[School History Logo]

The History of our Public Schools
Wyandotte County, Kansas




Site Navigation: History Homepage / Biographies Index / Building Index of Libraries and Schools / Ethnic History of Schools / FAQs - Did You Know? / First Things First / Historian's Roundtable of Wyandotte County / Maps and Land Records / One-Room Schoolhouses / Picture Gallery / Publications, Online Transcriptions, Links / Queries / Copyright/Disclaimer

Contact the History Webmaster - Patricia Adams

Page Divider Bar

Stowe School

Stowe School - 1905

Picture Gallery

Other Names:  Walker, B. K. Bruce

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

Architectural Blue Prints and/or Plot Plan of School Building

New Item Cassroom Climate and the Nature of the Child and An Elementary School Looks at the Fundamental for Children in Our Time by Principal E. I. Bassett (written between 1940 and 1957)


Blue Flash Bar Page Divider


June 1, 1859 - Book of Patents, Page 67 - Patent dated June 1, 1859, Competent Class A, No. 161 on Plat.  Grounds registered to Matthew R. Walker, head of a family consisting of himself, Lydia B. Walker, Adaline Walker, Sarah L. Walker, Thomas G. Walker, Malcolm Walker, Percy L. Walker, Clarence F. Walker and Lillian Walker.

Pursuant to the provisions, of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th articles of the treaty concluded on the 31st day of January, 1855, between the Commissioners on the part of the United States and the Wyandott tribe of Indians, the following allotment of land has been made to Matthew R. Walker, head of a family as aforesaid to wit:  Commencing on the North East corner of the South West quarter of Section 34, Township 10, S. of Range 25, East, thence West 17 poles, South 80 poles, West 63 poles South 57 poles, West 65 poles, East 80 poles, South to the West bank of the Missouri River, thence up along the same with the meanders thereof to a point due East of beginning, West to beginning, containing 289.27 acres, said allotment of land being situated in what is known as the Wyandott Reserve in Kansas, situated in the fork of the Missouri and Kansas Rivers.

Now, Know ye, That the United States of America, does give and grant the tract of land above described unto the said Matthew R. Walker head of a family as aforesaid, and to his heirs and assigns forever, as an absolute and unconditional grant in fee simple. To have and to hold the same forever.

Signed by President James Buchanan
J. B. Leonard, Secretary
J. N. Granger, Recorder of the General Land Office

1894:  August – A new school was established in two rented rooms on the northeast corner of Fourth and Walker. J. J. Brass from Bruce School was to be the principal.  The first faculty was J J Bass, Mary E Porter, Carrie Davis, J J Thomas. It was called the "Walker Street School Colored Annex." Another name for this school in 1894 was the B. K. Bruce School.

1895:  August - Two rooms were not enough.  September - One room had to go on half days. 160 pupils enrolled with only seats for 106.  

September 16 - 160 pupils at Walker Street School colored annex. Seats for 106.  

September 23 - A Mr. Searles rented the whole building for $23 a month.  

October 7 - School is ready for occupancy.

1896:  April – School closed one week due to smallpox.

1898:  Walker patrons complained of facilities.  They were promised better within a year.

1899:  April 4 - A Mr. Simpson and wife deeded to the property Milo Hempe.  (Lots 1 to 4, Block 9, old Wyandott. Located on Virginia Avenue between First and Second Streets. Date also given as March 20.)  Milo Hempe sold the same property to Board of Education for a school site.  

April 10 - Board approved plans by Architect W. W. Rose for four-room brick building. Address shown as 109 Richmond Ave. (Rose and Peterson Architects, 1994)

1895-1909: W. W. Rose, Architect - Two of the most impressive schools from this period are Stowe Elementary (1899), with its rich display of materials and textures, and Argentine High School (1907-08), the sole educational structure designed by Rose that was built entirely of stone.  

May 8 - J. W. Ferguson awarded building contract.  

May 15 - Houses on grounds had been occupied temporarily as a hospital (Bethany and then Douglass).  Houses destroyed by fire under supervision of chief of fire department.  

June 5 - School is called Stowe in honor of Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin.

No date given for PTA organization. Group of mothers met at close of school in 1900.  An organization was formed, which later grew into PTA; Mrs. Julia E. Smith, president.

1903:  May - Addition needed. Crowded

1905:  June 1 - Stowe, colored school in the northeast section, had to have a four-room addition. S. J. Davidson was awarded the contract on June 8, 1905. (Nellie McGuinn history)

1907-08:  Grounds improved. Sanitary facilities installed.

1908:  Opposition to transferring older children to another school.  School crowded.

1910-11:  Stowe had nine rooms and one portable.

1920:  Added to playground.  At a later date, consideration was given to bussing students from Stowe to Major Hudson, but opposition from area residents discouraged this action.

1970:  Replaced by Benjamin Banneker School on 4th Street. Banneker also replaced Kealing School and part of Dunbar.

1972:  Building closed and razed. Land transferred to the city for neighborhood park. Pupils transferred to Banneker Elementary School.

1974: Agreement signed between the City, Bethany Hospital and School district whereby district sold, Abbott, Stowe and Prescott property to the city for park purposes and the district was able to acquire land for M E Pearson School to replace Prescott.

2003:  Near the land that the Stowe School sat on, today exists a housing project called "Juniper Gardens", bordered by Richmond Ave. and Walker Ave. 

News article on Juniper history


1894-1905 - J. J. Bass, Walker principal (school called Stowe in 1899) / 1905-07 - A J Neely / 1907 - Elisabeth Porter, head teacher / 1908-12 - Elizabeth Porter / 1912-22 - Trussie Smothers / 1924-26 - S J James / 1926-40 - Florence Kiser / 1940-57 - E I Bassett / 1957-69 - Clarence Glasse / 1969-72 - Nolen Porchia

Blue Flash Bar Page Divider

"If a school is to become famous for being located on a street of many, names, Stowe Elementary would be well known for that reason.  It was located on Second Street and Virginia Avenue, or later, Second Street and Richmond Avenue.  Some say that Stowe was located on Walker Avenue near Fourth Street, however, actual records indicate it was located at Second Street and Richmond Avenue.  Stowe School was also known as a school with many chimneys.  The rooms in the original building were individually heated.  This accounted for at least six of the chimneys which towered over the roof of Stowe Elementary School.

The school was constructed in 1899.  There were only four rooms, four teachers for the eight grades that were housed in the building.  The first principal of Stowe Elementary School was Mr. J. J. Base (who also taught classes).  The other faculty members at that time were Miss Mary E. Porter, Miss Carrie Davis and Mrs. J. J. Thomas.  It should be noted that married women were employed as regular teachers in the late 1800's and early 1900's.  The policy of not hiring married women as regular teachers came later.  Fortunately, that policy (no married women) was finally abolished.

Stowe School was named for the famous American novelist, Harriet (Elizabeth) Beecher Stowe (1811-1896).  The old 1899 building had a wooden interior, including all the stairways.  It is believed that this is the only school that had three annexes constructed to accommodate the constantly increasing enrollment.  Annex #1 included one room and a vestibule.  This annex would seat 42 students.  The cost for construction was $1,936.04.  Annex #2 was the same size as Annex #1.  The seating was the same and the cost for construction was $2,195.00.  Annex #3 was identical to Annexes #1 and #2, however, the total cost for this construction was $2,168.00.  These annexes were wooden buildings with pot-bellied stoves and no toilets or lights.

During the 69 years of existence, Stowe School had many famous teachers on its faculty.  They were dedicated, and were ranked very high as outstanding community persons.  Such people as Sherman D. Scruggs, Trussie Smothers, Corine Lightbody, Minnie Lou Tucker, Cora Black and Florence Kiser were part of the very excellent faculty.  These persons could have easily been names in a "Teachers Hall of Fame."

Two students, Sherman D. Scruggs and William H. Towers were among the most outstanding men ever to attend Stowe School.  Sherman D. Scruggs taught at Stowe School.  He was also the first Black supervisor of Black schools to be appointed by the superintendent, Mr. F. L. Schlagle.  Later, after receiving his Ph.D., Dr. Scruggs became the president of Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri.

William H. Towers was the second Black ever to be elected to the legislature of the State of Kansas.  He received his law degree from Kansas University.  He practiced law in Kansas City, Kansas and he became the assistant city attorney for Kansas City, Kansas.  Many legislative bills were introduced by Attorney William H. Towers that benefited the entire city of Kansas City, Kansas.  Attorney Towers was one of the attorneys for the plaintiff in the nationally acclaimed court case in Topeka, Kansas, Brown versus the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas.  He was responsible for state aid that the Kansas City, Kansas school district received for the construction of the new Sumner High School.  He also encouraged the legislature through his legal expertise, the improvement and construction of the Seventh Street traffic-way.  Attorney Towers was a graduate of Sumner High School.

On July 24, 1968 at 7:45 p.m., a fire was reported in the Stowe Elementary School.  The building was damaged extensively.  Fortunately the building was not occupied.  Shortly after the fire, the building was razed."

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 a 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.

Blue Flash Bar Page Divider

15th Annual Report of the Board of Education of the City of Kansas City, Kansas for the year Ending June 30, 1901:  p. 86, Five grades and six B, four room brick, southeast corner of Virginia and Second Street.  Boundary - Beginning corner of Eighth and Freeman, east and north to city limits.  J. J. Bass, Principal

Ward Boundaries

Page Divider Bar

site search by freefind advanced

Download Adobe Acrobat ReaderLinks using reader are marked ( pdf ).
Click icon to download reader.
Use browser's back button to return

Contact the History Webmaster - Patricia Adams

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

Visit the KCKs Public Schools Homepage