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Wyandotte County, Kansas




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Lewis School

One-Room Schoolhouse

Lewis School in ArgentineLocation:  Argentine (NW corner of High Street and Dudley Avenue - Aug 23, 1921 Topping Valuation Company)

Named for:  Mr. J. J. Lewis

Architectural Blue Prints and/or Plot Plan of School Building

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History of the Schools:  Part X-Clara Barton, John Fiske, Junction Elementary, J.J. Lewis, Thomas Edison and Carlisle Schools
Silver City Record, Kansas City, KS, 1977

The Lincoln Elementary School formally at 24th and Strong Avenue was the Black School of Argentine for many years.  There was however, also the J. J. Lewis Elementary School for the Blacks. The school was located in the old Hadley addition to Argentine and may have been located on 37th Street.  The school was in operation from approximately 1910 until its closing in 1931.  Lorena Kaiser was the last instructor.  The school was named in honor J. J. Lewis, a long time Black teacher and Principal in Wyandotte County.  It is credited with being the first school to be named in honor of a Wyandotte County educator. 

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Profiles of African American Personalities in Wyandotte County, Kansas


1911 - One-story, frame building on northwest corner of High Street and Dudley Avenue, in Block 10.  Located in southwest part of Argentine. 

Named for Mr. J. J. Lewis, in 1921 the oldest teacher in point of service in the city, came to Wyandotte in 1884 at the age of twenty-three.  He had been a furnace maker in New Orleans, but turned to teaching because he was unable to find other work.  His first year was spent at the colored school under the supervision of Porter Sherman.  Mr. Lewis is probably the only Kansas City teacher ever to have a school named for him.  When a school was built in 1910 or 1911 for the colored children of Hadley's Addition in southwest Argentine, it was named the Lewis School.  Kansas City, Kansas Public School History, Nellie McGuinn, 1961

1921 - Lewis School, taken in from the county. 

1927 - April:  To be combined with Lincoln School at 24th and Strong.  Children to attend Lincoln.

1928 - January 16:  Building bought by Lloyd Hoke.


1911-13 - Gertrude Lankford / 1914-15 - Lottie Tipton / 1915-18 - Amanda Gillespie / 1918-21 - Jessie Neely / 1921-22 - Virginia Elliott / 1922-23 - Dale Bougess / 1923-25 - Maggie Frye / 1925-26 - Cornelia Henderson / 1926-27 - Laurenia Kiser

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Building Description:
General Dimensions: 24'x31' with hall addition 6'x12'
No. of Stories:  one
Height Story:  9'9"
Number of Rooms:  one and cloak room
Type Construction:  frame
Date Built:  estimated 1916
Seating:  44
Foundation:  brick piers
Walls:  drop siding on 2x4 studs
Roof:  composition on 2x4 rafters
Floor:  V.G.   Y.P. on 2x10 joist
Inside Finish:  m&b ceiling on wall and ceiling
Heating:  stove (no ventilating)

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"There was another elementary school located in the same area as Booker T. Washington School, known as the J. J. Lewis School (named to honor the first principal of Douglass Grade School).  This school was located at Highland and Dudley Streets near the Argentine District.  Like its neighboring school, Washington Elementary School, very little was found concerning the history of the J. J. Lewis Elementary School.  It was known that in 1926, Amanda Gillespie was the first principal of the Lewis School.  Later information revealed that Virginia Elliott also was a principal.  It was in the mid 1920's the J. J. Lewis School was closed and the building was razed soon after that period.

Since the elementary schools for Black children were scattered throughout the Kansas City, Kansas school district, the Board of Education was faced with the problem of getting those children who had completed the upper elementary grades, to the only junior high for Black children.  This junior high school was located in the extreme northeast part of the city.  A contract was awarded to a Black business man, Mr. W. R. McCallop, to transport children by bus to the Northeast Junior High School.  Mr. McCallop had a fleet of small yellow buses that transported Black children from all parts of the city.  This fleet of school buses could be seen as far south as Shawnee Mission, Kansas.  Mr. McCallop was one of the few Black persons who lived in the Shawnee Mission district.  His children had to attend Northeast Junior High School, since Shawnee Mission made no effort to educate Black children in the 1920's and 1930's.  The McCallop buses could be seen in the west bottoms of Kansas City, Missouri, the east bottoms of Kansas City, Kansas and they traveled as far west as Edwardsville, Kansas.  As mentioned previously, busing is nothing new to the Kansas City, Kansas school system."

A History of Black Education in Kansas City, Kansas, Readin', 'Riting, 'Rithmetic by William W. Boone, March 1986 (Copy located in the KCKs Public Library, 625 Minnesota Ave, KCKs, 913-551-3280).  The school district is sincerely grateful to Mr. William W. Boone, Ms. Josephine C. Vandiver, and Mr. Jackson C. Van Trece for their research and preparation of this material.   (Check the Biographies Index on the site map to view bios on these three people.)

This represents an excerpt from the manuscript/book as it was presented, including terminology used at the time of the writing.  All attempts have been made to reproduce the spelling, capitalization and layout of the original manuscript/book as much as possible.

Disclaimer:  The written historical perspectives online at this web site, and web sites to which links are provided, reflect the view of the author(s)/(creator(s) which are protected under the rights of free speech; and do "not" necessarily reflect the views of the Kansas City, Kansas Board of Education.

Copyright Notice: In keeping with the policy of providing free information on the Internet, this data may be used by non-commercial entities for research/information. These electronic pages cannot be reproduced in any format for profit or other gain. Printing for personal research use is encouraged, as long as this "copyright notice" is kept with the copy. Other use, including publication, storage in a retrieval system, or transmission by electronic, mechanical, or other means requires the written approval of the author(s) of this works.

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Contact the History Webmaster - Patricia Adams

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

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