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The History of our Public Schools
Wyandotte County, Kansas

1844
2012

 

 

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Columbian School

Columbian School / The "Brick" SchoolLocation: 519 Seminary. (Rosedale - corner of South 7th Street Trafficway and Southwest Boulevard)

"All of lots 1,2,3,4, Block 2, resurvey of Crescent Hill; Lot A Block 6, Crescent Hill (now Lot A, Block 2, resurvey of Crescent Hill), all of lots 18, 19, 20, 21, in Block 29, in Bell's third division."

Other Names: The Brick School

Building Closed: End of 1965-66 school year.

The Winding Valley and The Craggy Hillside
A History of the City of Rosedale, Kansas by Margaret Landis.
Copyright 1976. Reproduced on the Kansas City, Kansas Public Library
web site with permission from Ms. Landis.

(Note: At one time, a 155 ft footbridge was built in order for people to cross a foot bridge over 7th St Trafficway. Seminary Street today ends one block west of 7th St Trafficway, but in those days Seminary ran through and east of 7th St Trafficway. The footbridge allowed people to cross over the trafficway from the area that was once Bell Memorial Hospital, founded by Dr. Simeon Bell, at 311 Seminary Street to the Columbian School area located at 519 Seminary Street.)

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The "Brick" School was built in 1888 on College Avenue between Westport and High Street at a cost of $8,000. The ground for the school was donated by Mr. Simeon B. Bell and Albert Marty. The original building had 4 rooms, the other 4 were added later. In 1892, the name COLUMBIAN was given to the school to commemorate the 400th Anniversary of Columbus's Discovery of America - the Columbian Exposition at Chicago. Carrie Wohlfarth (the late Mrs. D J Harding) submitted the name in the contest to name the school. About 1930, a separate building was built on the West side of the school ground and used for the kindergarten. March 1966, the University-Rosedale Urban Renewal Agency paid $173,000 for .87 acres and Columbian School at 519 Seminary Street, Kansas City, Kansas. In the redevelopment program, the school was razed October 1966. "The Winding Valley and The Craggy Hillside", A History of the City of Rosedale, Kansas by Margaret Landis, Kansas City, Kansas, 1976

Rosedale 1887Map at left referred to in. "The Winding Valley and The Craggy Hillside", A History of the City of Rosedale, Kansas by Margaret Landis, Kansas City, Kansas, 1976

Columbian students originally went to the Ely School or Melville School.

(Note: At one time, a 155 ft footbridge was built in order for people to cross a foot bridge over 7th St Trafficway. Seminary Street today ends one block west of 7th St Trafficway, but in those days Seminary ran through and east of 7th St Trafficway. The footbridge allowed people to cross over the trafficway from the area that was once Bell Memorial Hospital , founded by Dr. Simeon Bell, at 311 Seminary Street to the Columbian School area located at 519 Seminary Street .)

Before the Columbian School was built on College Avenue between Westport and High Streets, students attended at Ely School or Melville School .

"About 1930, a separate building was built on the West side of the school ground and used for the kindergarten. March 1966, the University-Rosedale Urban Renewal Agency paid $173,000 for .87 acres and Columbian School at 519 Seminary Street , Kansas City , Kansas . In the redevelopment program, the school was razed October 1966."  The Winding Valley and The Craggy Hillside, A History of the City of Rosedale, Kansas by Margaret Landis, Kansas City, Kansas, 1976

Dr. Simeon Bell plotted his first subdivision in 1880. The boulevard and railroad yards lay to the south, but people were buying and building to the north. Mellville School or Ely School , District 33, was on Shawnee Road near 7th Street . But another school was needed. In 1885, Dr. Simeon Bell and Albert Marty donated land for this school.

County records state that in June, 1887, part of Melville School District No. 33 was detached and joined the city of Rosedale , District 15. The transfer lists S. B. Bell's second and third subdivision and Marty's three additions and Glen Park as the area for the new school.

This building was a four-room brick, the front part of the building built in 1887-1888 on approximately an acre of ground in the 500 block on Seminary. The cost of the building was $8000. The contractor's name is lost, but a Mr. Ferrell of Belton, Missouri and a Mr. Clarkson of Clarksburg , Missouri are known to have been two carpenters who worked on the building, with Jacob Scholt as a plasterer.

The new building, the first brick in Rosedale, stood alone in the 500 block of Seminary and was promptly named the Brick School in contrast to the White School in another part of the town. It was great fun for the children to have so much space for games and play. There were grapevines on which to swing, there were hopscotch and crack-the-whip for the girls, baseball and football for the boys. They called their playground area "The Commons."

The school opened September, 1888 with three of the four rooms housing six grades. Miss Alice Holcomb was the Principal; Miss Florence Wilson taught the 3rd and 4th grades; and Miss E. Perkins the primary.

There were no modern conveniences. In the middle of each room was a large Cannons stove with what one former pupil recalls, 30 to 50 feet of stove pipe extending to the flue. The heat was good if the stove was in working order. If it failed to draw or the stovepipe fell, the room was cold. Monitors from the rooms filled pails at a neighboring cistern and had them and the long-handled dippers ready for noons and recesses. The black boards were painted and replaced a number of years ago. Double desks were in these first rooms.

The early school had curriculum typical of the times. Added to the 3 R's were spelling, grammar, geography, physiology and civil government. The members of the first graduating class had to take a county examination given to 125 children by the county superintendent. They made the long trip to old Central School (7 th and Ann Avenue ) where the courthouse now stands and carried off the four top honors. Carrie Scholl Martin, Mabel Bruch Chilcott, Fred Niemeyer and Walter Filkin, later known as Walt Filkin, the poet. They went to Wyandotte for commencement services at the Washington Avenue Methodist Church .

The Rosedale superintendent and Board by 1892 thought it was about time to give a name to their schools. The children were to choose the names. Whitmore students honored a well-loved teacher, Professor Whitmore. Carrie Wohlforth, later Mrs. Daniel Harding, a Brick School pupil, was aware of the preparations going on for the Columbian Exposition to be held in Chicago the next year. Women working in the Ladies Columbia Club in Wyandotte were sponsoring entertainment and giving dinners by donating milk, eggs and chickens to raise money to send exhibits to the fair. Every school was to be represented. When Carrie suggested Columbian as the name for the school, it was quickly adopted.

The city grew and pupils were shunted from one building to another to relieve crowded conditions so they scarcely knew to which building they really belonged. By 1897 a population of 2000 made Rosedale a city of the second class. New arc lights, postal delivery, sewers and paved streets followed. The new medical building was started. There was agitation for drawing lessons to be put into the curriculum and children enjoyed a holiday every October to attend the Priests of Pallas parade in Missouri .

By 1898 Columbian School had a four-room addition, making it an eight-room school house. School and the children were contributing to a fund for a memorial to General Lafayette. Marty's Grove was a picnic ground for the city's school children at the close of the year. Teachers received $42.50 a month and the Principal received $70.

In the 1900's, Rosedale was no longer a small town. The Board said Columbian School must remain open at noon in the future so that children need not eat their lunches outside. People back of the school had to ask permission to use the school grounds when going to and from work and were required to pay for any damage they might do.

The high school, which had occupied rooms at Whitmore, had a new building. In 1906, the 7th and 8th grades from Columbian School and Whitmore School transferred to the new school and surrounding schools sent their 4th, 5th and 6th grades to Columbian School.

In 1910 and 1911 the schools were badly overcrowded. Rosedale citizens in 1913 voted to consolidate with Kansas City , Kansas ; but it was nine years (1922) before the two cities were united; 50 years after Rosedale first became an independent city. Lucy Jones was the Principal at Columbian School when it became one of the Kansas City , Kansas schools. Mr. A. P. Vaughn, Superintendent, became Supervisor of the Rosedale schools; and in a short time, Mr. Frank Rushton, President of the Rosedale Board of Education, joined the Kansas City, Kansas Board, serving for many years as its president.

Map of 519 Seminary
Kansas City, KS 66103
    (Please remember, that exact placement on a map today may not agree with where the school actually stood in 1888.  Street names have changed due to city merger and boundaries changing.)

SUMMARY

1885 - Land donated by Simeon B. Bell and Albert Marty. Children housed in old Ely School or Mellville School.

1886 - Four-room, brick school erected. Faced Seminary Street in Rosedale. Was only building in the 500 block and only brick (yellow) building in city. Known for several years as the "Brick School." Some records say built in 1885.

Three rooms in use at first. Miss Alice Holcomb was the first Principal. The first teachers were Florence Wilson and Miss Pickens. There were six grades. The custodians were Williams Hobbins and wife.

1891 - First graduating class.

1892 - Rosedale schools named. Children voted on names. Brick School children chose Columbian because of the Columbian Exposition to be held in Chicago the following year.

1898 - September 2: Four-room addition. Hay and Beverdorden, contractors.

1913 - First Mothers Club. Organized by Principal. Miss Edna Kiesel (Griswold) and Mrs. A. P. Wasson, first presidents.

1922 - April: Into system with Rosedale annexation.

1933 - Had nine classrooms. Only seven teachers and 250 children.

1965 - Urban renewal had expanded its efforts into the Rosedale area south of Southwest Boulevard and along both sides of Rainbow Boulevard. Columbian School, constructed in the 1890's and located just west of Rainbow on Seminary, was sold to Urban Renewal and closed in 1965. Its enrollment had declined as a result of the urban renewal activity but its closing was a major departure from custom with respect to desegregation/integration moves. Enrollment at Columbian was essentially white and when the school was closed, a major portion of the students was transferred to Attucks, a school that had been 100% black in both students and faculty.  Schools in KCKs in Years of Change 1962-1986, Dr. Oren L. Plucker, 1987

1966 - School closed at end of school year. Land sold to Urban Renewal for $173,000. Building located on .87 acre of land was razed for redevelopment of the University-Rosedale Urban Renewal area. Students reassigned to Attucks.

PTA and Pupil Records were forwarded to Dr. Don Moritz in the department of Pupil Services at the BOE office, 625 Minnesota, Kansas City, Kansas

PRINCIPALS

1886-89 - Alice Holcomb / 1889-90 - C. J. Pickett / 1890-93 - Maggie Doran / 1393-94 - C. C. Culp / 1894-95 - O. P. Bourbon / 1895-97 - Dorothy M. Gaiser / 1897-1904 - R. M. Killion / 1904 - Dorothy M. Gaiser (resigned July); Edith Elder / 1905-06 - Edith Elder / 1906-07 - Thurston / 1907-11 - A. P. Vaughn / 1911-12 - A. P. Vaughn (Principal of High School); G. B. Jones - Edna Kiesel (Griswold) (elected Oct 1911) / 1912-17 - Edna Kiesel / 1917-19 - Anna M. Cook / 1919-20 - Pearl Sperry / 1920-21 - Laura Freeman / 1921-30 - Lucy Jones / 1939-41 - Viola Arnold / 1941-43 - Wilma Junker / 1943-53 - Genevieve Lindhorst / 1953-66 - Ruth Wentler

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

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