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The First FREE High School in Kansas City, Kansas
Riverview School 1908
One of the 9 original schools when Wyandotte, Kansas City and Armourdale were separate cities; consolidated on March 6, 1886 within the Consolidation Act of 1886.
Beginning 20 feet East and 73 feet North of the Southwest Corner of Northeast 1/4 of Northwest 1/4 of Section 15, Township 11, Range 25, thence North 175 feet, thence East 130 feet, thence South 175 feet, thence West 130 feet to beginning. Containing 52/100 of an acre.
Also beginning 20 feet East of the Southwest corner of Northeast 1/4 of Northeast 1/4 of Section 15, Township 11, Range 25, thence North 73 feet, East 130 feet, South 73 feet to point of beginning.
Also Lots 1 - 2 - and 3 in Highland Park
Built: 1880; 8-room brick building with steam heat (Wyandotte County and KCKs Historical and Biographical, Goodspeed, 1890)
Building Closed: 1977
Building Sold: 1986 to City (In 2002 this site is part of the Pala Vista homes)
Riverview School was originally a two-room frame building set midst a grove of hickory trees on a hill just north of the City of Armstrong. Probably it was a country school. The original building is said to have been destroyed by fire. W. H. Rooney, and later Maggie White taught there.
The original part of the site consisted of .52 of an acre, and was purchased by the Board of Education of Wyandott City, Kansas from Pratt Roberts on May 31, 1882 for the sum of $1,200. About 1908, an additional fifty feet to the south was purchased from George Crow.
The building in 1882 was originally an eight-room building of red brick, and Mr. W. H. Rooney was its principal. It was used as an elementary school for a year and then included a high school for a year or two. John Wherrell was the principal. Riverview became a part of the Kansas City, Kansas school system when the several cities consolidated in 1886.
The playground to the south was a high clay hill on a level with the second story of the building. The grounds, at that time, were level with the front doors up to which one climbed a number of steps from 7th Street. The entrance to the ground was directly under the date stone - 1882. A board walk led around the building to the south and north to the water buckets under a big oak tree where Room 3 now is. A bell and a steeple about Room 9 were removed after lightning struck the building circa 1900. In May and June, 1903, the building was used as a shelter for people who had lost their home in the Flood of 1903. Again, in 1951, from July to September, flood victims stayed in the school.
In 1908, when Fremont Street was graded and paved, the school grounds were leveled, but were left high above the street level. A stone retaining wall was built around the entire school property. In 1930, when 7th Street was widened, thirteen feet were cut off the front of the grounds, leaving the center rooms projecting out even with the sidewalk. The entrance to the grounds was changed from a central stairway to two entrances, north and south so they are now.
In 1916, when Junior High Schools were inaugurated in Kansas City, Kansas, Riverview was changed from an eight-grade school to a six-grade school. Grades 7 and 8 went to Central Junior High School.
Previous to 1882, was a two-room frame of District Number 9. Located on hill north of city of Armstrong. Destroyed by fire. V. J. Lane, newspaper editor, objected in 1880, to Riverview being annexed by Wyandott City until they had a school and other businesses.
1882 - May 31: Board of Education, Wyandott City, bought half-acre tract from Pratt and Roberts. Located on south side of 7th Street, between what was known then as Church and Park. Location known later as 7th and Pacific.
People said to have voted $15,000 to build school on 7th Street in Fifth Ward.
School erected in summer; four-room, red brick with steam heat.
1886 - Became part of Kansas City school system after consolidation.
July 26: Contract to L. G. Ferguson for four-room addition. George Colby, architect. Additional 57 feet to south purchased.
September: High school established in two rooms. W. H. Rooney was grade school principal, John Wherrell, principal of high school. (These two rooms were what was the beginning of what would later become Kansas City, Kansas High School and eventually Wyandotte High School.) See Central School (Palmer Academy aka Wyandotte Academy)
November 9: Normal training department established at high school.
1888 - School crowded. High school moved to old Palmer building at 7th and Ann.
1889 - September: One room in basement for classroom. Special insurance because of steam heat.
1895-98 - About this time a four-room addition was built. Two southeast and two northeast rooms. Twelve rooms altogether. J. W. Ferguson, contractor; W. W. Rose, architect.
1897 - Until the schools obtained financial relief, shifts were made in classes. The 8A class at Reynolds and Armstrong moved to Riverview. Morse's 8B transferred to Armourdale School, and the 5B at McAlpine went to Riverview and Central. A committee sent to Topeka was assured of legislative help with money problems. The board first appealed for a $75,000 bond election, but later reduced the sum to $60,000.
1900 - September: Crowded. Half-day sessions for some classes.
1903 - Housed flood victims. On May 30, 1903 the Missouri River had reached 26.3 feet above low water mark. Over 10,000 people homess in KC area. 1903 flood article published by the K C Star.
1908 - Modernized and remodeled. Made hall spaces by moving two center rooms on east to form large center hall. Formerly had to go through classroom to get from north to south.
Purchased fifty feet on south from George Crow.
Fremont graded and paved. Stone walls built around property, as grading on streets had left building on high embankment.
1911 - First PTA. Mrs. J. T. Bazan, first president.
1916 - September: Grades 7 and 8 to new Central Junior High School.
1930 - Seventh Street widened. Took 13 feet off front of grounds, causing two center classrooms to project out even with the sidewalk. Central stairway entrance changed to two, one north and one south.
1939 - "In 1939, the Cooper School was abandoned by the school system for low attendance, as a result of increased industrial building, and all students in the West Bottoms were reassigned to the Riverview School, which had only seven Mexican students in 1925." (The Education of Mexican-Americans in Kansas City, Kansas , 1916-1951, Robert Martin Cleary, 2002, Book found in the KCMO PUblic Library)
1951 - Building used to help house 1951 flood victims and their families temporarily.
July 12 - The Memorial Building was opened to accommodate evacuees. About midnight on July 12, some 25 or 30 evacuees gathered near the Riverview School where they had been brought by trucks evacuating the Armourdale area. On learning this, I reached the custodian by telephone and directed him to open the building. Civil Defense later indicated they preferred to have the evacuees all at the Memorial Building, so the next morning we transferred the group and closed the school. Additional evacuees appeared on Friday, however, and the school was reopened. (L H Brotherson, BOE Business Mgr)
1953 - June 4: Account in Kansas City Star of retirement of Miss Mabel McConnell, principal for forty years.
1964 - On a frigid night in 1964, a major fire in Riverview, the district's oldest remaining school, resulted in its temporary closing and renovation. Funds were not available for its immediate replacement and pupils were temporarily housed at John J. Ingalls and Frank Rushton. They were returned in September 1964 to the refurbished structure.
1975 - Fire: Grades 5-6 sent to Major Hudson. Second floor closed pending completion of M. E. Pearson.
1977 - School closed and building razed. Pupils and area made part of Whittier and M. E. Pearson attendance areas. Schools in KCKs in Years of Change 1962-1986, Dr. Oren L. Plucker, 1987
1986 - Site deeded to city on March 4, 1986 in exchange for deed from city for four acres of land in Jersey Creek Parkway for expansion of athletic fields at Sumner Academy.
1881-1904 - W. H. Rooney / 1904-06 - J. L. Howard / 1906-12 - Cora McCurdy / 1912-53 - Mabel McConnell / 1953-58 - Genevieve Lindhorst / 1958-64 - Madaline Irwin / 1964-74 - Jennie Weir / 1974-77 - Nolen Porchia
Mabel McConnell: "Mexican students at Riverview experienced a welcoming environment and this was in large part due to the views of the principal of the school, Mabel McConnell. She went out of her way to welcome Mexican students, and made efforts to combat the discrimination they experienced outside of her school. She was the principal from 1908 to 1953 and the national origins of her students included Greeks, Russians, Poles, Slovaks, Croats, and Mexicans. She was well aware of segregated schools in the district. When Natividad Blancarte transferred to Riverview from Ingalls, Principal McConnell explained to her that school would be different for her now and that she could come to her if she experienced any discrimination. She also lobbied the owners of a movie theater on Central street to allow Mexican-Americans to sit in the white section. Elvira Ramirez held fond memories of her attendance at Riverview from 1943-1948 and recalled that Principal McConnell would provide food and clothing to her students." (The Education of Mexican-Americans in Kansas City, Kansas , 1916-1951, Robert Martin Cleary, 2002, Book found in the KCMO PUblic Library)
15th Annual Report of the Board of Education of the City of Kansas City, Kansas for the year Ending June 30, 1901: p. 85, Eight grades, twelve room brick. Seventh Street between Church Avenue and Park Avenue. Boundary - Beginning at the Missouri Pacific and Union Pacific bridge over the Kaw River, thence southwest to Fifth Street and Euclid Avenue, thence west to Seventh Street, thence north to Gilmore Avenue, thence west to Mill Street, thence north on Mill Street to Ridge Avenue, thence east to Grandview Avenue, thence northeast on Grandview Avenue to Tenney Avenue, thence east to Missouri Pacific tracks, thence south and east along said tracks to point of beginning. W. H. Rooney, Principal
History Site created on December 02, 2002
Page last updated: 23-Apr-2014