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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 1958


Brothers of the Brush and the Centennial Belles brought a look of pioneer days to city streets in the summer of 1959.  A pageant, "Rivers to Rockets," told the Kansas City story to residents when it was presented in August at the Wyandotte High School stadium.  The history of one hundred years of the city of Wyandotte, later part of Kansas City, was depicted in a parade along the main streets.

Representative Newell George presented a bill in January, asking that the Huron Cemetery be preserved as a national shrine.  The offer of a site for the Agricultural Hall of Fame was accepted, chosen above numerous other offers.  The 18th Street Expressway, which relieved Seventh Street of some of its ever increasing traffic, opened its toll stations for the first time.

In the rapidly growing northwest section of the city an increasing number of families brought the need for a new elementary building and an addition to the junior high school.   Northwest Junior was crowded and the board obtained permission to encroach ten feet beyond the legal limit on Eighteenth Street to erect an addition.  Raymond Meyn drew plans for a gymnasium, music rooms, and cafeteria.

At Rosedale High School an eight-room addition was erected in 1959, and the permit issued for a new Fairfax School.  A parking area at Argentine High School was graded and surfaced.  A new Emerson designed by Wilson and Earnheart, architects, to replace the sixty-nine-year-old building in Emerson Park was under construction by the Dreier and Son Company.  The new school would front on 29th Street and the old would be razed when the new building was ready.  As the city donated part of Emerson Park ground, such land would revert to the city if it was ever not used for school purposes.

Lowell School, on half-day sessions in the primary grades, needed room.  The board had purchased houses and lots east of the school as far as an alley.  When the houses were moved, plans for a five-room addition, or annex, were prepared by McLain and Sidorwicz, architects.  On January 5, the contract for a one-story brick building was awarded to the J and H Construction Company.  On November 9, the building was occupied. 

When the state bought Maccochaque School for use as part of the University of Kansas Medical Center, children were sent to the enlarged Snow School.  On February 15, 1959, PTA's of both schools were united into one group.  Officers of the two groups, Miss Hazel Meeks (retired) of Maccochaque, and Miss Beth Chittenden of Snow, participated in a skit, "The Marriage of Mr. Snow to Miss Maccochaque."   The school's "married" name became officially Frank Rushton in memory of the well-known Rosedale citizen who had served on the board of education in both cities.  For twenty-seven years before his death, he had been president of the Kansas City board.

There were other changes.  Walter Roy, director of physical education, retired because of illness and was replaced by Fred B. Kohl.  The director of home economics, Miss Florence Palmer, retired.  Her successor was Miss Virginia Shinkle.  William J. McIntire became assistant principal at Wyandotte High School when J. Clyde Hume left because of illness.

The first summer session for above-average pupils was held at Junior College in 1959.  During the school year, Saturday gym classes were conducted for younger boys.  Intramural athletic program were held in the various high schools.  New science and mathematics equipment and teaching aids were purchased with the help of government funds.  Argentine High School shops received electronic equipment and inservice training for adults was established.

Again, in talking to an assembly of teachers, Superintendent Schlagle urged an understanding of the basic philosophy of modern education.  The nineteenth century educator was concerned with quantity, the problem of getting every child in school.  In the twentieth century, the problem was to see how much the pupil could get out of school.

Mr. Schlagle described the struggle of Horace Mann against pioneer conditions, indifference, poverty, prejudice, bigotry, the pettiness when Mann wanted an elementary education for every child.  A teacher's contract from another state was cited as an example of changed ideas.  In 1923, she was asked not to marry or to keep steady company.  Between 8:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., she must remain at home, and there would be no ice cream parlor, loitering, cigarettes, or beer in her life.  In addition, she could not leave town without permission, wear bright colors, dye her hair or use powder, mascara, or lipstick.  Riding in a car was permitted only with a father or brother, and two petticoats were the minimum.  After making the fire, sweeping and scrubbing the schoolhouse, she could relax, probably with her papers, or help the children of the family with their homework.

Next Section   1960

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Contact the History Webmaster - Patricia Adams

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

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