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The History of our Public Schools
Wyandotte County, Kansas




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KCKS Public School System, 1819-1961
by Nellie McGuinn
Copyright USD 500, Feb 1966

Return to Previous Section 1905


Kansas City schools joined the state project in a collection for the Santa Fe Trail.  Miss Gray, the music supervisor, planned a program to be given by the schools on Washington's Birthday.  On January 14, the board listed the names of doctors who had been appointed to inspect schools to see what could be done about contagious diseases.  In some schools telephones were being installed.

On July 19, the papers announced that Huron Place, referring to the cemetery, was to be sold.  Four acres were involved, but the plot had been laid out before Minnesota Avenue was cut through, and thirty-five feet extended into that street.  One editor warned the city to negotiate with the Secretary of the Interior about that particular segment, and said that before speculators got hold of it, the city should buy it.  Ex-mayor W. W. Rose proposed that the city buy the ground.  Many citizens opposed the suggestion because of the money involved.  Rose, they said, would also want to be the architect for a court house and city hall to be built on the grounds.

The Medical Society obtained permission to meet in the southeast basement room of the library.  The Associated Clubs, in February, asked that gas be connected to the grate in the art room.  By June, 1906, the book section needed additional room and the Association was asked to give up its meeting room.  In September when these Associated Clubs protested against having to leave the Art Room, the board arranged for limited use of the room for them.

The board consented reluctantly to a request made in September by the Wyandotte Chautauqua Carnival to use the library grounds, and ordered that the grounds be restored when the carnival was over.  In addition to the paintings in the Art Room, the library had a statute of Paulina Bonaparte, donated by W. J. Buchan.

The Supreme Court decision in February, 1906, cleared the way for the erection of a new high school for colored.  A site was purchased at the corner of Ninth and Washington.  A large frame house used as a home for orphans was moved to the opposite corner and later owned and occupied by Dr. A. Porter Davis.

While the school was being erected, Superintendent M. E. Pearson, J. E. Patterson, principal, G. F. Porter, and G. B. Buster pondered over a name.  "Lincoln," "Washington," and "Sumner" were suggested.  Because Charles S. Sumner was a scholar and had become an anti-slavery leader in the Senate in pre-Civil War days, his name was chosen.

An eight-room building with an auditorium was completed by September, 1906.  J. W. Taylor erected it at a cost of $24,000.  The remainder of the bond issue of $40,000, approved in June was used for equipment.  Some of the first teachers, besides J. E. Patterson, principal, were George F. Porter, G. B. Buster, and Mrs. Florence Crew.

The board worked in September, 1906, with the Board of Education at Topeka to propose legislation for permission to raise the levy to twenty mills, because both cities had first class power.  Before the end of the year, knowing two new school and a high school addition would be needed, the board asked for a bond election for $200,000.  Mayor Gray promised to call the election in February, 1907.  "Refunding Bonds of 1906" were issued for the outstanding indebtedness.

Secret societies flourished in the high school.  The board in the spring of 1906 ordered all privileges of the school withheld from students who joined such organizations.  The rule applied only to new members, not the present membership.  For the school year of 1906-1907, a Department of Domestic Science was established for the high school, and Ora Yemmywine elected teacher.  The superintendent recommended also that a commercial department be started at the high school, to which the board agreed.  The grading system of "1" to "5" was adopted in the high school in February, 1906.  Mr. Pearson said such scores as 94 1/2 and 98 1/2 were inaccurate and led to quarreling among neighborhood mothers.

W. W. Rose was employed as architect for 1906.  In June each member of the board named one census enumerator.  The prison sentence of Frank M. Campbell, board member, accused of bribery, had been confirmed by the Supreme Court.  He had spent some time in jail and many people thought him less guilty than some others who had gone unpunished.  Several hundred citizens, in addition to board members, signed a petition in July for a pardon for him.  The sentence was commuted in September to 90 days in jail and he was set free.  Most of the sentence had already been served.

The board ruled in September, 1906, that at the expiration of contracts under which married were teaching in 1906-1907, the rule against their teaching would be rigidly enforced.  After two truant officers had been elected, the election was declared null and void and Waddy Thompson was elected.  The decoration committee of the board bought rugs and other furnishings for the board offices before school opened in September.

Edward F. Taylor from the Third Ward resigned on August 30.  For a number of years he had looked after the business of the Dodd Mead Book Company.  Teachers complained that he used his power as a board member to get subscriptions for Dodd Mead publications. Although he had been elected in 1904 for three years, he left to go to Seattle as office manager for the publishing firm.

C. Langford was given instructions in January, 1906, on how to operate the various H and V heating systems of the city.  A Professor Foster, whose historical maps were used in the schools, received approval on his charts.  The board was willing to give a trial to a representative of a firm selling views and lantern slides.  He gave stereopticon entertainments in schools that were interested in buying a stereopticon.   [Annotation:  stereopticon - a projector for transparent slides often made double so as to produce dissolving views.]

The Turner Traveling Art Exhibit set up a picture display in March, 1906, for ten cents admission, part of the money to be used for buying pictures for the schoolrooms.  At the close of school the high school would house the exhibit.  The board approved a Dog and Pony Show that was given in April for the benefit of the Children's Home.  It also made a rule that only the teachers who went to the state association meetings could dismiss classes.

The gas pipes, previously needed for footlights at the high school, were removed in May when electric lights were installed.  Insurance rates were high with the old pipes still there.  A new office record was installed, and the superintendent was asked to render an expense account for carfare each month.  One unfortunate teacher was elected in May with the understanding that she was to resign.

Clarence J. Smith was named as supervisor of manual training, but resigned before the term begin.  Teachers were elected for manual training centers in the grade schools.  One hundred hears after Zebulon Pike had raised the flag of the United States over the Pawnee Indian village, the schools observed the anniversary.  On he afternoon of September 26, every teacher spent an hour telling her pupils of "Pike and the Flag."

On January 1, the board laid the law down to a Miss Relgen: 

"Miss Relgen to be transferred to Hawthorne School and to be given to understand that she is to teach school there without trouble or teach somewhere ese next year."

Names of the 28 teachers who attended KSTA were placed on file.  In December the Board found out that contractor Taylor was not completing Sumner according to specifications.  With 871 added to the enrollment. schools needed more room and equipment.

Next Section1907

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

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