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Wyandotte County, Kansas




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J J Ingalls School

Armourdale_1901Location:  5th and Shawnee

1912 City Directory:  5th sw corner Shawnee Ave.

Other Names:  Chance (1873-1890), Armourdale (1890-1911), John J. Ingalls (1911-Closing)

Picture Gallery

Architectural Blue Prints and/or Plot Plan of School Building



1911 - See " Armourdale School " for information prior to 1911.

1911 - September: Patrons asked name to be changed to John J. Ingalls. (US Senator - Republican - March 4, 1873 to March 3, 1891) Board granted request.

1912 - First PTA organized. Mrs. Minnie Screechfield, president.

1918 - All Mexican children were put in basement rooms in Emerson school in Argentine and John J. Ingalls School in Armourdale when classes resumed in the fall of 1918 after an influenza epidemic.  (The Education of Mexican-Americans in Kansas City, Kansas , 1916-1951, Robert Martin Cleary, 2002, Book found in the KCMO PUblic Library)

Early part of the 20th century:  "Anglo educators in Kansas increasingly adopted the rhetoric of the nationwide 'Americanization' movement which tended to disguise the segregationist intent of local school boards.  Americanization was a social-work based movement that gained popularity in the US beginning in the early part of the 20th century."  (The Education of Mexican-Americans in Kansas City, Kansas , 1916-1951, Robert Martin Cleary, 2002, Book found in the KCMO PUblic Library)

"In a pamphlet prepared by the KCKs Schools, the Cahmber of Commerce and the University of Kansas, the design of such a program for the city was described.  'The problem' was defined in terms of Mexican employees in packing plants, whose numbers grew as European groups stopped immigrating during and after WWI.  The next paragraph, the separate room at the Ingalls School in Armourdale was mentioned in terms that would lead a reader to believe that Americanization and not segregation was the goal: 'one whole room is given over to the Mexican children, and there is a considerable sprinkling of Mexican children in the grades at Cooper and Bancroft.'  The reality was that the Armourdale parents demanded their separate instruction, and had no concerns for the Americanization program.  One scholar maintained that the only substantive Americanization program for Mexicans begin in 1921, and was administered by the Mexican Methodist Mission in Argentine, not by any of the organizations who were in charge of the program described in the pamphlet."   (The Education of Mexican-Americans in Kansas City, Kansas , 1916-1951, Robert Martin Cleary, 2002, Book found in the KCMO PUblic Library)

"In the same spirit of Americanization, one of the few references to the language issue in all of the primary materials appeared in a report from the Ingalls school:  'The Mexican room has 72 little people who are struggling with the task of learning the American language.'  Struggling perhaps because their teacher spoke no Spanish, was certainly not trained in teaching English as a second language because no program existed, and probably enforced a no Spanish-rule on the playground in order to promote language learning.  The student teacher ratio of one-to-seventy-two would change, but absent from this report was that the Mexican classroom at Ingalls was located in the basement, an over-crowded space reserved for students, bathrooms, and a coal room."  (The Education of Mexican-Americans in Kansas City, Kansas , 1916-1951, Robert Martin Cleary, 2002, Book found in the KCMO PUblic Library)

1921 - When a child dashed into the street after a ball and was killed by a car, John J. Ingalls patrons wanted a larger playground.  Complaints about a basement room were answered when the board found the room only three feet below the playground level.  The kindergarten remained for half-day classes, but the Mexican children were removed.

1951 - Covered by flood waters of the 1951 flood. (This building was also damaged by the 1903 flood, when it was known as "Armourdale School." June 8: Under water since May 30. One of three surrounded. Board member Bowles and Superintendent Pearson went by boat to inspect buildings. Rowed through building. 1903 Kansas City flood.)

July 12 - Furniture from 1st floor of J J Ingalls and furniture from Phillips School moved to 2nd floor of J J Ingalls School.

1951 - Overall history on this school's involvement with the 1951 flood.

1952-53 - Rehabilitation work. Wilson and Earnhart, architects.

1953 - February 9: Dedication of building. Praise by Mr. Rushton for people's courage in returning to Armourdale.

February 22: Flag flown over Capitol in Washington. Everett P Scrivner sent representative to school for dedication. Eli Dahlin, head of Police Department's Youth Bureau made presentation.

1973 - Building closed and razed. Pupils reassigned to Morse

1977 - Land sold to Urban Renewal, Mar 1, 1977 for $42,215.

June 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.


1907-21 - Rose McIlwain / 1921-41 - Dora Brown / 1941-43 - Viola Arnold / 1943-73 - Dorothy Espenlaub / 1973 - School closed - build razed

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Report to the PTA by Mrs. Minnie Screechfield in 1930:  I ask you to open the pages of memory and read again the chapters of loyalty and service that have made us the friends we hold dear.

Since coming into the school building, I look around and see objects that bring back pleasant memories and again there are memories that made me sad.

Mothers, eighteen years is a long time to recall incidents, but I will try.  The year of 1912, Miss McIlwain, the principal of this school, asked her pupils to write invitations to their mothers inviting us to visit the school.  Forty or fifty mothers accepted the invitations.  Miss McIlwain gave a very interesting talk, picturing to us the good we could do, also the help we could be to the teachers as well as to the children.  We mothers became interested and organized a club known at that time as the Mothers Club.  I served two terms as president; Mrs. L Wheeler, vice-president; Mrs. George Brooks, secretary and treasurer, first term; Mrs. M White, secretary and treasurer, second term.  We opened our meeting by reading the 23rd psalm, followed by the routine of business.  We usually had a program, sometimes musical or a reading from one of the mothers, talks of interest or a program from the kindergarten and grade pupils which we enjoyed very much.  So, you see our meetings were educational as well as social.  Our object was to cooperate with our teachers and do little kindness wherever we could.  Our club being in its infancy we started out by doing the little things and hoped to see them materialize into something worthwhile, which, in fact, I know they have.  Our club was not the first to organize in Kansas City, Kansas, but among the first.

So, year by year these clubs have been organized in most all of our Kansas City, Kansas schools, but it is now called the Parent-Teachers Association.

Mrs. Screechfield remembers Arbor Day.  John Roch and some boys went to Turkey Creek, Rosedale, dug trees from near the bank of the stream.  The elm tree now stands near the northeast entrance of the building.

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William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas, 1883

John J. Ingalls, Senator from KansasJohn J. Ingalls of Atchison, is now the senior Senator from Kansas. He was the recognized scholar of the Convention, and authority on all questions connected with the arrangement and phraseology of the instrument. Whenever he suggested a verbal amendment, it was adopted by consent. He was then in his twenty-sixth year, and was a comely youth to look upon. But I will venture the assertion that he would not wear, at his daily attendance in the Senate, such a hat as he wore during the sittings of that Convention! It was a cheap, broad-brimmed chip, with the crown shoved up until it assumed the shape of a cone, and then straws were taken out until there were more holes in the top than plaits of straw; and while time has effaced the other peculiar features of that wonderful time, I do recollect that it was an ever-recurring subject of comment.

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"Kansas, A Land of Contrasts" by Robert W. Richmond, 1999, pg. 344

Ingalls summed up the state's diversity and changing patterns as well as anyone:  Kansas has been the testing-ground for every experiment in morals, politics, and social life.  Nothing has been venerable or revered merely because it exists or has endured... Every incoherent and fantastic dream of social improvement and reform, every economic delusion... every political fallacy nurtured by misfortune, poverty, and failure, rejected elsewhere, has here found tolerance and advocacy... There has been neither peace, tranquility, nor repose.  The farmer can never foretell his harvest, nor the merchant his gains, nor the politician his supremacy.  Something startling has always happened, or has been constantly anticipated.

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History Site created on December 02, 2002
Page last updated: 24-Apr-2014

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