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The History of our Public Schools
Wyandotte County, Kansas

1844
2012

 

 

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Armourdale - 1901Armourdale School

Location: 5th Street and Shawnee Avenue

Other Names:  originally Common District No. 9,   Chance (1873-1890), Armourdale (1890-1911), John J. Ingalls (1911-Closing)

Architectural Blue Prints and/or Plot Plan of School Building

Architectural Analysis - Public School Buildings (New/Additions) by Rose and Peterson - 1890-1927

Rules and Regulations, Bd of Educ, KCKs, 30 June 1905 - Eight grades, thirteen-room brick, corner 5th St and Shawnee Ave; also four-room brick annex.  Boundary - All of Armourdale east of Coy St.  John Reedy, Janitor, 721 S. 6th St.

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History of Armourdale School
(date of publication unknown, author unknown)

School building erected in 1882.  A four-room, two-story building erected on the corner of what is now 5th and Shawnee.  There was an additional room made later from the hall where the bell was.   There was a large bell in a tower which was used to call the pupils to classes.

Pupils who attended G E Rose (principal) classes are in part:  John Service, Edward Biechele (deceased), Edward Fischer (judge), Josephine Chance, Frank Fischer, Mary and John Lawthers, James Dietz, Clifford Brown, Olive Brown, Minnie Dunmire, Alice Dunmire, Nevada Patterson, Dadie Reddington, Columbia Owens, Montana Griram, Arthur White, Frances Kiesner, Jesse H Klien, Ella Godwin.

About 1890 a four-room annex was added to the building on the south.

During 1906-07 the two four room wings were built on the four room annex and the annex to it was razed.

In the early days, Lewis Payne was the janitor who lived with his family in the basement of the school building.

Some of the M E Pearson reminiscences:  During the period of 1890-92, the school board ran out of money and could not pay the teachers, so a subscription school was organized and only pupils who paid tuition attended.

There was a street car line on Shawnee Avenue then.  One evening after school hours a little boy in the second grade was run over by a street car.  Mr. Pearson helped get him out from under the car and the child died in his arms.  The boy's name was Carlson; he was John Carlson's brother.  John Carlson did not know who took his brother out from under the car wheels until after he was on the school board when Mr. Pearson related the incident.  (Mr. Carlson was Board President in 1923).  Another pupil, William Winship, fell under a car on the same line and suffered the loss of his arm.

The cyclone of 1886 which did so much damage in Kansas City, Missouri, blew down the Lathrop School there.  After that scare, the pupils of the Armourdale School had been directed by their parents to come home at the first sign of a dark cloud. 

("May 11 1886 A storm, thought at the time to be a "cyclone" struck Lathrop
elementary school in downtown Kansas City, killing fifteen students out of
the 28 persons who lost their lives.")

M E Pearson remembers one day a cloud darkened the sky and the thunder roared and all the pupils fled home without waiting for the teachers direction.  During the flood of 1903, Mr. M E Pearson remembers that he came in a skiff to see the building and rowed in the front door and down the hall and out the south door.  (See our "Picture Gallery" for pictures of Armourdale, Kansas City, Floods and other items.

SUMMARY

M. E. Pearson memories: The cyclone of 1886 which did so much damage in Kansas City, Missouri, blew down the Lathrop School there. After that scare, the pupils of the Armourdale School had been directed by their parents to come home at the first sign of a dark cloud. One day a cloud darkened the sky and the thunder roared and all the pupils fled home without waiting for the teachers direction. ("May 11 1886 A storm, thought at the time to be a "cyclone" struck Lathrop elementary school in downtown Kansas City, killing fifteen students out of the 28 persons who lost their lives.")

Prior to 1890 - Refer to chapter on Chance School.

1890 -There was a large bell in a tower which was used to call the pupils to classes. There was an additional room made later from the hall where the bell was. 

M E Pearson memories: During the period of 1890-92, the school board ran out of money and could not pay the teachers, so a subscription school was organized and only pupils who paid tuition attended.

About 1890 a four-room annex was added to the building on the south. August 4:  Chance School to be called Armourdale.

1893 - September 25: Board asked council to check speed of electric cars at 5th and Shawnee. Several injuries (including a death) had occurred to pupils.

1895 - August: Room on lower floor rented from W. H. Stoddard. Northwest corner of 5th and Shawnee.

1896 - July 3: No further use for Stoddard building.

1897 - November: Substitutes in primary department to assist teachers.

Until the schools obtained financial relief, shifts were made in classes. The 8A class at Reynolds and Armstrong moved to Riverview. Morse's 8B transferred to Armourdale School, and the 5B at McAlpine went to Riverview and Central. A committee sent to Topeka was assured of legislative help with money problems. The board first appealed for a $75,000 bond election, but later reduced the sum to $60,000.

1899 - February 27: School closed for week because of smallpox in neighborhood. August: Annex rented. One-room building on corner of Osage and 1st (5th?).

1900 - July 16: Room rented at Osage and Mill. Partitioned.

1901 - March 11: Planned purchase of property. Block 40, near school, for four-room annex. Architect was W. W. Rose and address listed as South 6th Street and Shawnee Ave. This would appear to have been a replacement of, rather than an addition to, the previous school (Rose and Peterson Architects, 1994)

April 5: Peter Murray and others deeded to board Lots 305, Block 40.

May 6: Sold three old buildings on property. Contract for two-story, four-room annex to F A Thompson.

June:  Armourdale School reported as "inadequate and unsanitary" in newspaper item.

1903 - February 24: Mercantile Club investigated schools. Reported Armourdale unfit.

June 8: Flood - For many days the daily papers were filled with accounts of the high water. Board member Bowles and Superintendent Pearson hired a boat and went to the Armourdale School. They rowed in the front door and down the hall and out the south door. At the Morse School, the current was too swift for the boat to get close. Wood was the third school to be inundated. They feared the three buildings would have to be replaced, but Wood was the only one condemned. 

December: Building crowded. Addition needed.

1904 - June 30: M E Pearson said Kindergarten needed, as children end school life early. To have new, twelve-room building

1906 - Four-room annex to have two, four-room wings. Annex next to it to be razed.

1907 - May 20: Plans for addition accepted. Money from 1906 bonds to finance building.

1908 - Upper grades to transfer to other schools due to overcrowded conditions.

1911 - September: Patrons asked name to be changed to John J Ingalls. Board granted request.

M. E. Pearson memories: There was a street car line on Shawnee Avenue then. One evening after school hours a little boy in the second grade was run over by a street car. Mr. Pearson helped get him out from under the car and the child died in his arms. The boy's name was Carlson; he was John Carlson's brother. John Carlson did not know who took his brother out from under the car wheels until after he was on the school board when Mr. Pearson related the incident. (Mr. Carlson was Board President in 1923). Another pupil, William Winship, fell under a car on the same line and suffered the loss of his arm.

2003 - When viewing the area today, no school building remains.  5th Street going south now ends at Shawnee and you find the Graham Express Lines (trucking firm) sits where once children went to school.

PRINCIPALS

Prior to 1890 - See " Chance School " / 1890-91 - M E Pearson, J G Fertig / 1891-93 - M E Pearson / 1893 - H W McKean, M E Pearson / 1894-1902 - H W McKean / 1902-06 - W J Pearson / 1906-07 - J J Maxwell / 1907-21 - Rose McIlwain / 1911 - See "J J Ingalls School"

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15th Annual Report of the Board of Education of the City of Kansas City, Kansas for the year Ending June 30, 1901:  p. 78, Eight grades, thirteen room brick, corner Fifth Street and Shawnee Avenue; also four-room brick annex.  Boundary - All of Armourdale east of Coy Street.  H. W. McKean, Principal

Same boundary lines in 17th Annual Report of the Board of Education of the City of Kansas City, Kansas for the Year 1902 and 1903

Ward Boundaries

18th Annual Report of the Board of Education of the City of Kansas City, Kansas for the Year 1904:  p. 22 - "Kindergarten - It is to be regretted that kindergarten training is not given to the children of this city before they reach the age for admission to the first grade.  Kindergartens have been established for so long a time in the schools of most cities of the country that they have become a recognized part in every complete system of schools. There is great demand for these schools in some of our school districts. This is particularly true in those communities where from the necessity of home conditions the period of school life must necessarily end at a much earlier age than in others. I would recommend that as soon as possible kindergarten schools be established in the Cooper, Armourdale, and Morse Schools."

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Interesting tidbit about an industry that has provided jobs for many of the families in Armourdale over the years.

THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY

1878, managers at Procter & Gamble's soap and candle factory in Cincinnati, Ohio (where P&G began in 1837), were puzzled by consumer requests for more of "the soap that floats." The company had recently introduced a new product called White Soap, an offering meant to compete with the fine soaps from Spain that were then taking a fair bite out of the American market. Could White Soap be the mysterious "soap that floats" consumers kept inquiring about?

The mystery was solved when it was discovered that an impatient factory worker had one day left for lunch without first turning off the mixer agitating a vat of White Soap. Because of his error, far more than the usual amount of air was incorporated into that one particular batch. Rather than confess to his mistake, he sent the overwhipped product down the line. The batch hardened, was chopped into bars, and was sent on to market with no one other than the one errant worker (and possibly his manager) knowing anything was out of place about it.

Consumers loved this exciting new product because they were no longer fishing about in murky water for elusive soap. This new White Soap refused to get lost, as it would pop up to the surface no matter how many times it was dropped into a bucket or sink.

Procter & Gamble was quick to see the advantages of marketing such a soap on purpose. Orders were given to henceforth overmix all batches of White Soap to meet consumer demand, and in October 1879 the first bar of Ivory Soap was produced.

In the development stages, Ivory Soap was called White Soap. Harley Procter named the soap 'Ivory' from a biblical verse that he heard while listening to a sermon.

And now you know the story behind the story.   Can it be true?

The Proctor & Gamble Company, of Cincinnati, purchased ground in the Kansas river valley west of Armourdale in 1903, and during the next year its large one million dollar plant was placed in operation. The company has a capital of $750,000. Now the plans are ready for an addition to the plant of a building one hundred by four hundred feet and four stories high. The corporation employs two hundred and fifty persons and has an annual output of about $3,000,000.

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CHAPTER XXXIX.
MID-CONTINENTAL INDUSTRIAL CENTER

Information about the industries in Kansas City.   Transcribed from History of Wyandotte County Kansas and its people ed. and comp. by Perl W. Morgan. Chicago, The Lewis publishing company, 1911

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History Site created on December 02, 2002
Page last updated: 23-Apr-2014

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