[School History Logo]

The History of our Public Schools
Wyandotte County, Kansas


Site Navigation: History Homepage / Biographies Index / Building Index - Individual Schools / Copyright-Disclaimer / Ethnic History of Schools / FAQs - Did You Know? / Historian's Roundtable of Wyandotte County / Maps - Land Records / One-Room Schoolhouses / Picture Gallery / Publications - Online Transcriptions - Links / Queries
Contact the History Webmaster - Patricia Adams

Page Divider Bar

Silver City Record, 18 October 1979, page 9

The Clara Barton School with Mina Cheney's Recollections

by Ed Shutt II

By the early 1920's there was a sizable Spanish-speaking Mexican-American Community in Argentine; many of whom attended the Clara Barton School.  These school children initially attended John Fiske and Emerson.

Racial discrimination and school segregation, however, were prevailing viewpoints in that era.  Civic and PTA organizations in Armourdale and Argentine requested that a separate public elementary school be built and maintained for the Spanish speaking students.

Thus, in 1923, a three-room schoolhouse was built at 25th Street and Cheyenne at the north end of the Goddard Viaduct.  The school included grades 1-8.  The first faculty consisted of Miriam Cheney, Principal; Audrey Ketchum and Irene Beazell.

One room was added to the Clara Barton School in 1928 and another in the middle 30's.  The building was destroyed by the 1951 flood and was not rebuilt.  The site's four lots of land were sold to a salvage company March, 1967.

Mrs. Elam McDaniel, a former teacher at Clara Barton School enabled me to contact Miss Mina Cheney, who taught in Clara Barton School for many years.  She sent me some pictures.  Her letter is partially included:

"I came to Clara Barton on January 3, 1928.  For that term, I was under contact but was a substitute teacher at a substitute salary although I had taught three years in a rural school and two years in a fully accredited small high school (one of M. E. Pearson's ways of saving tax payer's dollars).  In 1942 I was transferred from Clara Barton to John J. Ingalls School.  I am now beginning my fifteenth year of retirement.  I have many warm memories of my years at Clara Barton and later contacts with Mexican-Americans.

Some names I recall . . .Maria Hernandez, Wilma Junker, Helen Witherspoon (Rickey), Loretta Riley (Hartung), Mina Cheney, Gladys Capron, Mildred Merrill, Florence Medvid, Elizabeth S. Miller, Mary Cordiner and Mildred Elam (McDaniel), Lottie Battum, Ann F. Early, Lena Langford, Viola Arnold Loving, Star Chess, Winnit Wear, Violet Kappel, Louise Campbell, Ethel M. McGowan, Helen Elam Kahler, and Lucille Holcomb.  Evelyn Koester was the school nurse for several years.

I do not remember what years the fourth and fifth rooms were added, but I remember the sound of stucco and steel lathe being torn off the two outside walls when the fourth room was built.  That fall there were ninety-seven children enrolled in the primary room.  I think 150 was the peak enrollment.

When I went to Clara Barton, the custodian was Mr. Imhaoff who lived at the Railroad YMCA.  Later custodians were Mr. Sparks, a resident of the Argentine community, and Mr. Dingey and Phil Adams.

Clara Barton circa 1930sI notice in the pictures that I sent you a little bit of the exterior shows.  The yard was so small that the front building was flush with the side of the street, and the steps were in the street.  There was so little space to the north that special permission had to be obtained to have out-door toilets closer to the building than the code permits.  Later the original primary room was converted into restrooms with modern plumbing.

I wish you well in your project and I trust something enclosed here will help you.  If I can do anything more please let me know."

(Miss) Mina Cheney
1400 N. Vine
Holsington, KS

Blue Page Divider

Clara Barton Picture Gallery

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

History Site created on December 02, 2002
Page last updated: 18-Jan-2007

Visit the KCKs Public Schools Homepage