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School History

School District 1 (T38)

    The original order for the formation of School District 1, Boone Country, was issued April 19, A.D. 1872 by Samuel P. Bollman, County Superintendent.  It was directed to Albert Dresser: "This is to notify you of the formation of District One Boone County, composed as follows, viz.: Sections 21, 22, 23, 26, 27, 34, 35, 14, 15, of Twp. 20 R 6 with such fractional parts of adjoining sections as may be now inhabited."  The first meeting held for election of officers and becoming corporate in law as on May 6, A.D. 1872 at the county seat (then called Hammond) now Albion by act of the Legislature of Nebraska.  W. J. Nelson was elected moderator, A. Dresser, director, George C. Crites, treasurer.  At this meeting it was also voted to petition the County Superintendent for the enlargement of the district boundaries as follows: "for extension of boundaries of District 1 to embrace all lands within the following boundaries: On N by N twp line of twp 20, on E by E line of Boone County, on S by S line of twp 20, and on W by sectional line W of sections 5, 8, 17, 20, 29 and 32 and E of sections 6, 7, 18, 19, 30 and 31 of twp 20 R 6."  These boundaries were approved May 10, 1872.

    The Second frame house in Albion was built in 1872 by Elizabeth Rice on the NW1/4 of Sec. 22. This served as the first school house with her daughter, Miss Sarah Rice, as the first teacher.  Six to eight pupils attended the the teacher's salary was $20 a month.  

    The first school house built in 1872 was located east of the Albion Feed Yard on the corner of Second and State Streets and was lated used by an implement dealer.  Lon Gilbraith was the teacher.  It cost less than $400 which included both site and building.  

    In order that the boys and girls of Albion's first residents might learn at least the three R's, a larger school was built.  Albion is situated in District No. 1, SW1/4 Sec. 22 Tsp 20 R 6; there was no district town school, but this new building was located conveniently so that it would satisfy the needs of the community.  It was built in 1873 at a cost of $1,300 and was the first frame school house in the county.  John Peters was the director of the district, and Mrs. E.M. Weitzel and H.O. Smith were teachers.  The wages were $50 per month.  There were 155 children of school age; of these, 63 were enrolled and 52 were in regular attendance.  There were 172 days of school taught.  The state apportionment that year was $43.25 for 29 pupils. 

    Mrs. Chas. Culver (Sadie Williamson) was one of the first teachers.  She was educated in Bowling Green, Kentucky and Lennox College, Hopkinton, Iowa.  In the summer of 1880 or 1881 she taught 12-15 little folks in a one-room school building which later became the Odd Fellows Hall.  

    In 1882 the Congregational Church was dedicated, and for several years it was rented by the school district.  Mrs. Culver taught the smaller children in the basement, and Mrs. Wm. Weitzel taught the older children upstairs.  

    Because the public school could not accommodate all the children, several private schools sprang up.  The Albion Private School was started September, 1881 by Rev. J.A. Hungate.  The number of scholars enrolled was 45 with the average attendance somewhat less.  Rev. Hungate was assisted by Miss Clara C. Cook and Miss Edna Davis.  The building used was the Baptist Church which furnished very commodious and convenient room.  The work done by this school was highly commended.  Another item from a newspaper of 1881 states: "Mr. Smith informs the News that he now has 70 scholars in attendance with more to come."  In 1883 a private school was started by Mr. Bowker.  He taught the primary scholars, and Rev. Cressman taught the advanced students.  These students would have been taught in the public school if there had been the room.  

    A school site was selected at a meeting in April, 1883.  The board was instructed to purchase a block just west of Mr. Cook's on Fifth Street.  It was quite obvious that more teachers were needed as they now had 42 in each room.  In April, 1884 a new building was discussed.  The one objection was that the law did not permit them to vote in a large enough mill levy to build.  There was $1600 in the treasury and a bond was voted in May for $5000.  A committee of three men, J.C. Mann, Loren Clark, and J.S. Armstrong, were appointed to work with the board for a new building.  In June, 1884 a resolution was passed to built a two-story structure 40x70 in size and divided into 4 rooms.  The walls were to be 12" solid brick with 16" pilasters, with a solid brick wall through the center.  

    Mr. Wm. Lang of Albion was the architect.  A contract was let to the Van Lien Moore and Spaecker Company of Blair for the sum of $8500, to be completed by January 1, 1885.  Open house for "Albion's Pride" was held in February, 1885.  This building was the west half of the old North building where classes for all grades were held.  Mrs. Culver, Mrs. Weitzel and Prof. Foltz were teachers in the new classrooms.  

    A night school for adults who wished to extend their studies was started in 1887.  Subjects were common branches of bookkeeping and commercial law and about 35 adults attended.  

    Because of the increase in population, the school board in July, 1888 let a contract for building an addition to the 1885 structure.  The contract went to Wincote & Riley of Omaha for the sum of $9200.  By 1900 there were 96 Primary students 67 Intermediate, 33 Grammar and 36 High School operating in a two story building with 8 classrooms, 2 recitation areas, a laboratory and library.  There were 11 teachers instruction 12 grades.  Teachers were required to pass written examinations before the Country Superintendent, who at this time was Frank A. Barber.  

    Albion High School graduated its first class in 1890.  The graduating exercises were held at the Opera House.  It was one of the most pleasant occasions ever observed in Albion and one to be remembered.  Great pains had been taken to decorate the stage; it was a veritable bower of vines and flowers.  It presented a beautiful background for the five young ladies dressed in white and wearing flower ornaments.  The auditorium was filled to utmost capacity.  The members of that class were: Emily Bowman, Mae Farmer, Ida Tattersall, Leona Peters, and Mable Letson.  Awarding the diplomas was J.A. Price, secretary of the school board.  

    In 1907 the South building was added to the campus.  The primary grades were then moved there.  The voters of School District 1 appropriated $55,000 in bonds for the east High School building in 1913.  This left the whole North building for grades 3-8.  In 1925 vocational agriculture was added to the curriculum, and in 1926 the Vocational Agriculture-Manual Arts building was erected.  No further buildings were added.  In 1952 the North building was razed and the present grade school building and gymnasium were constructed.  

    The school newspapers have appeared under various headings through the years.  The "Scarlet and Cream", the first one, was a monthly production published by the seniors of the school and printed by the News press.  Its subscription rate was 10 a year!  It was followed by the "Billikin" and finally by the "Cardinal."

    Many organizations have functioned during the school's existence.  P.T.A. was first started in Albion in March , 1922 with approximately 300 members.  Other groups were the "A" club, an athletic club, the FFA or Future Farmers of America and its counterpart, the FHA or Future Homemakers of America.  Normal Training students were in FTA or Future Teachers of America until 1957 when Normal Training was no longer taught.  The Booster Club had promoted sportsmanship and pride among spectators at athletic events.  

    PMA, parents interested in promoting musical activities, somewhat replaces PTA.  Also added more recently are the German Club, Honor Society, FBLA or Future Business Leaders of America, Science Club, Stagemasters, SADD or Students against Drinking Drivers, and FCA or Fellowship of Christian Athletes.  

    In 1972 the condemnation of the south building forced the use of improvised, inadequate and off-campus facilities (Soil Conservation building, Episcopal church area, and 2 mobiles from the government).  This spurred a building promotion of an additional 1600 sq. ft. to the existing elementary building.  In the plan was housing for 3 Jr.-Sr. High science rooms (separated by accordion doors), 2 new classrooms, a storage area for band instruments and uniforms all north of a corridor formed between the new addition and the north gym wall.  To the southeast would be the music department, carpeted for acoustics, and separated by instructors' offices and practice cubicles, with no windows and having air-conditioning for summer activities.  Attached to the south of the present gym would be boys' and girls' locker rooms and a physical education gym (no seats) which could also serve as a cafeteria with addition to retractable tables and benches.  The heating would be from existing facilities.  The cost would be somewhat under $344,000, allowing for a cushion for such things as temporary construction and clearing of required space. 

    On May 8 the schoolboard voted to submit to the voters of District 1 a bond levy to build the proposed area.  The bonds would be issued by C. William Day Company of Omaha for 15 years.  In a June 6th election the proposal passed by a 91% affirmation.  Bids for clearance of the north area were let July 15 and work began September 20 with construction started in October.  One mobile unit was moved north to its permanent location and the other sold.  The contractor was C&R Engineering, Inc., low bidder out of 5, for $322,050 and a completion date of August 15, 1973.  

    Work progressed well, and the facilities were occupied at the opening of school.  The open house was observed September 16.  On October 8 the school board awarded a contract to A.W. Sheen of Kearney for $4644 to demolish the old south building and smooth the site.  

    By the 1980's the fire marshal was frowning on the High School building.  A vote for a building program was rejected 2 to 1 by the voters of the district in May, 1981.  But on January 18, 1983 the vote was reversed with 62.7% in favor of a $1.3 million bond issue to build a new high school in Albion, construction to begin in May.  February 7, the schoolboard issued $1.3 million in bonds with Chiles & Heider Company for 15 years at 8.72% with total interest possible amounting to $1,109,692.50.  A plan amounting to $470,000 which included $30,000 for razing the old building and an architectural fee of 7% of the cost (estimated at $91,000) presented by Architect Bill Schlaebitz for Clark Enerson Architectural Firm of Lincoln caused reconsideration as to ways to reduce the cost to 1,300,000.  On March 15 the schoolboard were shown a drawing by Mr. Rempe of the same firm, and legal opinion confirmed that the architectural fee could be paid from general funds, thus clearing the way for the letting of blueprints and specifications for board approval before May 2 for the $1.3 million figure.  

    The plans were accepted and let to contractors with 14 alternate specifications on May 9.  Because of the submission of only one bid, the alternatives were revised and a new opeing date of June 3 was set.  At that time Radec Constrction of Hartington, Nebraska offered the lowest bid of 10 for $1,280,300.  Dirt moving began June 23 and the Ag-shop building was demolished the week of July 6.  Work went so well that the new shop area was occupied in November.  By the week of July 16, the old high school was vacated and materials were moved to the new building.  The old fixtures were sold July 28 and the demolition of the building was begun August 6 by J. Myron Olson& Sons of Sioux City, Iowa for a bid of $34,444.  

    The completion of the 35,000 sq. ft. addition was substantially effected by August 1 with some minor installations remaining.  A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held August 22 at the south entrance as classes began in the new building.  Sunday, October 7, 1984 was the dedication and open house.  

    Gifts as memorials for several high school students have been used to add a flag pole, bench, marquee, and some trees to beautify the grounds of the new building.  

by June R. Bentley

Pages 130-132


School District 36 (T73)

    The first record of an original order being issued for the formation of a District 36 was one on February 14, 1880 addressed to H.V. Netzer given by Superintendent Wm. Weitzel.  The boundaries of this district were thus: Beginning at SE corner of Sec. 32 Twp 22 R 6, thence W to SW corner of Sec. 36 Twp 22 R 7, thence N to NW corner of Sec. 1 Twp 22 R 7, thence E to NE corner of Sec. 5 Twp 22 R 6, thence S to place of beginning.  There was a school board elected at a first meeting at the house of James Turnbull at 2:00 P.M., February 23, A.D. 1880; C.P. Byerly, director, B. Cotterman, moderator, and Jacob Widaman, treasurer.  

    Then on March 22, 1888 Superintendent E.A. Enright made this entry in the records; Upon proper petitions the territory of District 36 is today annexed to the territory of District 36 and the corporate and territorial existence of both are annulled.  The territory comprised in the consolidation is hereby organized into a new school district bearing the #36 and assuming the assets and liabilities of the former #36 and #63.  

    This then made necessary the second record of original order for the formation of District 35.  Superintendent E.A. Enright issued it on March 22, 1888 addressing it to James Stratton and Burt Cotterman.  The new boundaries now were this: Beginning at N1/4 stake in Sec. 21 Twp 22 R 6 and running W on the section line to NW corner of Sec. 20 Twp 22, R 6, thence N to NE corner of Sec. 18 Twp 22 R 6, thence W to NW corner of Sec. 13 Twp 22 R 7, thence S to SW corner of Sec. 13 Twp 22 R 7, thence W to NW corner of Sec. 22 Twp 22 R 7, thence S to SW corner of Sec. 22 Twp. 22 R 7, thence W to S1/4 stake on Sec. 21 Twp 22 R 7, thence S to S1/4 stake of Sec. 28 Twp 22 R 7, thence E to NW corner of Sec. 34 Twp 22 R 7, thence S to SW corner of Sec. 34 Twp 22 R 7, thence E to S1/4 (center) stake of Sec. 33 Twp 22 R 6, thence N to place of beginning.  Dr. Baxter presided at the organizational meeting which was held at Dutton's Hall in Petersburg on April 2, 1888 at 7:00 P.M. John F. Sheckler was elected director for 2 years, O. Alexander, moderator for 3 years and Julius Freegue(sp) treasurer for 1 year.  

    On Oct. 23, 1888 John Peters and Sarah E. Peters for $1 deeded to the district the following area in the NW1/4 of Sec. 25 Twp 22 R 7 for school purposes: Commencing at a point 80 ft. south of SW corner of Lot 8 Block 12 town of Petersburg, thence E 240 ft., thence S 300 ft., thence W 240 ft., thence N 300 ft., to place of beginning.  On this street in 1888 was erected a two-story building with five well-arranged school rooms.  The structure occupied one whole block on Widman and 2nd Streets and Leona Avenue.  

    The following account was taken from the Oct. 19, 1928 issue of the Petersburg newspaper: "Thursday morning, the 19th, about 3 o'clock shrieks of the fire whistle brought the community to the blazing public school building.  But the fire was already too far along to contain it.  The cause was not known for sure.  Possibly it may have been the explosion of the furnace for some reason as neighboring residents heard a loud noise and upon further inspection the furnace doors were found to be open.  Almost 40 tons of coal stored in the basement were lost.  Also $200 worth of new seats just installed a day or two before were burned.  The 40 year old building and it contents were insured for $5000."  

    The building was to be replaced.  In addition to the insurance, a levy placed upon the taxpayers 8 years prior in anticipation of a new building had accumulated about $35,000, but over half of that fund was tied up in banks that had failed.  Meanwhile, classes continued in various places around town.  The primary and intermediate grades were in a building between Moore Furniture and the garage.  The grammar room was in the back room of the Citizen State Bank.  The 9 and 10th grades were upstairs over the Peters Bank, and the 11 and 12th grades were in the middle room of the Citizen State Bank.

    Work on the new building began April 5 with the arrival of several carloads of material and a large labor force.  Brick work started the 26th.  The corner stone was laid May 24, 1929.  John Ulrich, in charge of the carpenter work, said 9 to 10 tons of steel was used to reinforce the floor os the first story.  Work on the second story began July 12.  Plastering was completed Sept. 27, 1929, but classes had to continue in the temporary quarters for a while that fall.  

    The cost of the new facilities averaged about $260 per pupil.  Classes in the new structure opened Nov. 12, 1929 with all new equipment.  This was a two-story fire-proof building with a full basement.  The outside was faced with light cream brick trimmed with a light Casta stone.  Floors inside were all made of Terrazza.  

    The first floor was for the primary, grammar and intermediate grades class rooms.  The second floor was all for the high school.  It contained the superintendent and principal offices, library, science lab, class rooms and the general assembly.  This could be converted into an auditorium by opening a folding partition, revealing a stage.  Ordinarily it was used for recitations.  

    The basement was mainly a gymnasium 6034 ft. with an 18 ft. ceiling, which had seating at the north side and a stage at the east end.  There were also a kitchen, dining room, store rooms, furnace room and shower and dressing rooms.  

    Well lighted, well ventilated, spacious rooms were featured throughout the entire building which yet today is the main edifice of education for District 36.  

    A bond issue (which was paid off in 2 years) was voted for the purchases of the new steel gymnasium in 1968.  This versatile building doubles as an auditorium with a stage as well as housing a hot lunch cafeteria program.  The old gymnasium in the basement of the main building was remodeled into an open concept class room for the elementary grades 1 through 6.  

    In recent years the school has benefited by the construction of the new city park.  Arrangements have been made for its use by the school's football team.  

by June R. Bentley

Pages 153-154


Boone County history, 1871-1985. (1986). Dallas, Tex.: Curtis Media Corp..