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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 1910


Perl Morgan published a history of Wyandotte County in 1911.  In it he discussed twenty-five years of growth and development in the city schools.  Old schools, teachers, and buildings were held in fond recollection, he wrote, and in 1911 were no more to be found.  Great changes in life and in the form and manner of living had taken place.  There were greater changes in instruction, courses of study, and school housing.  In 1886 schools were good, he thought.  They were simple in course of study, comparatively inexpensive, and fulfilled the need of the times.

So many new features had been introduced by 1911 - music, drawing, commercial departments, science, physical culture, manual training, domestic science, medical inspection, compulsory attendance, etc.  The cost per pupil had more than doubled.  Teachers salaries had risen from an average of $440 to $720 a year, and enrollment had increased to almost 14,000.

After the city of Argentine was annexed, other districts asked to join the Kansas City system.  The portion of District 9 lying north of the Union Pacific tracks was attached to the Fifth Ward in March, 1911.  Again District 7 was in the minutes, asking to be annexed, only for school purposes.  The portion east of Fifth Street to the Missouri River became part of the Second Ward, and the part west of Fifth to the Missouri was attached to the Third Ward.  The one-room school on North Twelfth Street was named Eugene Ware.

Six voters of District 44, Park School, petitioned.  The area they represented became part of the Fifth Ward.  A large group in District 41 applied and their district attached to the new Seventh Ward, Argentine.  In April, District 4, Quindaro, became part of the Third Ward.  A fraction of District 19 was detached to join Argentine.  It consisted of an area beginning on the south side of the Santa Fe and extending north to the river.

Part of District 2 bounded roughly by Reidy Road, Mount Calvary Cemetery, and Quindaro and Mount Hope Cemeteries was made part of the Third Ward.  Kerr School, just west of St. John's cemetery was in this district.  The north part needed school facilities. 

Melville School, District 33, at Seventh and Shawnee Road, is listed in 1911 as part of the system.  It was located on land lying between Argentine and Kansas City, a portion of which was attached to the city many years before.  Records of 1886-1887 refer to Melville as Ely School, which housed Columbian pupils before that school was built.  All school property in annexed districts belonged to the board.  Residents had the privilege of voting at elections for school purposes.

A one-room portable building on the southeast corner of 37th and Parallel served from 1911 and 1915 as a school for University Place.  It housed four grades and was later known as Parker School.  The first two weeks of the school term of 1911 it occupied a room in Wilson Hall of Kansas City University.  Pearl Williams was the teacher.  A one-room building on the northwest corner of 32nd and Orville became known as Frances Willard School.

The chairman of the committee to name the Ninth and Minnesota building announced that it would be known as the Kansas City, Kansas High School. A class graduated in January.  Manual training, domestic science, and commercial branches received much attention from the superintendent and the board.  High school teachers spent March 24 in Lawrence at a meeting and the Northeast Kansas Association met in Atchison on April 7.

Rulings of the board concerning secret societies seemed to have been generally ignored.  Another letter went out in May to parents, reviewing the state law of 1907 and threatening exclusion of members.   In 1911, twenty-five years from the time the high school was established, the total number of graduates was 1219.

In the 29th Annual Report, M. E. Pearson named six teachers who were listed in 1886 and also in 1911.  They were:  J J Lewis, Lillie Babbitt, Lizzie Collins, Sadie Parsons, Katie Daniels (Parrish), M E Pearson, W A Moffitt, who entered January 1, 1887.

The west portion of Argentine needed school facilities.   In March, Mr. Landrey, Argentine member, told the Baptist Church which had planned to build near Emerson School, that the board was going to condemn the land for school purposes.  The architects planned for portables to be used in the system.  Eugene Field was in immediate need of four rooms and portables would be used there.  Somebody offered $25 for the shop building at Central (the old Gray building) but it was decided to raze it instead.  The board also voted not to sell the Central site (7th and Ann) for a YMCA building.

Old Lowell in Argentine was sold for one dollar.  The new colored school in Hadley's Addition in Argentine was called "Lewis" in honor of J J Lewis, long-time teacher and principal.  Mr. Lewis is the only teacher ever so honored in Kansas City, Kansas.

The board offered to pay Superintendent Pearson to go to a meeting at Mobile in February.  The Carpenters' Union asked that union labor be employed or that union wages be paid to non-members.  Jones Brothers gave catalpa trees to schools to plant on Arbor Day, April 7, when the children were granted a half holiday.  A substitute teacher went to the Children's Home to teach, when an epidemic of whooping cough swept through the home.

A Mr. West sued the board in May for loss of contract for grading of 6th and Quindaro to Haskell.  He accused the board of stopping the grading.  The matter would be adjusted in court.  The superintendent asked the support of the board for a school extension movement of four weeks of summer school, following the plan used in 1909 and 1910.  Cards for advertising the city schools were printed in September by the Mercantile Club for distribution at the Missouri Valley Fair.

In the 25th Annual Report, Mr. Pearson's annual address on September 9, 1911, was printed.  The principals of Kansas City High, and Sumner had reports as well as the supervising principals.  Several elementary principals discussed topics connected with education.  A Mr. Cook suggested getting, through the children, names of school patrons interested in membership in the Union Depot Club.

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

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