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The History of our Public Schools
Wyandotte County, Kansas

1844
2012

 

 

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Longfellow SchoolLongfellow School

Location: 6th & Waverly (1912 City Directory:  2315 N. 6th)

When attempting to locate this area in 2003, it is important to note that after 1950, Waverly and Haskell Streets changed names - Haskell became Waverly and Waverly became Haskell.  Today Waverly is south of Haskell, as opposed to being north in 1904.   In 1904, Rowland and Waverly were one block apart.)

Built:  1888-1890

Other Names: Long (name changed 1903), Dunbar South in 1954  (Note: 

Closed:  1972

Architectural Analysis - Public School Buildings (New/Additions) by Rose and Peterson - 1890-1927

Architectural Blue Prints and/or Plot Plan of School Building

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The following history was presented to each person attending the Open House at Longfellow in 1938 (celebrating their 50th anniversary). We believe this history was written by Frank Gebhart. It was given to us by Olive Linville, whose husband (James Elmer Linville) graduated in the class of January 1913.

In 1887 this part of town, known as Edgerton Place, was developed by a Real Estate Co. The old railway structure known as the "L" road, having been completed in the fall of 1886, was extended to this new addition by the way of North Sixth Street, through a tunnel under Minnesota Avenue, north to what is now Washington Boulevard where it turned east to Fifth Street, then north to Edgerton Place which grew very rapidly because of this new transportation facility.

Immediately there was need of a school and the only place available was a station house owned by the railway company located at Fifth and Lafayette. The Board of Education rented this building in the summer of 1886 and Long School was established with one teacher by the name of Miss Clark and an enrollment of between 25 and 30 pupils.

By the next year the need of a new school was even greater but the city had no money with which to build or even buy a site. The citizens of Edgerton Place immediately held a mass meeting and appointed a committee to see what could be done. The result was that the committee reported to the Board of Education that the land company developing the addition, proposed to give the city a site for a school building. The committee also consulted legal authorities and found that the Board of Education could give its notes to the teachers for salary. So, in 1888 the north wing of the present building, consisting of four rooms, was built and it was not until the next meeting of the legislature that the teachers' notes were legalized for payment. (Note: notes for salary, or Warrant: a short-term obligation of a governmental body (as a municipality) issued in anticipation of revenue, Merriam-Webster online)

There has been much criticism about the location of Longfellow School being in a hollow but the Board of Education was not responsible as the site was donated.

The first principal was Mr. Allen who filled that capacity two years. About 1890 it became necessary to add four more rooms, which is the center section of this building. C H Nowlin then became principal serving from 1890 to 1894.

About 1894 the south wing of the building was added making a total of thirteen rooms. At this time Mr. M E Pearson became principal and served eight years. During his time the enrollment was approximately 500 and was the largest school in town.

In 1902 Mr. Pearson became Superintendent of Schools and was succeeded as principal of Long School by Mr. H. W. McKean.

The late Miss Sadie Parsons, spent the longest time of services as teacher, coming to Long School in 1904 and teaching until 1932 at which time she retired.

The records show that the name of the school as changed in 1904 from Long to Longfellow.

In May 1908, through the efforts of Mrs. E W Poindexer, the first Parent Teacher Association in the state of Kansas was organized at Longfellow School with Mrs. George VanCleve as the first president.

Miss Orpha Martin became principal in 1907, and in 1909 was followed by Miss Martha Colton who served until 1912. The class of January 1913 was the last class to graduate in mid year. Miss Kate Cowick became principal in 1912 and was followed by Miss Grace Roberts in 1915 who is the principal at the present time.

The enrollment has been as high as 700 at which time it became necessary to hold half day sessions in the lower grades to accommodate more classes. At the present time, the enrollment is approximately 200 with a teaching staff of six.

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SUMMARY

prior to 1903 - See information on Long School

1903 - On September 3, 1903, the name of Long School was changed to Longfellow in honor of poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

1907 - New heating plans and sanitary facilities.

1908 - May 13. First PTA in Kansas City, Kansas (and possibly in state). Organized at Mt. Pleasant Church on North Fifth. Named "Mothers Club of Longfellow School." Mrs. George VanCleave, first president. Organized through efforts of Mrs. E. W. Poindexter.

Lots purchased near school.

1938 - December 10. 50th anniversary held at school. History of school compiled by Frank P. Gebhart, and presented to guests at reunion. C W Nowlin, early principal, was speaker.

1939 - School closed. Enrollment dropped.

1954 - Became annex for Dunbar. Remodeled and redecorated. After becoming an annex for Dunbar, the Longfellow School was known as Dunbar South; and the Dunbar School became known as Dunbar North.

1972 - Dunbar South (formerly Longfellow) closed and the building was razed.  Land offered for sale, but unsold as of August 2, 1994.  Pupils sent to Fairfax and Banneker.  Schools in KCKs in Years of Change 1962-1986, Dr. Oren L. Plucker, 1986

1994 - August 16: Dunbar South property sold to Evangelistic Center Church of God in Christ.

PRINCIPALS

1894-1904 - M E Pearson / 1902-07 - H W McKean / 1907-08 - Orpha Martin (Hayes), head teacher / 1908-09 - Orpha Martin - Martha Colton / 1909-12 - Martha Colton (Heaton) / 1912-15 - Kate Cowick / 1915-39 - Grace Roberts

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Longfellow - Dunbar South17th Annual Report of the Board of Education of the City of Kansas City, Kansas for the Year 1902 and 1903:  p. 105, Eight grades and above the fourth in the Eugene Field district, north of Troup Avenue, thirteen room brick, Sixth Street, between Quindaro Boulevard and Haskell Avenue.  Boundary - Beginning at the junction of the Missouri Pacific Railroad and Waverly Avenue, thence west to Walnut Street, thence south to Lafayette Avenue, thence west to Fifth Street, thence south to Virginia Avenue, thence west to Eighth Street, thence north to City Limits, thence east to Missouri Pacific tracks, thence southwest along the Missouri Pacific tracks to point of beginning,  H. W. McKean, Principal

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"It was on the northeast corner of Sixth Street and Rowland Avenue where Dunbar North was constructed.  [Annotation:  Originally called simply Dunbar School.  It did not become Dunbar North until the annex, Dunbar South, was added.]  This area which was located in the northeast part of kansas City, Kansas was also known as "Rattle Bone Hollow."  There are many interesting stories that relate how the name of "Rattle Bone Hollow" came about, but none of these stories are of historical value, therefore, the stories will not be mentioned at this time.  The first section of Dunbar was completed in 1905.  It was a four room structure, and at time there were four teachers.  They grades ran one through eight.  The first principal was Laura Harland and the four faculty members were Lizzie Davis, Mayme Brown, Evelyn Wake and Ethel Barksdale.  From 1906 to 1913, Mr. Harvey Thompkins took the helm as principal of Dunbar.  From 1913 to 1930, Ella V. Robinson was the principal.  Melonee Anderson followed Ella V. Robinson as principal of Dunbar Elementary School.  Later, Sirpora Miller became principal of Dunbar Elementary School.

In 1920, six rooms and two lavatories were added to the main building.  In 1930, a large retaining wall was built around the east and south sides of the playground.  Today the retaining wall still stands.  By 1938, the Board of Education finally found the need for covering the entire playground with asphalt.  The old gravel playground was no longer responsible for wearing out shoes and scarring little knees.  A kindergarten building was added in the early 1920's.

Some of the most distinguished teachers at Dunbar North were Evalena Hunt,  Pauline Turner, Delthea New, Bertha Flowers, Bernice Wilson, Helen Barksdale, Margaret Wright, Lucille Raymond, Charlotte Hayden, Lillian Groomer, Nadine Stppe, Adabooth Penn and Myrtle Phelps.  These famous teachers were probably remembered by most students who attended Dunbar School from 1925 through 1935.

Prior to 1939, the history of Dunbar South School was very interesting.  The original building was known as the Long School.  It was in 1886 when the northeast part of Kansas City, Kansas was known as Edgerton Place.  There was a railway known as the "L" that traveled north on Fifth Street to the area that was known as Edgerton Place.  There was great need for a school in that section that once was used by the operators of the "L".  This old station was named by the Board of Education as the Long School.  Records, indicate that the name of Long School was changed from Long School to Longfellow School.  Longfellow School was for White students only until the year of 1939.  It was then that the Longfellow School was closed.

In the fall of 1939, however, the old Longfellow School was reopened to ease the overcrowded condition at Dunbar North.  This time the school was given the name of Dunbar South.  Records still show that the Longfellow (Dunbar South) School was located at Sixth Street and Waverly Avenue.  Actually, the school ground of Dunbar South began at the corner of Sixth and Greeley Avenue.  The school stood where Waverly Avenue would have been had it not been closed off at Fifth Street.  The lot still stands today where the school was located.  Dunbar South building was used by government agencies, while the upper floor of the building was used for school children.  The Dunbar South building was permanently closed and razed in 1974."

A History of Black Education in Kansas City, Kansas, Readin', 'Riting, 'Rithmetic by William W. Boone, March 1986 (Copy located in the KCKs Public Library, 625 Minnesota Ave, KCKs, 913-551-3280).  The school district is sincerely grateful to Mr. William W. Boone, Ms. Josephine C. Vandiver, and Mr. Jackson C. Van Trece for their research and preparation of this material.   (Check the Biographies Index on the site map to view bios on these three people.)

This represents an excerpt from the manuscript/book as it was presented, including terminology used at the time of the writing.  All attempts have been made to reproduce the spelling, capitalization and layout of the original manuscript/book as much as possible.

Disclaimer:  The written historical perspectives online at this web site, and web sites to which links are provided, reflect the view of the author(s)/(creator(s) which are protected under the rights of free speech; and do "not" necessarily reflect the views of the Kansas City, Kansas Board of Education.

Copyright Notice: In keeping with the policy of providing free information on the Internet, this data may be used by non-commercial entities for research/information. These electronic pages cannot be reproduced in any format for profit or other gain. Printing for personal research use is encouraged, as long as this "copyright notice" is kept with the copy. Other use, including publication, storage in a retrieval system, or transmission by electronic, mechanical, or other means requires the written approval of the author(s) of this works.

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History Site created on December 02, 2002
Page last updated: 23-Apr-2014

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