Conventional wisdom says when a small town loses its school, the town is on the road to oblivion, destined to become a wide spot on the highway with some vacant storefronts and a defunct gas station.
Ridgeville Corners has proven conventional wisdom wrong.
Ridgeville remains a vibrant community, with a solid foundation based on agriculture and manufacturing. There are still downtown businesses; some new, some with roots back decades. There are houses of worship, some with long histories.
You can get a meal in Ridgeville, buy gas, and even see live theatre. There is a strong sense of community, evidenced by a community park.
The Ridgeville school building was closed in 1970, part of a push toward school district consolidation. Some of the district went to Napoleon; some to Archbold. Archbold schools continued to operate the school building in Ridgeville as the Archbold Middle School.
For many years after, relations between Ridgeville and Archbold were rocky. Two attempts to pass a bond issue to build a new high school in Archbold were defeated. Archbold precincts passed the issues, but “no” votes in the Ridgeville precincts stopped them.
Only when the site of the proposed high school was moved from East Lutz Road to Lafayette Street in the 1980s did the bond issue finally pass.
Today the rift has mostly healed, as evidenced by the second Ridgeville Falcons Night, Saturday, Feb. 2.
When AHS boys basketball players take the floor as the Ridgeville Falcons, it is a recognition, commemoration, and celebration of a proud tradition that was long overdue.
Remember the Falcons.