Dottie McGrew

NORTH CANTON: Within the next few days, little, if anything, will remain of the former North Canton High School on Charlotte Street.

Demolition began last week with interior work; walls are coming down this week.

Hoover Sideliners, the high school booster club, plans to collect the bricks and sell them to raise funds for athletic, arts and academic programs in the district. The demolition site is too dangerous to allow the public to gather bricks, district Business Manager Todd Henne said.

The school district has retained the keystone that hung over the main entrance as well as the cornerstone, dated 1929. Engraving in the keystone reads: “North Canton High School.” Both will be preserved at a site to be determined.

North Canton High School, known to its many alums as NoCaHi, was dedicated in 1929.

In 1957, when the first Hoover High School opened on Fair Oak Avenue, the older building became a junior high, then a middle school. Later, youngsters in North Canton YMCA Day Care filled some rooms. The district’s special education offices and the North Canton Heritage Society occupied others.

In January 1997, the district brought grades 9-12 to a revamped Hoover High School on Seventh Street, sending the middle-schoolers to the 1957 building and leaving NoCaHi with only memories.

When the doors to NoCaHi opened at the tail end of the Roaring ’20s, the growing community needed a new high school. Charlotte Street was an unimproved dead-end lane.

The existing Central High School was an annex to a school built in 1920. Bust followed boom, however, and the 1930s brought the Great Depression. The belt-tightening did not stop NoCaHi from building a basketball team that won the 1939 Ohio championship, still North Canton’s only state title in that sport.

When World War II erupted in the 1940s, it was not unusual for young NoCaHi graduates to go from graduation on Friday to the recruiting office on Monday, recalls Nan DeMuesy, a graduate and life-resident of North Canton.

NoCaHi sat on 4 undeveloped acres in the center of the city. For the immediate future, the school district will maintain the open space for use by eighth-grade football and YMCA youth sports.

The tract is a key piece in the master plan to revitalize the city.

“The school district is willing to listen to ideas that are in the best interest of the city, the residents and, ultimately, the school district,” Henne said.