The Algona Upper Des Moines from Algona, Iowa on January 31, 1950 · Page 9
Get access to this page with a Free Trial

The Algona Upper Des Moines from Algona, Iowa · Page 9

Algona, Iowa
Issue Date:
Tuesday, January 31, 1950
Page 9
Start Free Trial

January 31, 1950 -Ja. 6' Slcpia fttpprr Brs SECOND SECTION Algona School System Nears Its 100th Year History Traced From Pioneer DaysOf 1857 By Evelyn Cady Algona is suffering "growing pains" in the region of its school systems, but relief is promised with the construction of a new school annex and possibly a new grade school, the latter -to be erected in the southeast section of the city if and when plans are completed. At the same time, the local parochial system has also seen an increase in enrollment, although at this time this increase is being handled without school expansion at St. Cecelia's Academy. . All in all, school enrollments have been forging ahead by leaps and bounds. System Began In 1857 The history of Algona's schools is most interesting and dates as far back as the summer of 1857, when the town hall, built in May of that year on the site of the Hub clothing store, was used for school classes. It was used only ai the warmer weather as it was not heated. Classes were taught by Flavia Flemming of Humboldt county. The town hall proved to be a suitable place for all public meetings, and long before it was plastered, it was used also for conventions, dances, caucuses and religious meetings. The pioneer forefathers, being divided re- iigiously, worked out a plan whereby Father Chauncey Taylor, Congregationalist, held services each Sunday morning, and Ihe Rev. D. S. McComb, Methodist, delivered his sermons Sunday evenings. Since this is a school discussion, and not about churches, I will leave the subject and continue with the school history. In the winter of 1857-58, school was held in the George P. Taylor building, the town hall still remaining unplastered. At this time, a Mr. Dunlap of Ft. Dodge was the teacher. Traveled By Ok Team That year, Father'Taylor, a* he WDS known, attended the state meeting of teachers at Iowa City, having been chosen as. county superintendent. Hie. method of travel to Iowa City wax by ..two yoke of oxen, and on the trip he was accompanied by his son, George, to assist in the driving. Also with him were. O. W. King and Mrs. Frank Rist, who were enroute east and chose to go that far with the Taylors. This trip to Iowa City gave excellent opportunity for bringing back a large supply of household needs. The board of directors" for the school consisted of three men, a president, secretary, and treasurer. This board examined applicants for teaching jobs but no formal certificates were issued. Teachers were paid from a "teachers fund," and deficits were made up by the parents. If payment was not made, the amount could be collected by "distress and sale of goods and chattels found in the district." Sturdy Old Subject* Subjects taught were the "three R's and orthography, geography, and United States history. As I mentioned before, Father Taylor was elected first Kossuth- county superintendent in 1858, serving for six months, and asking only $25.00 for his. services. Evidently men teacher* rated higher than women, for they were given 95.81 per weak, the women $3.56 per • week. Today, ibis would not cover boarding expense, to *ay nothing of a room and clothing. The first teachers were "Father Taylor, who seemed to be a man of diversified talents and certainly a popular citizen; J. E. Stacy, Harriette Taylor, Helen Rice, and M. D. Blanchard. It is on record that the town hall had been fitted up in "good shape," with two double rows of seats and desks in the center, a large "sheet iron" stove, installed and other improvements made, but the interest of the entire community was centered in the new public school nearmg completion and located on the present high school site. My great-grandfatHer, James Henderson, was contractor for the new school building, a frame building of lumber, and measuring 30 by 50 feet, two stories, and build at a cost of between $3,200 and $3,500. I wonder how many persons today know that the Legion hall is the center part of this old school, and that the two wings were donated to the Normal school built later on "Normal Hill." And I wonder how many recall thut the Legion hall has been known as such only since World War I. Prior to this it was always referred to as the G.A.R. hall and still further back, it was the Algona public library. I wonder how many can remember Mr. McElroy who was librarian? Mr. McElroy seemed to me to be rather a grumpy old man, perhaps not so old as 1 thought, but the side burns gave him a look of austerity, and if he ever amiled. did anyone ever see THAT? There was an entrance on the north side of the buMme, a sort of ante room, and the big fish which rested year after year in its glas's "prison" and was if the new library the last time '. was in it a number of years ago hung on the wall of this ante room. I don't remember who caught th6 fish, nor what kind it was. but it gave me a creepy feeling. Old O.A.H. Meeting Place I suppose the upper room was given over to G.A.R. meeting. ] know it was used for sewing classes, and what a time I had learning to use a thimble! Then, too, it was used for rehearsals for plays and operettas. Years later I was in the hall one evening, doing a violin solo and ac- ca'mpanied by . Zada Brunson on a wheezy, old organ. Our "dates" waited in the outer hall for us, and when number was over, my "date" reached to get my coat hung on a hook over a table whereon rested a thickly frosted cake. Just behind the cake, a tray of silver rested on a half gallon crock. As he flipped my coat off the hook, it hit the tray of silver, and one look at that beautiful cake with spoons sticking upright in that luscious frosting, we fled as fast as possible, smothering our laughter, yet a bit panicky, and certainly very sorry. The "Normal School" followed the "College", so I'll give a brief outline first of the college. Father Taylor had used the old Town Hall for his "Northwestern College" along with its use as 4 public school, but as soon as the new school opened, he was able to buy shares in the hall and convert it into a church and college building. Lucy Leonard from Potsdam, N. Y., came to open the college's first term Sept. 9, 1867, and it must be remembered the town hall was located on State street, an odd place for a "college". Higher Education In 1868 Helen Wooster came from New York state and became an instructor at the college. The attendance grew so steadily, she decided to open a school of her own. and in the fall of 1869 the contract to build her seminary was let to Abram Wolfe. The main part of the former John Galbralth house on east State street, now the Genrich apart* was the "seminary". .Mrs. Horton, who later Was city librarian, became 'her asauifamt, and Mrs. J. £. Stacy vrm music • .. 1870 the Milwaukee railroad reached here, and since Algpna was the end of the line and unfs the county seat, a "boom" yrtis started, and with it a new movement was started to found an Algona Seminary. From the first there wag disagreement over the location, men owning land on the south side of town wanting it built there. and those who . had purchased land with a view to making gains through the location of the railroad, naturally wanting the school to be built on the north side. This division ultimately caused the downfall of the school, though it was finally built in 1871, on a five-acre tract donated by Lewis H. Smith at the south end of what is now known as Harlan street. Judge Asa Call and Rev. Todd had worked together to have the college built in the north end of town on "Normal Hill," but in a disagreement over the amount to be used for the school, the Rev. Todd, who had labored with good results with the Methodists, and the judge, parted ways, and in December. 1870, at the bank of Ingham and Smith. "The Kossuth County" bank, articles of incorporation were drawn up and trustees elected for the college. The contract was let to Yea- mens and Bongey to erect a building 40x66 feet and two full stories high, at a cost of $4.500. Many will recall this building, but it came to an ignominious end. Imagine a proud college being taken from its campus, its belfry removed, like a crown being snatched from a royal head, and moved to the Dau garage site, where for a number of years it was a hotel of sorts, a rooming house, and finally reaching the depths of degradation when it became a feed store. Later, Mr. and Mrs. Tom Akre took over the feed store business and to it added a line of groceries. Alter several years, the corner and building were purchased by William Dau fpr his garage. The "college" .was razed, and much lumber was salvaged for houses by Rufus Shackelford, who purchased the building. The "bones" of the once proud college having been removed from the site, William Dau built his garage in 1935 and in 1941 built an addition. Seminary To College Miss Wooster's seminary was highly successful, so much so, it was felt to be a stumbling block in the way of the new college. She was finally persuaded to close her school ana to join, the college faculty, but till the ' new building was finished, classes were conducted in her "seminary." Prof. Woodford was head of the school and Sadie Nash was music instructor. Prof. O. H- Baker was called from Simpson college to be president, and thing* continued to be favorable for the school, and in 1873 the articles of incorporation were amended to raise the grade of the school to college rank, since previously it had actually been, only a seminary. French, Greek, German, 'rhetoric, geometry, am physics were given special emphasis. The college flourished for four years under his direction, then came the grasshopper scourge, hundreds of families suffered poverty from the effects, the endowment fund was almost extinct, notes could not be collected, and teachers* salaries remained unpaid. Prof. D. W. Ford was head of the faculty at this time, 1877, but with the school going into a decided "decline," he resigned and at this time church conference members began to agitate a movement for the college to be located at LeMars or Sioux City. In spite of the zealous efforts of the Rev. Bennett Mitchell, and in spite of a resolution that carried, that stated Algona college be adopted as the conference institution, making it the property of the Methodist conference, all this failed to save the situation, and the "swan song" came 1880. Had the north side citizens and the south side citizens worked together; Morningside college would never have come into existence. Instead, the "north siders" were so bitter about the location, they preferred to see the college die. However, the much abused Algona college kept her head high, though moved to the new site, and for ten years was used for various entertainments, political and religious meetings. After that, it became a hotel and rooming house. Nearly Had Ag School It is not generally known that Algona had another loss, in the late 50's losing out to Ames as location for the State agricultural college. No other details were available on this. The next school project was that of the "Normal" school built on the corner of north Wooster md east Lucas streets, whose listory is also interesting, though t too lanquished after, a few years of prosperity and affluence. In 1886 a letter was received by Mayor D, A. Haggard from Prof. J. C. Gilchrist of Cedar Falls, saying he had been serving as lead of the normal school there [or- several years but had been deposed from the presidency and lesired a new location. He must lave stated his case well, for afar a meeting of townsmen, he was urged to come here and DEC- sent hut, cattse, and iafhMnttaf men ot the time solicited funds* profeefe <Th* old eoUef* ?uildinf waa leased for a time and used for the classes till the new school could be built. How the old "college" walls must have wept at the thought of being usurped in men's minds by a "normal school"—yet, like a woman scorned. How she must tave chuckled and gloated, for the normal school proved no more successful than had the college. At least, the college could wast of having been an entirely "new"-building, whereas the "normal school" was made up of two wings of the old school building on the present high school site, being replaced by the brick "Central" so familiar to most of the present Algonians. The normal school could boast only of a new center section. So much could be said of the faculty, the studies, and the real progress of the school, but in trying to malke this brief, I will go on to the fall of 1889 when the citizens became intensely interested in making it a State institution. When the legislature met in 1890, a delegation of men went to the capitol to do what they could, but the situation was hopeless, and the "pill'* the more bitter to swallow because of the remissness of our representative C. L. Lund in haying failed to be present at an important voting which may have saved the day. This failure to gain Algona's adoption as a State institution so discouraged Prof. Gilchrist, he resigned and became a faculty member at Morningside college. School Pied In 1897 After various professors and teachers had struggled along with the school, it passed out of existence in about 1897. Like the old college, it was razed and made into dwellings by Mr. Vanderlinden who erected most of the houses now reposing on "Nor- mal Hill." For a time the building was left just as it was — a ghost school — then voices were again heard in the corridors, there was action, and PLENTY, for the brick "Central" school had be* come too crowded with the grades and high school students, and the high school was moved to the old normal building till completion of the "Bryant* school in 1898. Corn Song Originator During the normal school era, George E. Hamilton was a student there, and in a recent issue of a newspaper, this interesting bit of information comes to light. R. E. Lee Aldrich of Belmond, who I know very well, dropped into the "Belmond Independent" offices recently to set the editor straight ,on an editorial concerning Mr. Hamilton's famous "Corn Song". It had been said the song was written in 1914, but Mr. Aldrich said that he and Mr.) Hamilton were schoolmates in Algona and attending the normal school in 1890. Mr. Aldrich had heard Mr. Hamilton sing that song many times 'way back in those school years — so. "normal school, take a bow for yourself and for the late Mr. Hamilton. High school was in the "Central" building and consisted of room 10 as assembly, with Minnie Coate as principal, Mrs. Harton, assistant, superintendent's office, for some of the classes, and the botany class was held in the basement, in a room opposite the coal room. I can see now those huge piles of coal, standing bold and exposed to public view, the basement poorly lighted, and great caverns of darkness there, and worst of all, the darkness of the long aisle with its partitioned off "cubby holes" of toilets, MIMUS sewage! I turned a deaf ear to nature's calls till recess when there was company to help chase away the "goblins" or sorne other dreaded thing in that long, dark, dreadful corridor! Happy was I when in a year or two, the "bot- my" room was converted into a light, modern, "powder room." Do You Remember Them? I can still see the stairs- of the school, hollow spots worn in thef steps where feet had trod years before me. And I can see that steep flight of stairs leading- down from the first landing, to the basement office of the super- on th - ... . .__^a*. How many can recall ihes*Iff teachers:!, Grace McEnUre; 2, Helen Sponholtz: 3, Mabel McDill: 4. Lou Smith; 5, Adelaide Schichtl; 6, Agnes Gilbride; 7, [ skipped 7 and went to 8 where Srace Spangler resigned; 9, Alta Vfathews who married Prof. Hoffman; Room 10 I never at* tended as I had finished my eight PLANTATION BALL ROOM Friday, Feb. 3 EDDIE SKEETS Sunday, Feb. 5 DON STRICKLAND Friday, Feb. 10 MOELLER'S ACCORDIAN BAND Doors Open at 8; 00 O'clock PLANTATION BALLROOM WHITTEMOHE, IOWA Art Metal Airline Desks IMPftOVffO IFUCIIHCY MODIJM STYUMO .Oft I ATI ft COMK3KT Scientific drawer arrangements permit the most •indent functional layout -for individual desk work. Flat top, typewriter and secretarial model* for your selection. The Airline Desk with its smart styling •nd the new Mello- Gray finish adds di*. tiuction to any office. Greater convenience and fool freedom provided by the island bases in Airline Desk* bring a new high in comfort to the user. UPPER DES MOINES PUB. CO. Office Supply Dept. 1H I. Call St. Phon« 1100 grades and was ready for high school. In fact, the "high school" at Central was non-existant by ,the time I had reached school age, and was already "housed" at Bryant. Third Ward school is merely a building, so far as I can recall. I was never in it and only became acquainted with it in a vague way by eighth graders joining me at Bryant when we entered ninth grade. And what a difference there is in high school than the grades. Some differences are pleasant, some not so pleasant, and I think one of the horrors of my high school days was "open parliament," Each Monday we would approach the bulletin board in fear and trembling, fearing our name would be posted thereon, fervently thankful when it wasn't, for what a dreaded thing it was to have one's name posted, and know one must gel up before the student body and give a talk on some subject we might choose as having general interest. And examinations! I still quail at the sight of large sheets of ruled paper, a red margin — all reminiscent of TESTS. The addition to the Bryant building came soon after my graduation. The old assembly room had given way for the new one, changes had been made that left only the front stairway familiar. I could see "Vince", and "Jock," and "Bruntz," and "Ted," and "Ben" and Shortie", "Dot" "Ben" and "Shortie", and '.'Dot" and Buena (she never had a nick name. I can't see how it happened) and myself. "Red", going up and down the stairs, entering class rooms — sometimes well prepared for the class, more often "dumb", and since the group I mentioned constituted a "clique", all, after reading this, will recall that Miss McCoy said one Monday morning, "I don't, see why it is that EVERY Mon-1 day morning, none of you know anything." Well, we could have given the answer — too many parties, too much weekend fun, no time for homework. Old Sivles — New Styles And so I came to the end of the history of Algona's schools with mentjon of the new high school building erected on the old "Central" site. I know I would miss the old assembly room, the orderly passing from one classroom to another, and the orderly dismissal as well. And high school for me just wouldn't be high school without Miss Coate. There was only ONE Miss Coate. There will never be another. With the changes in schools, the added courses, the ultra-modern conveniences, a great change has come in "what the well dressed school girl will wear." And when I say "well dressed," I MEAN just that. How WELL I was dressed can be judged by this — starting from the skin, out — "fleece-liner" longies, black sateen bloomers attached by a row of buttons to a waist made for anchorage, red flannel petticoat, topped by a black sateen petticoat for added elegance as well as warmth, wool dress( high necked and long sleeved) frilly apron — always white ones — heavy coat, "kitty" hood, (angora yarn to the untutored in 1900 Vernacular. A gray one with red ribbon bow and red ties for school days, a white one with blue ribbons for Sundays) mittens fastened to a long crocheted string run through the coat armholes to guard against loss, fur neck piece, muff, wool stockings, high laced shoes long, buttoned, above knee leggings, and three buckle overshoes. How did I ever carry around so much merchandise? And how many hours did it take to put it all on? Is it any wonder I shiver every time I see the girls of today tripping along bare legged, coats open at the throat, and only thin scarves over their heads? HOW DO they stand it? Kossuth Welfare Gets $16,312 Kossuth county received $16,316.20 for welfare work during the month of January, according to a report just issued. Old age assistance accounted for most of this, with 291 cases receiving an average of $47.20 for a total of $13,736.70. The state average payment for old age assistance was $48.94. For aid to dependent children. Kossuth received $2,464 for 87 children. Average payment in the county was $28.32 while the state average was $29.75. PHONE 229 The MAINLINER will be closed for a few days effective Wednesday, Feb. 1 While we move to our new location next door to our present site. When we reopen, next week, we'll be happy to serve you in larger, better quarters, in the NEW MAINLINER. VERNON and ORLA BURNS ... you'll find everything on your Valentine Gift List ; '•!.•• ••.. '-. ^ ~^T' •••!*.•»••*• • ' nj - -.'," , " . " ,. • , . ,... ••; .--••• -,—-:-?-• -•*-••• --.../•—. ••.-••., -.•«•» -••--- •-.— at James Drug ... and our prices will PLEASE YOU! HEART SHAPED • VALENTINE GIFT BOXES DELICIOUS CHOCOLATES Choose From Garrofc or Gale's 75c - $1.50 - $2.00 - $3.00 - $4.50 • TOILET WATERS By COTY EMERAUDE MUGUET YARDLEY COLOGNES LENTHERIC COLOGNES (Including the latest "REPARTEE" and "TWEED") "FABERGE" TOILET WATERS: • TIGRESS • STRAW HAT • WOODHUE • APHRODISIA "LUCIEN LELONG" Solid Colognes INOISCRET WHISPER BALALAIKA SIROCCO TAGILO . and she's sure to love a HALLMARK CARD CHOOSE FROM OUR VERY COMPLETE SELECTION Ic - 2c - 5c - 25c - 50c - $1.00 P.S.: You'll make a hit when you do your ST. VALENTINE'S DAY GIFT BUYING AT JAMES DRUG "35 Years Se rving Algona"

What members have found on this page

Get access to

  • The largest online newspaper archive
  • 11,200+ newspapers from the 1700s–2000s
  • Millions of additional pages added every month

Try it free