[School History Logo]

The History of our Public Schools
Wyandotte County, Kansas




Site Navigation: History Homepage / Biographies Index / Building Index of Libraries and Schools / Ethnic History of Schools / FAQs - Did You Know? / First Things First / Historian's Roundtable of Wyandotte County / Maps and Land Records / One-Room Schoolhouses / Picture Gallery / Publications, Online Transcriptions, Links / Queries / Copyright/Disclaimer

Contact the History Webmaster - Patricia Adams

Page Divider Bar

Frances Willard Elementary School

One-room Schoolhouse

Frances Willard, 2003Frances Willard Elementary School Homepage
(Address, Phone, Staff Listing, Calendar)

Frances Willard Picture Gallery
(including letters and news clippings)




Frances WillardNamed for Frances Willard (author and public speaker of Puritan background)

In 1911, the original Frances Willard School was a 4-room school, with the Principal's office was a desk in the middle of the hallway.  Principal's taught 1/2 day in the 6th grade.   Prior to 1911, Frances Willard was a county school on northwest corner of 32nd and Orville. One room frame

The old Frances Willard was west of the current building. 

(Kansan - June 5, 1956)  OLD SCHOOL COMES DOWN.  The old Frances Willard school building, 34th & Orville, is being razed today and the building site will be turned into a parking lot for a new 11-classroom school immediately to the east.  Completed in 1914, the old building had four classrooms.   The new Frances Willard school, in addition to the eleven classrooms, contains a kindergarten, multipurpose or activity room, office suite including principal's office, teachers' room and nurse's office.  The new L-shaped structure has 23,500 square feet of floor space.  (Picture of old and new building in "Frances Willard Picture Gallery", link at top of page.)

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

Architectural Blue Prints and/or Plot Plan of School Building

Blue bar page divider


1911 - Previous to 1911 this was a county school on the northwest corner of 32nd and Orville. One room frame. We don't know the exact date the one-room school was erected. Maude Gray, teacher.

In 1911, Frances Willard came into the Kansas City School system and the original building was a 4-room school, with the Principal's office was a desk in the middle of the hallway. Principal's taught 1/2 day in the 6th grade. The old Frances Willard was west of the current building.  Named Frances Willard after "president of greatest ladies organization (Women's Christian Temperance Union) in history of mankind." 

1913 - April 17: Board of Education purchased land for school.

1914 - May 23: Contract let and work started on August 14.

1909-1925 - Rose/Peterson, Architects - Three bond issues (1910, 1914, 1921) provided funds for the construction of school buildings from this period. Borrowing elements from Jacobethan architecture are five schools designed by Rose and Peterson in the early years of their partnership. Along with the annex building for Prescott Elementary School (1910), this group of structures includes four other elementary schools: Bryant Annex, Chelsea I, Parker I, and Francis Willard, all constructed in 1914-15. These "Cottage Plan" schools, as they were called during the 1914 bond campaign, are consistent in style, floor plan, and design.

1916 - September: New building of four rooms, six grades, occupied. Lois Torrey, Principal. Mavlina Henning and Nelle Longnecker, teachers.

First PTA organized. Mrs. J. W. Beazell, first president.

1928 - Patrons to Board of Education to ask for better housing facilities.

1938 - Building made modern.

1955 - January: Plans for new building drawn by Raymond Meyn.

March 24: Plans approved. Grounds enlarged from 2 acres to 6 1/4 acres. Old school as four-room, brick and three frame portables. Primary on half-day sessions. Old building to be razed after new building is finished.

1956 - September: New building occupied - one-story modernistic, 11 classrooms and Kindergarten, L-shaped building. Bob Eldridge, contractor.

November 13: Dedication of building. Address by Reverend Paul W. Burres, pastor of Wesley Methodist Church . Frank W. Naylor, Jr. presented flag flown over Capitol. Acted for Representative Errett Scrivner.

bef 1962 - Removed old building and two portables. "Schools in KCKs in Years of Change, 1964-86," by O. L. Plucker, Superintendent Emeritus, June, 1987

1977 - Became a part of elementary cluster in Court-ordered desegregation plan. Schools in cluster: Douglass, Central, Frances Willard. Pupils in grades 5 and 6 from Frances Willard, Central and Douglass to attend at Douglass. Grade 4 to be at Central, and grade 3 at Frances Willard.

1982 - Grade 6 now in middle school.

1991 - Central Elementary closed to students, who were then sent to M. E. Pearson. Removed from Cluster. Now "paired" with Douglass. Grade 3 at Douglass and Frances Willard. Grades 4 and 5 at Douglass.

2001 - Voters approved a proposed $120 million bond issue at the Municipal Election Tuesday (April 3, 2001) to air-condition schools, improve technology, and make other upgrades to schools and public libraries. Frances Willard was part of Phase I, which was completed in the summer of 2001.

June 2:  Kansas City Star:  The district has been losing students, but spokesman Carroll Macke said that an influx of students in the central city forced the district to re-open Central Elementary at 8th St and Barnett Ave and McKinley Elementary at 611 N. 14 St. to reduce overcrowding at other elementary schools in the area.  Other schools such as Lindbergh on North 57th St. and Frances Willard at 34th and Orville Ave, have added modular classrooms to accommodate students.


1911-16 - Maude Gray (one teacher) / 1916-20 - Lois Torrey / 1920-33 - Elizabeth Sparks / 1933-37 - Lola McNaughton / 1937-40 - Esther Erickson / 1940-43 - Marie Brotherson / 1943-44 - Helen Mae Parks / 1944-47 - Margaret Barclay / 1947-53 - Vera Croskey / 1953-77 - Etta Blanche Smith Dahlgren / 1977-84 - James Thornton / 1984-94 - Thomas Picklar / 1994-99 - James Maier / The principal from 1999 through the present is Mr. Brett Bernard

Page Divider Bar

Download Adobe Acrobat ReaderLinks using reader are marked ( pdf ).
Click icon to download reader.
Use browser's back button to return

Contact the History Webmaster - Patricia Adams

History Site created on December 02, 2002
Page last updated: 02-Jan-2012

Visit the KCKs Public Schools Homepage