberg University in Tiffin,” Lima News wrote in June 1925. “After graduating in 1874, he came to Lima to become a public school teacher. He was a high school principal for many years.”

In August 1873, he married a former Emabostitch in Fort Wayne. The couple were parents of four daughters, Edna, Charlotte, Helen, and Florence.

In 1885, Stephens was elected principal of a high school in Lima.

“For 20 years, less than a year after teaching in his hometown of Wisconsin, he steered Lima’s high school students through the waters of difficult learning to a smooth graduation harbor.” In June 1905, when the new Central High School opened, he wrote, “And all the while, I haven’t heard any criticisms or criticisms of his method.”

The news added that in 1905, 20 years after starting with “less than 100 students” in high school, he guided 150 boys and 198 girls to a “smooth port of graduation.”

“With a quiet and unobtrusive personality, but with stubborn patience and unwavering energy, he is the man of the place, and that fact is strongly evidenced by the high position that Lima High School occupied.” The news added.

On September 24, 1898, a storm called “Cyclone” in the Allen County Republican Bulletin blew most of the bell tower and the third floor of the East School Building, leaving the principal of Stephens High School without high school. school.

“The room on the second floor of the tower where Professor Stephens lived was full of debris and everything was destroyed,” the Republican Bulletin wrote. Fortunately, the storm struck on Saturday.

Lima High School students moved to the more permanent district of Holland Block on Main Street and High Street next fall after finishing a year at Lima College on the northwest corner of North Jameson Avenue and Rice Avenue. ..

Stephens’ patience and energy made him a popular principal. In May 1911, the news announced that the graduation ceremony would take place one day earlier than usual. High school veteran principal Stephens may set sail from New York to Europe … “This trip was a Christmas gift from a graduate of Lima High School.

According to the news, on June 10, 1911, “The largest crowd ever gathered to support Bonn’s voyage to Lima’s individuals is now at (Pennsylvania) station when the train stopped this afternoon. There were 13 cars full of happy high school students and teachers, but others walked to say goodbye to the high school principal. “By October of that year, Stephens Returning to Lima, he was speaking on his trip.

Four years later, he said goodbye again, this time returning to the position he held for 30 years.

“The biggest surprise included in some of the recent resignations (of the school board) was that of Professor Simon H. Stephens, principal of Lima High School,” the news reported on June 23, 1915. bottom. Professor Stephens, read last night, said he wanted to abandon his position as principal but was pleased to serve the board in a different position. He remained as the head of the foreign language department. “

72-year-old Steffens was still working in 1920.

“He is now teaching children, and in some cases even the grandchildren of his first and earlier students,” the news wrote on January 18, 1920. , Trained in her high school under his jurisdiction. “

According to the news, from his home on 1137 Rice Avenue, Stephens watched a Central High football match across the street on the field at the University of Lima.

According to the news, “He built a special dorm gable at the top of the house, sat in an armchair through the front window, and enthusiastically watched all the battles the team had since the introduction of athletics into the school. I will. “

By 1921, Stephens had stopped teaching at Lima’s school, but did not stop teaching. In August 1921, News announced that Stephens, a “skilled teacher of foreign languages,” had opened a foreign language school on West High Street.

Stephens died on June 3, 1925, at his home on Rice Avenue. According to the news, in addition to his work at Lima’s school, Stephens is a trustee at the College of Wooster and earned an advanced degree in philosophy in 1885. “He was an honorable member and authority of the Lima Philosophy Club,” said one of the founders of the Citizens Building and Loan Building Company, “he was an auditor for many years.”

On June 7, 1925, the news wrote: “Hundreds of ex-students and relatives of renowned educator Professor Simon Stephens visited the Market Street Presbyterian Church on Saturday and are loyal instructors at Lima’s school for the past 50 years.”

Stephens was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery among his old friends.

Simon Stephens can be seen in this portrait in his later years. He was an educator and principal in Lima for 50 years.

Simon Steffens, shown here in 1886, was well known for his foreign language proficiency.

In 1878, an East School teacher takes a picture with the principal, Simon Steffens.

Contact Greg Hoersten at

Recollection: Steffens’ 50 Years of Education

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