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Firelands History

Firelands History



The Firelands Local School District was officially formed in 1952 with the consolidation of the Brownhelm, Camden, Florence and Henrietta school districts. Florence originally had 2 buildings - one was struck by lightening in the 1920's and was repaired but came off-line shortly after. The second building was located in Birmingham and it was the building that was in operation the longest. While located in Birmingham, students also considered themselves graduates of Florence High School/Birmingham School. The organizational meeting of the new Firelands Local School District was held on January 7, 1952, at the Henrietta School. The total district enrollment was just under 1,000 students.

Formal action taken at that meeting included designating the Kipton Bank Co. as the local depository to the maximum amount of $40,000 and hiring E. J. May as Clerk of the district for one year at a salary of $1,200. Also approved was payment to the board members of $3 per meeting attended, not to exceed 12 meetings per year. The general fund budget for the district in 1952 was $161,938.65 and the starting salary for a teacher with a bachelor’s degree was $2,600.

On November 4, 1952, the residents of the newly formed district approved a 4.7257 mill bond issue to build a new fireproof high school. Bonds totaling $664,000 were issued in January 1953 and bids for the new building were approved on May 1, 1953. A formal dedication and open house of the new building was held on November 21, 1954. The first class to graduate from Firelands High School was the class of 1955, with 43 students. Early additions were made in 1961 and later in 1971 in order to give appropriate space for vocational business facilities and a new library.

A new middle school was completed in January, 1962, to house grades six, seven and eight. As the district continued to grow, additions were made to the middle school in 1971. This allowed grade five to be added to the middle school. At this time the total student enrollment had grown to over 1,950.

In May of 1969, Firelands joined with four other area districts (Oberlin, Wellington, Keystone and Amherst) to form the Lorain County Joint Vocational School. The first year of its operation was 1971-72; we sent 36 students that first year.

Throughout the 70’s and 80’s, the student enrollment declined along with the conditions of the old elementary buildings, which had not seen any major renovation since the early 1930’s. By 1985 it was decided that the district needed to replace the three old elementary buildings and a 6.5 mill bond issue was placed on the November 5th ballot in hopes of building a new elementary. The issue failed along with two additional attempts in 1986.

The late 1980’s found many school districts in financial straits, including the neighboring district of South Amherst. After many failed levy attempts, the South Amherst Board of Education began discussing the possibility of merging with one of their neighboring districts. On December 14, 1987, the Firelands Board of Education approved a resolution of intent to accept the transfer of territory of the South Amherst Local School district into the Firelands Local School District.

A joint meeting of the two boards of education was held on January 13, 1988, at the Lorain County Joint Vocational School to discuss the proposed merger. A petition opposing the merger was circulated in the South Amherst district and the issue was placed on the ballot in March 1988. The ballot issue opposing the merger failed and the merger took place July 1, 1988. The South Amherst District became the 5th district to become a part of The Firelands Local Schools- adding approximately five additional square miles to the total geographic area.

A major reorganization then took place in the summer of 1988 allowing the district to close its three old elementary buildings; Brownhelm, Camden and Florence. Those buildings were then sold to their respective townships. Students in K-5 were brought to the Firelands Elementary building (the former Firelands Middle School) and the former South Amherst High School housed all Firelands students in grades 6-8 in the newly named South Amherst Middle School (SAMS).

The 1988-89 school year began with 1,933 newly merged students under Superintendent Mr. Darrell Phillips. The student body embraced the combining of districts and once the year started, the year was smooth.

In December 1997, the board purchased 105 acres of land that lies to the north and east of the current high school and elementary. The land was purchased with the hopes of one day having a single campus for the district.

As the district enrollment was on the rise again in the 90’s, additions were built on the high school and elementary buildings. The community began exploring new facility development.

For many years, community members worked with FLSD staff members to create a plan to build a new building that would be supported by residents. In 2018 the main part of South Amherst Middle School was over 100 years old and was not meeting the educational and safety needs of our students. After 3 failed attempts, our community passed a 4.28 mil bond issue to build a new high school on district owned property (just north of the FHS building). The existing high school will be repurposed as the middle school and SAMS will be closed. This community supported plan, with a state funding share of 19%, will finally bring all of our students onto one campus.

The start of the 2022-2023 school year will finally see all of our students on one campus. Students in grades 9, 10, 11 and 12 will be able to utilize the new Firelands High School starting on September 6, 2022. Firelands Middle School students will utilize the previous high school, with shared cafeteria and main office spaces.

Firelands Local School District is geographically one of the largest school districts in the state of Ohio, covering approximately 94 square miles. 

Interesting Facts:


The FLSD consists of multiple townships, cities and/or villages: Amherst Township, Brownhelm Township, Camden Townships, Florence Township, Henrietta Township, New Russia Township, and the villages of Kipton and South Amherst. Small area of the cities of Amherst, Lorain and Vermilion are also included. The district is housed in two counties: Lorain and Erie Counties.

Historic School Mascots:

Birmingham School (Florence):  Rockets

Brownhelm School:  Brownies

Camden School:  Cardinals

Henrietta School:  Panthers

South Amherst School: Cavaliers

Present Day Mascot

Firelands Local School District: The Firelands Falcons


From the 1956 Firelands Torch Yearbook: The Falcon was chosen during the 1955-1956 school year by the FHS Student Council for "the nickname Falcons for (the) athletic teams of Firelands". 

School Colors: Red and White

Firelands Fight Song:

O come on Firelands "fite" for Victory

O come on Falcons you're the team for me

Fight for victory, "fite" for Fame and glory

"Fite" for Falcons Red and White.

We're with you now and every game you play, boys

Whether it's home or far away

So come on Red and White

Show us your Firelands "fite"

O come on Firelands Falcons - "Fite"!


Firelands Alma Mater:

For Firelands, our Alma Mater

The Falcon will fly high;

Our Faith in you will stand strong,

Will guide us on our way,

For Firelands High School Honor 

We always will be true;

Allegiance we will pledge thee

For all our lifetime through 


History of the Firelands Band:


Please click here to read about the history of the Firelands Band. Pictures of past bands, their directors and membership are included! 

South Amherst Building
The South Amherst building was used for students in grades 6-8 from 1988 - 2022. 
Below you will find drone footage of the former South Amherst Middle School, Firelands Local School District: