The third period in the history of the public schools of Monmouth begins with the erection of' the Central School building, the abolition of the principals, the placing of tue schools under a central management, the revision of the course of study, the establishment of the High School, and a reorganization and consolida­ tion of the entire school system.

Fifty-six years had now passed since the first school was opened, and Monmouth was well advanced in the third generation of its people. The school accommodations of the first generation consisted of a single building—a small frame structure containing only one room. The second generation, in addition to a building for the accommodation of colored children, had erected four ward buildings of plain but substantial architecture, each containing six rooms scantily but comfortably furnished. The third generation entered upon the task of erecting large, commodious buildings of modern architecture, equipped with modern ar- rangements of heating and ventilation, and with modern apparatus and appliances.

The Central School building was erected in 1S87-88 at a cost of $52,000, including grounds and furniture. William M. Allen of Peoria was the builder and T. O. Hamsher of Monmouth was superintendent of construction. The erection of this building was the first step in that great forward movement which paved our streets, lighted, watered and sewered our city, built churches, court house and many elegant residences, as well as increased our population by more than one-half. School was opened in tnis building September 3, 1888, all children above the fourth grade being accommodated. It was a great day in the history of the schools of Monmouth. The building was dedicated with elaborate ceremonies. Dr. Richard Edwards, superintendent of puolic instruction in Illinois; Dr. J. B. McMichael, the president of Monmouth College, and other gentlemen delivered able addresses, and the schools were fairly ushered into the third period of their existence. In 1899 a large and commodious building, the Harding school, was erected in the south part of the city, on Ninth avenue between Third and Fourth streets. It is well lighted, heated and furnished, capable of accommodating 400 pu­ pils, and is the pride of the people in that part of the city. The building is of brick, with stone trimmings and is a handsome structure. 0. W. Marble of Chicago was the architect, and Caldwell & Drake of Indianapolis were the builders. The date stone was set June 13, 1899, and the building accepted and opened for school work in September following.

The Garfield school, another handsome and convenient building, modern in every respect, was erected in 1902 on the site of the old school of the same name. Reeves & Baillie of Peoria were the architects of the building, and C. L. Barnes of Monmouth the builder. The con­ tract price was $25,774. The contract was awarded March 4, and the work of construction was begun at once so that the building will be ready for use by January 1, 1903.

The High School experiment begun under Miss Elizabeth Leighty with fifty pupils of an upper grammar grade nad proved so successful that in 1890 nearly 100 pupils were enrolled. On her resignation the board determined to employ a male principal and an additional teacher. W. D. McDowell, now a practicing physician in Chicago, was chosen principal, and the school continued to grow from year to year until the enrollment in 1901 had reached 307. To accommodate the work the district has authorized the erection of a High School building, which will probably be placed on the block on which the Central School stands. The High School now embraces five lines of study, each four years in length—one in English, one in Latin, one in Mathematics, one in Science and one in History, with one year in German and one in Greek. The first class was graduated from the High School in 1900, and consisted of nine members. They were: Misses Fannie Weir, Mabel Coates, Mary B. Sampson, Mabel Harrington, Bella Torrance, Sarah Regnier and Pearl Gilbert, and Messrs. W. H. Torrance and Ralph Webster. The members of this class formed the High School Alumni Association December 26, 1890, at a meeting held at J. M. Torrance's. The officers elected were: Presi­dent, Miss Pearl Gilbert; vice president, Miss Fannie Weir; secretary, Will Torrance; treasurer. Miss Mary Sampson.

The different school buildings were given their present names at a. meeting of the school board February 2, 1891. The North Ward school was named the Garfield school; me West Ward school the Willits school, in honor of Judge Elias Willits, a former member of the board; and the South Ward school was named Harding school in honor of Harry G. Harding, who was largely instrumental in securing the erection of the lirst school there. The small school on South Sixth street, called at first the Berwick street school, has since been given the name of the Lowell school.

The schools are now under the charge of Prof. B. F. Armitage as superintendent, with W. L. Hanson as principal of the High School. The members of the board of education are: Rev. Samuel Van Pelt, D. D., president; J. W. Sipher, F. W. Harding, O. S. French, D. W. Hare, Mrs. Anna Willits Pattee and Mrs. Mary Patterson. The teachers for the year 1902-03 are:

City Superintendent—B. F. Armitage.

High School—Principal, W. L. Hanson; Assistant. Principal, Miss Mary M. Findley; Science Department, R. S. Munford; Instructors, Mabel Aylsworth, Blanche Morrow, Ernest S. Dyer, Mrs. W. W. Brent, W. C. McCullough.

Central Building—Mima Ferguson, Rosanna M. Findley, Etta Stansbury, Myrtle Simmons, Lnella Peel, Bessie Clarke, Lena v. Howe, Nellie Shields.

Garfield School—Principal, Anna Reacock; Lydia Findley, Mynton L. Kerr, Harriet Harvey, Olive Gordon, Katherine Sherrick.

Willits School—Principal, Mary K. Wallace, Pearl Pollard, Clara P. Meginnis, Maud Main, Maud Misener, Minerva Wallace.

Harding School—Principal, Eliza T. Moses, Kate C. Ray, Lillian Juilinger, Mary M. Hunter. Delia Caldwell, Frances Blayney. Charlotte Hunter, Louise Anderson, Marion O. West,

Lowell School—Principal, Viola Bender: Mabelle Glenn.

Substitute Teachers—Mrs. Priscilla V. Brooks, Miss Mae Kerr.

Teacher of Drawing—Miss Jessie Buckner.

Teacher of Music—Miss Edith Sykes.


Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois

Submitted by the Webmaster

©Wini Caudell and Contributors

All Rights Reserved

Illinois Ancestors