[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

Noble Prentis Elementary School

Noble Prentis Elementary School

Noble Prentis Homepage

Location:  2337 S. 14th Street  (1 acre tract s.w. corner of s.e. 1/4, s.w. 1/4, Section 28, Township 11, Range 25)

Named for:  Noble Prentis, Author

Noble Prentis School, 14th and Gibbs Road, built by the City of Rosedale in 1911, at the West end of Dodd Street near the Western limits of Rosedale, Kansas. Four rooms were built at this time with a foundation that could handle 12 rooms when the needs of a growing city would require.  The name Noble Prentis was chosen in honor of a noted Kansan, editor, writer and historian. By 1950, a new 4-room building and activity room was erected. 1955, the classrooms were expanded on the second and third floors. "The Winding Valley and The Craggy Hillside", A History of the City of Rosedale, Kansas by Margaret Landis, Kansas City, Kansas, 1976

Picture Gallery

PTA History and Records (1914-1989) may be found in the Kansas Room at the KCKs Public Library, 625 Minnesota Avenue. 

Bar page divider

History by Serlena Wilhite Reynolds.

The school that was later to be Noble Prentis was started in the fall of 1910 in an old store building belonging to people named Snedeker.  It was an old yellow store building on the corner of 21st and Steele Road.  I was the only teacher and school was conducted along the lines of the Little Red country school house.  I had the first six grades.

The floor of the store was concrete and the dilapidated old desks, etc., that were allotted us were always tipping crazily.  Then some of the parents were sure their children would contact rheumatism sitting all day with their feet on a concrete floor so a quantity of unattached planks were laid on the concrete.  These at first were a godsend in anchoring the desks.  Soon, however, they all warped badly and the general effect was one of being at sea in a rocking boat -- only the sea was made of dust and came up in clouds as the boards stirred it.

Once a week we had to take out the floor and the furniture, sweep beneath the planks and move it back in.  This merely alleviated the condition and by early spring I had a throat condition so that I could only manage a whisper for several weeks.

Mr. George R. Rose was superintendent of the Rosedale schools at that time and he wanted us to call the school after Mr. Rose from whom the land for Noble Prentis was acquired, but I felt that since it was yellow -- though dingy -- it should be called the Yellow Hammer School, and so called it on my reports and as such it was popularly known in the neighborhood.

Noble PrentisThe next year we moved into the present building and, for reasons unknown to me, the board decided to call it the Noble Prentis School.  This was the fall of 1911.  We only had two rooms, as well as I can remember.  Abigail Newton can confirm or deny this.  I do know we had big heating stoves with big galvanized shields around them and what a time we'd have every morning thawing out the little children around it when the weather was cold.  But we had the most fun -- the children enjoyed it as much as we did.

Mr. Harding was appointed the janitor, but Mrs. Harding (a tiny, frail, little woman) did the greater part of the work and spent all her time there.  She helped us so much with the children and took such an interest in everything that went on.  Besides taking care of her husband, she was rearing two orphan grandchildren.  We often cooked a hot luncheon on top of our stoves.  I taught the primary room and Abbie Newton was the principal.  As I remember it, our 7th and 8th grades went to Rosedale.

They must have put on the first addition in the summer of 1912 because Miss Ada Shellington was added to our corps of teachers that fall.  In 1913 we added another teacher so that we might keep all our grades at Noble Prentis.  Then on October 4th, I married and at Mr. Vaughn's request (successor to Mr. Rose) tried to keep on with my teaching but my husband's work as out northeast and I was just physically unable to make the trip every day.  I do not remember the names of the teacher who came to Noble Prentis then.  Miss Jones took my room.

All other additions to the school were made after I left, but not until 1920, 2921, and 1922.  In 1921-22 I was present of the Parent-Teachers.  Although I had no children, I was always very interested in the school -- perhaps because I started it.    Helen Stomp was the principal in 1921, and a most excellent one.

From Abigail Newton, former principal:  History of Kansas by Noble L. PrentisThe school was not annexed to Kansas City, Kansas until several Noble L. Prentisyears later, probably 1918 or 1920.  When teaching at the Whitmore School in Rosedale, I boarded at the home of William Ball, President of the Rosedale School Board.  His daughter, Elsie, was the primary teacher at Whitmore School for years.  During the construction of the two new school buildings, yet unnamed, Mr. Ball said to Elsie and me, one evening preceding a board meeting, "Girls, suggest names of prominent Kansans for the new buildings."  A Kansas history written by Noble Prentis was lying on the table, so I suggested that name.  Elsie suggested "Snow" in honor of Chancellor Francis Huntington Snow of the University of Kansas, who had once attended a Rosedale school.  The Board adopted the name of Snow.



1910 - February:  One of two sites.  Located on Roe tract west of city.  Plans for two-room school drawn by N P Nielson.  Ground donated by Mr. Roe.

School first housed in old yellow store building at 21st and Steele Road owned by people named Snedeker.   When superintendent suggested calling school "Roe," a Miss Wilhite said should be "Yellow Hammer."  Named used in reports and in neighborhood.  The floor was concrete and desks were old and tipped crazily.  Parents objected to concrete floors.  Planks were laid and desks anchored to the planks.  Boards were warped and the room looked like a sea with rocking boats.  Once a week, the furniture and floor were moved so the concrete floor could be swept.

1911 - January: School on Roe site named Noble Prentis in honor of prominent Kansas historian.  Suggestion for name made by Abbie Newton, Principal of first school.  Located about 14th and Gibbs.  Had stoves with galvanized shields around them.  The stoves were used for preparing hot lunches.  Mr. and Mrs. Harding were the janitors.  Six grades. Serlena Wilhite, teacher.  Other children to Rosedale. 

1912 - Addition of two upstairs rooms, as there were three teachers in 1912 and four in 1913.

1914 - December 11:   First PTA. Mrs. John McMahon first president.  15 charter members.

1920-22 - Another addition.  Became part of Kansas City, Kansas school system.

1927 - PTA hosted a picnic at Fairyland Park with 120 in attendance, and served dinners at the voting precincts on Election Day.  The school started a scholarship fund.  Noble Prentis was a "superior school" and hosted visitors from Vance, Welborn, Argentine High, Junction, Frances Willard and Mark Twain. 

The PTA Council opened a "thrift shop" (city-wide project) in the Wyandotte County Courthouse.  The money went to having garments cleaned and fumigated, and help furnish milk daily for 10 undernourished children.

1931:  PTA took children to clinics for fall examinations, and had a cafeteria luncheon which gave proceeds to the mutual help fund.

1937 - September:  Kindergarten established.  November 20:  New addition dedicated.  Four rooms and activity room.  Old building to be removed. 

1939 - Five teachers, 126 students, 100 PTA members.  Committee was appointed to secure equipment for a public playground for the community, which the PTA sponsored during the summer months.  (The Board would refuse this happening later.)

1940-1945 - During the war years:  Defense bonds and stamps were purchased.  Waste grease was collected.  Volunteers were there for sugar rationing.  PTA dues were raised from 15 cents to 25 cents.  Workers turned in $3,037 for the 3rd War Loan.  Vaccinations continued, as did dental examinations.  KCKs was the first city in the state to introduce Cancer Cure Talks.   Annual Fairyland Picnic continued.  PTA asked for Bibles for the classrooms. 

1950's:  Hot lunches were not available.  Savings stamps were on sale every Tuesday.  Enrollment was over 350.

1954 - March: New Noble Prentis at 14th and Gibbs not in city, but in school district. Old four-room brick building to be razed. 1950 addition to remain. Second floor to be added. Addition on south and east. L-shaped. Front on Gibbs. Kindergarten and activity rooms, office, health room and library - $270,000. Enrollment had doubled in ten years. Raymond E Meyn, architect. Total of 13 rooms.

1955 - December 5. School occupied. All day sessions after three years on one-half days.

bef 1962 - Old brick building razed. "Schools in KCKs in Years of Change, 1964-86," by O. L. Plucker, Superintendent Emeritus, June, 1987

1972 - January:  a Mexican American Folk Dancing Group under the direction of Miss Rose Marie Moreno presented a series of dances.  Two representatives of the Narcotics Division presented a film on drugs.

1984 - September 1:  Major Hudson joined Noble Prentis.  Major Hudson was divided into three schools.  Walkers from Greystone to 10th & Shawnee Rd., including side streets off Shawnee Rd. were to go to Noble Prentis.  From Mill Street to Southwest Blvd would go to Frank Rushton.  From Southwest Blvd to 14th & Roe would go to T A Edison.

2001 - Voters approved a proposed $120 million bond issue at the Municipal Election Tuesday (April 3, 2001) to air-condition schools, improve technology, and make other upgrades to schools and public libraries. Noble Prentis was part of Phase I, which was completed in the summer of 2001.


1910-16 - Abigail Newton / 1916-19 - Pearl Sperry / 1919-20 - Helena Stomp / 1920-21 - Lola Austin or Helena Stomp / 1921-24 - Helena Stomp / 1924-25 - W W Thomas / 1925-42 - Abigail Lovelace / 1942-47 - Winifred Rippey / 1947-53 - Esther Jacobs / 1953-62 - Ivy Howard / 1962-71 - Helen Boner / 1971-73 - James Thornton / 1973-74 - Frank Scott / 1974-81 - Loren Pendergraft / 1981-84 - Kathrine Selma / 1984-89 - Wayne Winkler / 1989-90 - Betty Clune-Martin / 1890-94 - Laura Swartz / 1994-95 - Donna Hughes / 1995-99 - Elaine Hicks / 1999-2009 - Theresa Schneweis / 2009 - James Poplau

The  picture below is at the courtesy of Kathleen Hontz, Nurse at Morse School.

Noble Prentis - 1918 Class

Page Divider Bar

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: 02-Jan-2012

Visit the KCKs Public Schools Homepage