Fort Hayes School

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A place of student learning and a spectral Military Base.

Spirits has been seen going about their business…

Entities amuse themselves by people watching and startling folks!



The Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center, which is made up of The Battelle Youth Science Program, The Career Center, and The Fort Hayes Arts and Academic High School, is housed in several 1864 to middle 20th century brick and stone buildings, which were built to last. These older buildings are now put to good use for the students attending The Fort Hayes Arts and Academic High School and the Career Center. Other buildings were built in the early 20th century, and newer buildings recently constructed sit on land long used by Fort Hayes over the years.

The Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center mission is to create expectations of excellence among students through challenging and collaborative learning, and by blending the arts, academics, and career programs.

The Fort Hayes Arts and Academic High School focuses on a rigorous college preparatory program and a rich immersion in the arts (music, dance, theatre, and visual art).

The Career Center offers students half-day vocational courses in: health/medical programs, business computer information systems, and the visual and performing arts for the marketplace.




What is now known as Fort Hayes Army Reserve Base, located on 77 acres, originally began in 1861, as a Civil War armory and arsenal post. There was a great need for a federal arsenal to store and repair Ordinance Corps arms and to equip Ohio regiments called to duty during the Civil War. This post which was called, The Columbus Arsenal, was built on a large field of oak stumps, planned by Captain J. W. Todd and built under the direction of Captain T. C. Bradford, known as “Father” of Fort Hayes. It wasn’t fully completed until 1865, though it was receiving, storing and issuing the elements of battle in large amounts. After the war, they received a lot of used guns and other military weapons, which were fixed or used for parts.

Post’s Principal facility: “Store House.” – 2 story building made of sandstone and brick, and timber floors (50,000 board feet of ash). The copper and cast iron cornices were made in Cincinnati.

Tower: Had wooden steps, a hoisting apparatus and an elevator to move supplies among the floors of the arsenal.

Shot Tower: Building 62: Molten iron and lead was rolled down a funnel into ice water, which created the perfect Civil War canon ball.

Officer Quarters

After the Civil War, The Fort Hayes Columbus Arsenal was beautified with trees and shrubs, and became more ordered and regulated. From 1875-1890, it’s use was expanded when it was transferred to the General Recruiting Service, as a training base for recruits. Four companies of Cadre were organized in 1881.

The Spanish American War inspired new buildings and more recruits in residence. The Store House or Arsenal or Main Building, was remodeled to house 500 new recruits. New buildings added to the post include: new barracks, officers’ houses, reception center, mess building, drill hall, new guardhouse and bandstand.

By 1900, the post gained 8 acres, and continued to grow in importance, becoming The Columbus Recruiting Depot of two infantry companies and six recruiting companies, and a band was stationed there as well. Electricity was installed in 1908, and more new buildings were built, reflecting the depot’s growth in population and importance. The old headquarters building was torn down in 1910. A hospital, PX, new officer’s quarters, non commissioned officers’ quarters, a bakery, a laundry, a warehouse and several more barracks were added to the Columbus Recruiting Depot.

The activity and volume of recruits passing through The Columbus Recruiting Depot began to jump after the Selective Military Conscription Act was signed into law in 1917, during WW1. The old barns and stables were transformed into garages and repair shops.

After WW2, The Columbus Recruiting Depot was renamed Fort Hayes in honor of Governor of Ohio, Rutherford B. Hayes in 1922, and it became the home of the Fifth Corps.

During WW 2, there were 2000 officers and men stationed here, until 1944. In 1946, The Ohio National guard began to use Fort Hayes though Fort Hayes continued to be a training and induction center through the Viet Nam War. The Army Reserve and the Guard of Engineers were located here as well. It was used by State and Federal Governments for both military and civilian uses.

In 1976, Fort Hayes sold fifty acres of its base land to the Columbus City Schools for a dollar. In 1988, three new educational programs opened their doors: a career center program, The Battelle Youth Science Program, and an arts and academic high school.

“The Fort Hayes Career Center component offers vocational courses in health/medical services, data processing, commercial art and photography.

“The Battelle Youth Science Program provided advanced laboratory and academic courses in math and science.”

“The Fort Hayes Arts and Academic High School, the newest component, focuses on excellence in performance – performance in a rigorous college preparatory program and a rich immersion in the art areas of music, dance, theater, and visual arts.”



While The Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center inherited and got to make good use of the well-built buildings used during Columbus Arsenal/Fort Hayes history, and newly constructed buildings as well, this seat of learning also inherited the resident ghosts and spirits who were alive during the time these buildings and this land were used by the army/military personnel for a variety of reasons, similar to other historical military forts, which we have written about on this website.

A soldier, Nicholas Hartzel, was killed by an exploding cannon, which was part of a huge cannon salute honoring Abraham Lincoln on the day of his funeral. It is rumored that Nicholas was in love with an officer’s daughter. It is suspected that this officer knew that the cannon was defective.

Like a lot of Military installations, entities of past soldiers still are enlisted members of the military, despite dying in accidents, suicide, disease, and from wounds received.

Many fatal accidents happened in The Shot Tower building.



The Shot Tower –

Many entities haunt this building. Students are scared to go to the top floor, because of what they may see there.

The Old Hospital Building – Used for classrooms

The living have heard the cries of the dying and badly injured.

Entities in nurse uniforms have been seen, going about their business.

Entities in soldier uniforms also make their appearance known.

The Science Building – The old Mess Hall

People have seen entities leaving the building with food, and fade away as they cross the grassy area in front of the Mess Hall.

Spirits With Things To Do

Many faculty members who have stayed after hours have said they witnessed Civil War entities still wandering around the old buildings and grounds nearby, perhaps going about their business they were unable to finish because of a sudden, unexpected, sometimes unpleasant end.

Spirits Playing & Exploring

During the school hours, in the new buildings, students participating in the various programs have witnessed lockers with a mind of their own; swinging open and slamming shut at will.

Footsteps in an empty hallway or staircase have unnerved some of the living.

Curious & Interested Spirits

Still others, sense an unseen presence keeping them company.

People have the feeling that someone is following or watching their activities.

People have reported hearing soft, indistinguishable whispering.


Yes indeed!

Entities of past military personnel keep an eye on the living, perhaps curious about the wonderful learning activities which take place here. They get their chuckles by slamming and opening lockers, watching the living in all their activities.



546 Jack Gibbs Blvd
Columbus, OH 43215

The Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center can be found on the southeast corner of the 77 acre Fort Hayes Army Reserve compound, which is on the section of land which is open to the public. It is on Gibbs Boulevard, near the intersection of Gibbs Blvd and Cleveland Avenue.



  • Investigations page at
  • “Haunted in Ohio” on Yahoo! Voices
  • “Backers see Metro High School as science hub” by Dan Eaton at – Columbus Business First

Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr

Haunts in Columbus Haunts in Ohio