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The History of our Public Schools
Wyandotte County, Kansas

1844
2012

 

 

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Kansas City High School - circa 1900Kansas City KS High School
aka Wyandotte High School

Other Names:  Central High School, Wyandotte High School

Built: 1899

 

Location:

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

Architectural Blue Prints and/or Plot Plan of School Building

Newspaper Articles

Information about Palmer Academy and education prior to the building of the Kansas City High School. . .

1869: O. C. Palmer came to Wyandott City in 1869 and remained here for eighteen years as a leader in education. He married Miss Sarah Brooks of Greenwood, Missouri, also a teacher. Professor Palmer, as he was known to hundreds of early citizens, remained in charge of the two schools (Lincoln and Central - O.C. Palmer followed Henry Alden as Superintendent and Principal.) until shortly before he established a private high school in 1878. Some early teachers were Mr. and Mrs. Porter Sherman, Jessie Kerstetter, Bridge Cushing, and William Boylan.

By 1872 the Wyandott City schools were giving pupils the equivalent of an eighth grade education. E.F. Heisler, country superintendent, and O. C. Palmer attended the Kansas Teachers Association during the December holidays. On January 4, 1872 (in the Wyandott Herald), Professor J.A. Davis advertised the success of his Select School and recommended that dissatisfied patrons of the public school give his school a trial. At the German Schoolhouse on Washington Avenue he would instruct in Languages, Phonography, and Shorthand. Young men would profit from the evening school. Languages taught included Latin, Greek, French, German, and Spanish.

Professor M. Waters, who followed O.C. Palmer as Superintendent, in 1874, was instructed by the Board of Education in May, 1875, to visit schools to obtain good teachers. The Superintendent also was told earlier in the term to see that the common English branches received the most attention. If time and the educational force were not sufficient, he was told to add to them. It was emphasized by the Board of Education that the primary was not to be sacrificed to the higher grades. “Object blocks” were purchased for use in the school.

After Professor O.C. Palmer left the Wyandott City schools in 1874, he may have engaged in private teaching. His next mention is in 1878. In September of that year, he opened a Methodist Church, as an experiment in higher education. Students interested in work beyond the eighth grade level crowded the rented church rooms.

At the end of the school year 1879-1880, Mr. Palmer purchased a site on the southwest corner of 7th and Ann, where the Courthouse stands today. There, according to one writer of the time, was erected “an elegant brick structure by the energy and financial means of the Principal.” The school was a six room two-story brick (some accounts say ten rooms), forty by sixty feet, consisting of a “large schoolroom, Principal’s office, and recitation rooms.” The site overlooked the city of Wyandott and surrounding towns at the mouth of the Kansas River. Stoves provided heat for the school.

By fall the building was ready for the 187 pupils of both sexes who came from Wyandotte and nearby districts. Two courses, English and Classical, were taught by well-prepared, efficient teachers. Subjects were offered in elementary branches when needed, and college preparatory coursed admitted graduates to freshman or sophomore status in college. Included in the English course were bookkeeping, science of government, study of authors, geometry and zoology.

Background on public education in Wyandott City. . . .

Wyandott City in 1882, after the annexation of Riverview and Armstrong, had five wards instead of four. Its boundary extended south to the Kansas (Union) Pacific tracks. In January, smallpox raging in Ohio brought fears of an epidemic carried westward by travelers. Huron Place, with the lumberyard on the northeast corner and the school in the center on the hill, seemed to resemble a public grazing ground for the stock that roamed the city at will. Armstrong and Moyer of the Gazette and Lane of the Herald had fought for three years to get the hogs off the streets before getting action. Discouraged, they decided in 1882 that possibly it was all right for the cows to graze around the schoolhouse – at least it kept them from roaming into private yards and eating shrubbery.

1882 Students at Wyandotte Academy (formerly Palmer Academy)

The town well and trough at Sixth and Minnesota, near Mr. Griest’s lumber yard on the northeast corner, served the people and the animals of the city. A water system had been installed in Wyandotte, but many families found the water unpalatable and preferred the taste and never-failing supply of the water in the public well. The schoolhouse was the only building of importance beyond Fifth Street, even though the council was having Minnesota paved to Sixth. William Boylan, later a well-known abstractor of the city, came in 1882 to teach in the Wyandotte Schools.

The new school stood unfinished. In January, 1882, the legislature empowered second-class cities to tax themselves up to eight mills on all property and to share in a twelve-million dollar state fund. In the spring of 1882, $15,000 became available to complete Lincoln and Everett, repair Central in Huron Place, and to erect a school or an addition in the Riverview district.

The school at Riverview had originally been a county school, probably a part of old District Number 9, which included what were later Armstrong, Riverview and Armourdale. It is said to have been a two-room frame school standing in the middle of a grove of hickory trees on a hill just north of the city of Armstrong, with eight grades and two teachers. The original building may have been destroyed by fire. When Wyandott annexed Riverview, a four-room brick building was already in use. In May, 1882, Pratt Roberts deeded to the Wyandott Board of Education a lot 130 by 175 feet or about a half acre on the east side of South 7th Street and Pacific Avenue.

The Board of Education erected a four-room red-brick building or more likely added four rooms to a schoolhouse already on the site. Steam heat was installed. With accommodations for 411 children. Riverview served the Fifth Ward as a grade school until the cities consolidated in 1886, when the high school occupied part of it. Five good brick buildings now were in Wyandott. They were Central, Lincoln, Everett, Armstrong and Riverview.

City pride prompted some citizens to boast of the efforts being made to improve the schools. “A grand public school system!” exclaimed one writer, as he marveled at the work of the city in the past 25 years. William H. Seward of Lawrence boasted, “Kansas people are the most intelligent on the face of the globe.”

Little mention of high school work was made in the news although some young persons who left the eighth grade went back for more advanced study. Professor Whitlock accepted such students in his private school. O.C. Palmer and St. Alois Academy had a large enrollment of paying students. Professor Robinson administered entrance examinations to students wishing to enroll at the university. Girls from St. Alois took the examination for teachers and taught successfully in the city schools.

Professor Palmer was recognized as a thorough and successful educator. His Wyandotte Academy, commonly known as the Palmer Academy, attracted pupils from places outside the city. After thriving for six years, the Academy was forced to close. Wyandotte, old Kansas City, Kansas, and Armourdale were consolidated in 1886 into one city and a free high school was established for the three sections. Professor Palmer’s students left to attend a free school. At the end of the year 1887, Palmer left the city to go to the new country opening up in the Northwest. The Board of Education of Education rented the Academy building in 1887 and purchased it for a high school the following year.  When the high school moved into the Palmer building, attendance increased 95 percent.  Central children and 246 high School students practically filled the building. 

Besides Palmer, other teachers at the Academy included Miss L.M. Dickinson, Miss Belle Sears, and Miss Julia Wolcott.

On December 3, 1888, C. H. Carpenter, trustee representing the Masonic Lodge, notified the board that Palmer's Wyandotte Academy was for sale for $12,000.  The lodge would accept the amount in warrants.  Warrants were issued on December 10, 1888, and the ninth city school came into possession of the board.  Trustees C. H. Carpenter, J. M. Holloway, and S. S. Sharpe represented Wyandotte Lodge Number 3, A. F. and A. M. of Kansas City, Kansas

1897/99 - Kansas City High School built.  W. W. Rose was the architect.

1895-1909 - W. W. Rose, Architect - There are three schools from this period of Rose's career that display elements of the Second Renaissance Revival:  Kansas City, Kansas High School (1897-99 et seq.), Bancroft Elementary School (1900), and Quindaro Elementary School (1906).   Bryant Elementary School, designed by Rose in 1904, features an Italian Renaissance Revival vocabulary, while John Fiske Elementary (1907/07) and Sumner High School (1905-06/1809-09) exhibit Jacobethan elements in their primary and secondary elevations.

1902:  Board of Education offices housed in the high school building.  (The History of the Kansas City, Kansas, Public School, 1819-1961 by Nellie McGuinn)

1904/05:  See Sumner High School history and the 1904/05 history by Nellie McGuinn for information on the development of Sumner separate from Kansas City High School.

October, 1905:  A contract was signed for lighting the school with electricity.

1910:  With the annexation of Argentine schools, the high school at Ninth and Minnesota needed a distinctive name.  A committee was appointed in November, 1910, to select a name.  The chairman of the committee to name the Ninth and Minnesota building announced that it would be known as the Kansas City, Kansas High School.

1914:  May 29th Commencement Exercises (.pdf)

PRINCIPALS

Dr. John Wherrell; Eugene A. Meade; George E. Rose; W. C. McCroskey; J. M. Winslow; H. L. Miller

In Summary:  "The High School was organized in the Riverview school building in 1886. with Dr. John Wherrell, principal. Two years later it was moved to the Palmer Academy building at the corner of Seventh and Ann. This is now known as the Central School building. In the fall of 1899 the High School was taken to its present location, Ninth and Minnesota avenue. The first principal was Dr. John Wherrell, followed in order by Eugene A. Meade, George E. Rose, W. C. McCroskey, J. M. Winslow and H. L. Miller, the present incumbent. In twenty-four years 1,219 have graduated from this school."  (Transcribed from History of Wyandotte County Kansas and its people ed. and comp. by Perl W. Morgan. Chicago, The Lewis publishing company, 1911. 2 v. front., illus., plates, ports., fold. map. 28 cm.) 

1923 - The grounds were sold to the city where the Courthouse was built.  The courthouse still stands in Mar 2003.

1923 Quivirian Yearbook - Kansas City, Kansas High School

1926 - Ruth Greninger (Historical Journal of Wyandotte County, Vol 1, No 11, 2003, pg. 459) tells us that the high school was called "Central High" for one year; and when it was discovered there was a high school in KCMo by the same name, "Central" was changed to Wyandotte High School.  Note: Central High was an unofficial named, never formally adopted for the school at 9 th and Minnesota.

1928 - School officially named Wyandotte High School.

1934 - Fire consumed Kansas City High School.  After this high schools students attended in different buildings.  The March 4, 1934. K.C. Star article refers to the high school as "Wyandotte High School."

1937 - After the fire, a new high school (Wyandotte High School) was built at 25th & Minnesota under President Franklin D Roosevelt's WPA Plan.  The new high school continued into the next century and still serves as a high school in the community in 2004.

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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. 80, Twenty five room brick exclusive of offices and cloak rooms, northwest corner of Ninth Street and Minnesota Avenue.  G. E. Rose, Principal; J. E. Kammeyer, Asst. Principal.

17th Annual Report of the Board of Education of the City of Kansas City, Kansas for the Year 1902 and 1903:  p. 117-118 - List of 1902 and 1903 graduates. 

22nd Annual Report of the Board of Education of the City of Kansas City, Kansas for the Year 1906, 1907 and 1908: p. 44, Forty-room brick.  Ninth Street and Minnesota Avenue (end of information in this boundary report).

Ward Boundaries

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HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES

Class of 1887:  Birdie (Colvin) Beard, Ollie (Colvin) Bougher, Carrie (Asher) Carroll, Mary Donnelly, Carrie Drisko, Mary Malone, Sophia (Wuest) Richert, Mellie (Horstman) Sorter, Rose Walker, Sallie (Lindsey) White, Elizabeth (CLark) Hobson

Class of 1888:  Hattie Ball Barber, Adelaide Cornell Blaker, Chalres Blood, Bettie Chance, Jessie Griest, Flora Garlick Helwig, Georgiana Smith Hobbs, Minnie Walters Ochs, Anna Tozier Prince, Anne Randles, Vivian Reed, Mary Shine

Class of 1889:  Beulah Bowling, Jennie Allison Boyd, Minnie Brannon, Susie Betton Campbell, Ella Trembly Connell, Howard Cornell, Winona McCormick, Will Overton, Maud Shafer Pearson, Mary Picken, Joseph Spake, Junie Holmes Stout, Sara Cosgriff, Mary J. Dreyer, Flora Gableman, Ida Boucher Gloyne, Flora Garlick Helwig, Anna Judd, Lydia Spake Taylor, Effie Thomas, Louise Wuest Treat, Grace Tomlinson, Lulu Hollbrook Weaver, Jennie Wherrell, George Yeager

Class of 1890:  Earl Bartlett, Hattie Smart Bishop, Lily Bransford, Nettie Warren Brunner, Laura Case, Eva Donnelly, Rose Donnelly, Dora Evans, Nettie Harris, Clarence Helwig, Herbert Howell, Lawrence Mason, Stella Reed McCamish, Nettie O'Donnell, Mamie Porter, Jennie Post Smith

Class of 1891:  Maurice Alden, Mildred Barnes, Cora E Evans, Harry Friedberg, Marguerite D Haskell, Clafford F Kroh, William H Mason, Jennie McFaden, Grace McGret, Benjamin E Northrup, Ella Plank, Florence Haight Ritter, Marrie Hughes Walker

Class of 1892:  Benjamin V Andrews, Pearl L Arnett, Dott Bradford, Flora Fitschen Murdock, Harry O Newkirk, Myron E Ela, Julia E Fitzgerald, Eva Small Grant, Paulie Mattfeldt Hopkins, M Louie Jones, Hallie Lasley, Louise McGrew, Sue Griest Pratt, Blanche S Richards, Nellie M Richards, R Nellie Gableman Roberts, Alice Corey Smith, Maggie Hedrick Smith, Bertha Youkum Westfall

Class of 1893:  Annie Marie O'Brien Angel, Frank Cawthorn Barbour, Helen Cecil Cosgriff, John Erwin Craig, William M A Douglass, George French, Leonar Reed Husted, Catherine Finn Kelley, Catherine Lasley, Agnes McMain, Robert Patterson, Lena Perle Price, Luella Price Randles, Alice Higgins Randles, Frank Scholflin, Helen Maud Buchan Schopflin

Class of 1894:  Myrtle Spurlock Allis, Sylvester Banks, Archie Boggs, Archie Chapin, Mary Dougherty, Dora Garnier, Annette Gibbs Gledd, Alice Hendrickson Lind, Charles F Martin, Dorathea McDougal, Kate Murphy, Fred Rowland, Jessie M Shafer

Class of 1895:  Bea Bradford Bale, Elnora Bolser, Lena J Brown, Maud Cady, Claude Case, Elizabeth M Chinn, Sara AMelia Chinn, Pauline Pitman Coburn, Amy Pearl Ferdon Couch, Emmeline Fecht, George Holsinger, Belle Stottler Jaggar, Ormond Kroh, Frances Landers, Susia Osborne Lidicky, Carrie Mooney, Edmund Emmett O'Brian, Helen Theilin, Inez Wolfe

Class of 1896:  Bertha Ball, Mattie Brenner, Mary Brown, Hulda Lundell Campbell, Jose Tomas Canales, Thomas N H Collins, Edith Griest Cooper, Sarah Ferguson, M Isabel Frush, Arthur Hollbrook, Frances Isbell Hopkins, Flora Judd, Lillian Luscombe, Edna McCamish, Chas Willard Newton, Alice Mary Pease, Annie Lauri Mason Sargen, Ada Swartz Stack, Sultana Stevenson, Gussie Swearingen, Fannie Day Tyson

Class of 1897:  Helen Sower Adams, Nettie Mae Austin, Lida Pauline Heisler, Clara Hendrickson Westameyer, L A Miriam Sherwin Brogan, Victor Craig, Frederick Cree, BEssie Otterman Davis, Daisy Dean, Katherine Donnelly, Rosella Duer, Clayton French, Georgia Gille, Luella Honora Graves, Lucile May Hail, Alta Haynes, Emma Hoskanson, Isabel Jefferson, Clarence Kinley, Ethel Adelaide Litchfield, Anna Gertrude McClellan, Grace Evelyn Milan, Cassie Olney, Florence Porter, Charles Pugh, Lucie Elizabeth Richter, Anna May Straight, Cora Thackeray, Anna Armstrong Youngman, Charles L Youngman

Class of 1898  George Allis, Carrie Armentrout, Edna Barnes, Dyssie Beattie, Bernice Bernhard, Archie Blood, Mamie Blue, Madge Buchanan, Celia Peterson Burton, Alice Butler, Roy Cable, Frank Cable, AGnes Cooper, Georgia Kroh Cornell, Daisy Criswell, Charles Dail, Myrtle Lasley, Nettie Oliver Lind, Alice Metcalf, John Middaugh, Jessie Taylor McCully, Anna McDougall, Anna Nelson, Margaret Paton, Louise Reynolds, Jessie Thompson Sartin, Edith E. Scott, Emma Schaich, Nannie Smallwood Schaich, Charles Davies, Nellie Dodds, Robert Dougherty, Cora Elliott, Raleigh Fife, Marguerite Garnier, Emma Gille, Frankie Griest, Rachel Hall, Ella Wingert Sherman, Margaret SMall, Vesta Smith, Lee Trussell, Helen Pratt Twiss, Orna Tyler, Clara Wagenseller, Nellie Willner, William Winship

Class of 1899:  Edgar Ray Adams, Georgia Pearl Angevine, Daisy Baker, Jessie Baker, John Bayne, William BEattie, Gertrude Boggs, Sylvia Burley, Priscilla Priestly Chinnery, Nellie Corbin, Elsie Dieterich, Percy Drisko, Gertrude Elliott, Will Ferguson, Lulu French, Ma Fairburn Grayson, Aileen Harvey Hammond, Benjamin Hogin, Edna Holsinger, Maud Holsinger, Said Hovey, Gertrude Jackson, Albert Johnson, Roman Kramer, J L R Marsh, Nell McDonnell, S Ralph Nelson, Mildred Newman, Laura Olney, Guy Averill Ptttman, Bessie Ralston, Lydia Relgen, Bertha Schall, Mary SMall, Alta Smith, Florence Snell, Belle Stewart, Elizabeth St. John, Ethel Taylor, Roy Vickers, Clarence Wagenseller, Jennie Walton, Fred Weston, Nellie Williams, Pearl Wilson

Class of 1900:   Alice Andrews, Paul Armstrong, Lilliam Arnold, Georgia Baker, Ethel Benson, Mayme Clark, A Lloyd Clotfelter, Katherine Collins, James Cosgriff, William Deither, Mary Doyle, Mabel Duer, May Hedrick, Huldah Heisey, Frances Henning, Annie Herman, Richard Higgins, William Hinton,Mary Hogan, Florence Hooker, Albert Huber, William Hudson, August Kaiser, Sarah Kersten, Nellie Kinahan, Mayme Klein, Frank Kline, Jessie Lasley, Charlie Lovelance, Stella McCamish, Della McKenzie, Bernadine Risse, Chloe May Roark, Cordia Roberts, Hattie Rotert, Lillie Viola Rotert, Samuel Stewart Jr, Emma Sorenson, Curlis Trussel, Bessie Turner, Ethel Vaughan, Genevieve Williams, Mary Ellen Wood, Carrie Yoakum

Class of 1901:  Ethel Anderson, Nellie Austin, Will Betts, Henry Boyle, Agnes Brill, Charles Broadbent, Philip Brown, Louise Cheney, Gerald Cruise, Maree Darrough Dowdal Davis, Mattie Davis, Linnie Dodds, Birdie Downs, Andrew Fawcett, John Flynn, John Frances, Grace Frye, Cora Fuenfstick, Mary Garlick, Chester Griest, Frances Haskell, Ethel Herron, Arthur Hewitt, Eva Hirst, Ella Holmes, Fred Holmes, Arthur Isaacson, Charles Isbell, Alice Jenkins, Lottie Kaulbach, Maude Keller, Ed Kenneth, Clara Keplinger, Herbert Kroh, Bessie Lee, Mattie McConnell, George McDougall, Jessie May, Mamie Miller, Corwin Moore, Verdia Nash, Walter Paton, Olive Perley, Helen Richter, Twila Russell, Mabel Schaak, Bessie Selby, Grace Shafer, Harriet Trembly, Pearle Trickett, May Tyler, Elsie Wagner, Grace Wagner, Harriet Whitaker, Andrew Wilson, Maude Wright               

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

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