Flag School House Friends of Page Co.
Education/Schools of Page Co., Iowa

It must not be supposed that while the pioneers who settled the prairies and valleys of Page county were busy reclaiming the wilderness, and surrounding themselves with domestic comforts, they forgot to plant the seeds of those institutions among which they were reared. As soon as a sufficient number of children could be gathered the school house made its appearance; rude at first, like the primitive houses of the settlers, but adapted 1o the circumstances of the people in those times. Pioneer school houses were usually log structures, warmed in winter from fire-places similar to those in the pioneer houses. Slanting shelves for desks, and in front of these were benches made of slabs. These were for the " big scholars."
A row of similar benches stood in front of these, upon which the smaller ones sat. The buildings were sometimes without doors, and paper made to serve as window gbss. The books then in use in schools were such as would not be tolerated now. Webster, DiWorth, Pike, Daboll, and Murray, or McGuffey were their authors.
Click on Thumbnail for Larger Map! These books were well adapted to the capacities of those who had mastered the branches of which they treated, but not to those of beginners. The method of teaching was then quite different from the present. The early settlers, as had been their fathers before them, were reared with full faith in the maxim, "Spare the rod and spoil the child."
Their teachers were usually anxious that pupils should hot spoil on their hands, and many old men retain a vivid remembrance of what school discipline was in their boyhood. An account of the exercises during half a day of a school in those days would be amusing, though, in some respects it is a question whether modern customs are great improvements. Many can remember that when word was passed around, "master's coming!" a grand scramble for seats took place, so that every one was found in his place and order prevailed when the august dispenser of wisdom entered; and, it for any reason he remained at the house during the intermission at noon, it was necesssary that he should walk a short distance away and then retrace his steps, in order that he be "a comin" It must be admitted, that notwithstanding the miserable text-books then in use, and the, in many respects, awkward methods of teaching which prevailed, the schools of that period furnished some excellent scholars; perhaps, almost a larger proportion than those of the present time.

Click on Thumbnail for Larger Map! The early establishment of an efficient common school system in the great state of which Page County forms a part is in a great measure due to the eager demand for such a system, on the part of those who had enjoyed the educational advantages of the older east. It has been said that men are more generally inclined to follow than to lead, and an evidence of truth of this saying may be found in the tardiness which people exhibit in the adoption of those changes in their customs that changing circumstances require. The conduct of the Welchman who placed a stone in one end of the bag which his horse carried across his back, to balance the wheat in the other, "because his father did so" was not a greater absurdity than many were guilty of before him, or than others will perpetuate in future, to say nothing of the present. Yet Page county may justly be said to have taken rapid strides in the cause of education. The following statistical table will show the advances made, by the most reliable test known that of the actual figures. Source: [History of Page County, Iowa. - 1880, Pg540]

 Page Co., Statistical Table  1864  1872  1880
 No. of District Townships   13   16   11
 No. of Independent Townships   1   4   47
 No. of Sub-Districts   45   96   82
 No. of Upgraded Schools   51   89  122
 No. of Rooms in Upgraded Schools   3   1   26
 No. of Months School in Year  3.8  6.5  7.3
 No. of Male Teachers Employed   27   67   92
 No. of Female Teachers Employed   45   69  179
 No. of Male Pupils between ages 5 & 21 yrs.  1,077  2,343  3,416
 No. of Female Pupils between ages 5 & 21 yrs.  1,053  2,012  4,720
 No. of Pupils Enrolled in School  1,881  2,750  5,037
 Average Attendance of Pupils in School  1,061  2,038  3,167
 Average Cost of Tuition per Month  $.96  $1.80  $1.60
 Average Compensation of Male Teachers per Month  $25.48  $33.20  $35.45
 Average Compensation of Female Teachers per Month  $16.20  $26.64  $27.75
 No. of Frame School Houses  24  83  121
 No. of Brick School Houses   2   1   6
 No. of Log School Houses   8    
  Source: [History of Page County, Iowa. - 1880, Pg541]

The first school building of any note in Clarinda was erected in the summer of I860, Judge Walker & Co. being the contractors. It was a frame building 32x52 feet, two stories high, the contract price being $2,675. It contained four school rooms and a library room. The lower rooms of the building were completed in November, 1860. At the time of its completion the building was considered an immense affair, and the citizens of Clarinda and adjacent country prided themselves upon having the finest school building in southwestern Iowa. Little then did they imagine that in the course of fifteen years their pride would be looked upon with disfavor. But, nevertheless, such was the case, and accordingly, in 1876, steps were taken to displace the old with a new, more substantial, comfortable and pretentious structure. Of the new building we briefly give a succinct account, taken from the "Clarinda Democrat" of March 14, 1878.
"For several years past the building of a school house in Clarinda, one that would be a credit and honor to the town ; one that wuuld accommodate the children and make them comfortable, had been discussed. The board had from time to time debated the feasibility of submitting a proposition to the people to say whether they wanted such a building, and in the spring of 1876 a proposition was drawn up, laid before the board, discussed, and laid over for another year. The year passed and the people as well as the board saw that something must be done and that at once. Every one had a plan of their own ; the board had their plan and were all in harmony. The following persons at that time constituted the board:
N. C. Ridenour, president;
T. B. Chamberlain,
G. W.Burns,
James Shambaugh,
A. T. Clements,
W. W. Morsman, secretary,
W. M. Alexander, treasurer,
Henry Loranz.
A special meeting of the board was called to meet in the secretary's office on the 20th of January, 1877. At that meeting the following resolution was adopted:
"Resolved", That there be submitted to the qualified voters of the independent school district of Clarinda, a proposition to borrow the sum of $20,000 for the purpose of erecting a school house for said independent district. Said money to be borrowed by issuing negotiable bonds of the independent district.
The resolution was unanimously adopted, and an order made for an election to be held on the 8th day of February, and the necessary notices ordered published, which was done during the time between the 20th of January and the 8th of February, 1877. The proposition was discussed pro and con ; but the day of election came and there were three hundred and four votes cast for and against it. For the proposition to issue bonds there were two hundred and forty-four votes ; against the proposition fifty-nine votes—which ,went to show that our people were in favor of building a new school house by a large majority. The proposition having carried, the next thing was to get plans and specifications for said building. A correspondence was opened up, by the board, with several architects, and at a special meeting called by the president, the plans and specifications of the present building which were gotten up by C. F. Driscoll, of Omaha, were adopted, and the secretary ordered to publish notices for sealed proposals, to be opened on the 9th day of April, 1877.
At the regular meeting of the citizens February 12,1877, W. W. Morsman and N.C. Ridenour were again elected to the vacanies caused by the expiration of their terms, without opposition. At the regular meeting of the board on the 19th day of February, the meeting was called to order by the secretary, and W. W. Morsman and N. C. Ridenour were sworn in as directors, and on motion, W. W, Morsman was elected president, and the same board organized to complete the work they had commenced. According to previous notice the board met in the court house hall on the 9th day of April. There were nine bids, ranging from $16,900 to $23,340. The lowest bidder was J. E. Parkins, $16,900, but he failed to give bonds and the contract was awarded to N. A. Olston & Co., for $17,000, they being the next lowest bidders, who commenced the work on the 1st of June by breaking ground. He secured the brick of J. Crabill, who burnt the same one mile east of town. The brick work was sub-contracted by Howe & Stevenson, who put them in the wall. The stone was furnished by the Sagetown stone and lime company of Illinois.

The size of the building is seventy-five feet four inches by sixty-seven feet four inches on the ground; the foundation is concrete, made from harri-burned brick, broke to about a two-inch cube, eight parts coarsest local sand, three parts best cement, and one best quick lime. The foundation is put below frost, and the top of the first floor joists are four feet above the established grade. Water tables are all cut white limestone. The first story joists are all two by fourteen inches and are put down six-teen inches from center to center.
The first floor is divided up into four school rooms, twenty-five feet four inches by thirty feet, with a ceiling fourteen feet. There are four windows and three doors to each room, and each is finished inside with wainscoating two feet six inches high from the floor, and above this four feet six inches is a blackboard extending around each room, which is made of lamp black on the hard brick, which makes blackboard enough to put all the scholars in any room up to a board to solve a problem at once. Besides these four commodious school rooms on this floor there is a teachers' room twelve feet eight inches by seventeen feet; their is also a cloak room to each of the school rooms, six feet two inches by fourteen feet. In each one of these rooms there are hooks for each child to hang their coat or hat when they go to school. These rooms are convenient, and save the children the trouble of a scramble to get their hats and cloaks when school is out. These cloak rooms are wainscoated seven feet high, which insures them to stand without damage for all time. There is on this floor a wash-room five by nine feet with three porcelain wash bowls, arranged with cocks by which means water can be procured for the children to wash from a large tank over head, and just under the stairway that goes up from the east door. The halls are twelve feet eight inches wide, and form a cross, so as to make three grand entrances to the building, —one from the east, one from the north and one from the west. These halls are well finished and wainscoated two feet six inches high, which protects them from the wear and tear that would be brought about by the numerous children who will grow to be great men and women there for years to come.

From this floor we go to the next, by three flights of wide and commodious stairways that can be ascended from the entrance of each door. Thus in case of a rush to get out of the building it can be emptied without any jam or injury to any one. Now that we have taken a bird's-eye view of the foundation and first floor, let us walk up the grand flight of stairs that faces us when we enter from the north door. Here we are on the second floor, but before entering any of the school rooms we will take a walk through the halls ; here we find the same wide halls as we had on the first floor, twelve feet eight inches in width. We go to the west window of the hall running east and west, and here we find two large cloak rooms, with sixty hooks in each room, and on each hook a hat or cap, a water proof or an overcoat, which says that the school rooms are full of children who are hard at study. We retrace our steps to the east window and here we find two more cloak rooms, and each arranged for the students to put their clothes away in safety, as above described in the west rooms. We now return to the head of the stairs and open a door on the. south side of the hall and step into the library room, which is twelve feet eight inches by thirty-one feet. This is a very nice and commodious room, and in future years when there is a good library put into it, it will be a very pleasant place to go and while away a few hours and gain valuable information from the numerous books that will be placed upon the shelves. We now leave this and step into the school room in the south-west corner, where we find teachers and pupils all busily engaged in a room twenty-five feet four inches by thirty feet. It is wainscoated all around and then a wide blackboard encircles the room also, and the pu- pils are all happy and contented. We step out of this and cross the hall to enter another room, just the same in every respect to the one we have just left, and continue our round until we arrive at the southwest room this and the one we have come out of are arranged just the same there being seats enough for sixty pupils in each room. The joists that support this floor are two by fourteen inches and are put down sixteen inches from center to center, and are well braced. Then there is a floor of rough boards laid upon them. then a two by two inch strip laid over each joist, then there is one inch of common mortar put upon this and then the flooring laid upon that, the flooring being the best quality of drv yellow pine tongued and grooved, well nailed at every foist, and all rough and uneven places smoothed off.

The first floor is just the same as this, only it has no deadening under it. We are now at the foot of the stairs that lead to the third floor. As you ascend just take a view of the wide and roomy stairway, and how well the whole is finished. We are now on the third floor, in the halls that are twelve feet and eight inches wide; we take a view of the situation and are well pleased. We go north, open a door and go into the principal's private room, which is twelve feet eight inches by fourteen feet It is a nice, cosy room. We retrace our steps south and'open another door and enter a room twelve feet eight inches by thirty-one feet. This room is intended for the board of education to hold their meetings in, and is a good one for the purpose. We now come outside of this room into the hall that runs east and west, and at each end we find two of those convenient cloak rooms that so well please the children. They are all well finished with wamscoatmg seven feet high, and are the same size as those on the first floor, and each contains sixty hooks for the accommodation of the pupils who are in each room, filling their minds with useful information to help them through life in the future, when they are thrown upon their own resources. There are four commodious school rooms upon this floor but they are not quite so large as the ones below, on account of the offset for the Mansard roof, which makes them about two feet smaller- but they are all large enough and are wainscoated and good blackboards extend around each and every one. The floor is put down the same as the second one, and no sound can penetrate from one room to the other The heighth of ceiling is fourteen feet. This makes all the rooms pleasant and comfortable. Because there are small children upon the first floor the ceilings are not made low, but are made higher; which, of course, will add to the comfort and health of the children.

We now go into the principal's private room and ascend a ladder into the tower, then go up until your head begins to get light, step out upon tlie roof and take a look up and down the Nodaway valley, and you will see a country much more seductive than the one Vhe devil offered the Saviour of mankind if he would bow down and worship him. In tills tower is what is called the tower room, clock room and bell room In the bell room there is now a five hundred pound bell, made to order at Cincinnati, out of pure bell metal, and each morning it calls out in a clear, loud voice to five hundred children to come and commence their daily labors. The coming fall the board will place in the clock room a bell that will give to all the time of day, and each hour strike it off for the benefit of all who cannot see the figures and hands from a distance. (The clock here referred to was purchased the fall of 1878, at an expense of $500, and has proven a useful and expedient investment.)
When you get into the bell room and look down, you of course give up the idea of going to the better land in your present state and retrace your steps. Above this a spire and lightning rod goes on until it reaches about one hundred and forty feet from the base.

The house is located on South Promenade, in fact it fronts on it to the north. The lot upon which it is built is three hundred feet square, and nature has made it one of the nicest pieces of ground that the eye of man ever beheld for the purpose for which it is used, and there is not a man, woman or child in the town of Clarinda who does not look at the building with a natural pride, and rejoice that the town has such a monument of education in which to educate the eight hundred of our city's children.

Not the least attractive feature of this splendid improvement is the heating and ventilating apparatus. The entire building from cellar to garret, embracing some sixteen rooms, besides its broad and spacious halls, is warmed by steam. Two large radiators placed on the first floor, with radiating surface about equal to eight large stoves, warms the halls, while each school room has two radiators, with a radiating surface equal to four large stoves, all so nicely adjusted that less than five pounds of presure at the boilers fills every pipe with steam. The steam is generated in two boilers located in the basement of the building, so arranged that either may be used separately, or each in connection with the other, as the outside temperature may require. Each boiler has its own fire, so that when the weather will pemit it, the use of but one boiler will make a great saving of fuel. The apparatus, from its size and vast system of pipes conveying the steam to, and returning the water of condensation from, the various parts of the building, imposes upon a novice the idea that it is complex and difficult of management. But a few minute's explanation removes the delusion, and one cannot help being charmed at the simplicity and efficiency of its operation and the care with which it is managed.
Compared to a "base burning" coal stove it is simplicity itself. Each boiler has on its front a cunning device called an 'automatic draft regulator, which, when set for the number of pounds of steam pressure required kindly closes the draft under the fire box when the desired pressure is reached, and opens it again when the pressure is diminished below the desired point. Each radiator has a steam valve attached to it, by which the teacher can at any time increase or diminish the quantity of steam passing through the radiator, and thus control the temperature of the room. The whole expense of the apparatus was $2,500, and was fully guaranteed by the manufacturers; and so far as the trial already Now, of course, some one is ready to ask what this educational monument cost, and the stranger may think he could not live here on account of high taxes. Well, such is not the case. Our taxes are really low, for the educational advantages we enjoy, and the cost of the building as it stands to-day [1880] is $22,449.32.
Such another building we do not believe is in Iowa to-day that did not cost more money than this one.
There are now in this commodious school building ten rooms occupied with schools, which are flourishing, and give our city a reputation far and near that must add greatly to our population.

[Source: History of Page County, Iowa. - 1880, Pg553]

In May, 1853, a certain quarter section of land was laid out into lots and furnished a site for the town of Clarinda. In the following September a few men, believing that a school was the first and most important factor in the settlement and development of a new community, raised enough money to pur- chase a beautiful block of ground just south of where our present junior high school building stands. It was tree covered and close to the center of town. In early 1854 "Old Cottonwood" was erected, with Elijah Miller as the first teacher. As the time passed and the town grew, the block, at first owned by individuals, became the property of the Independent School District of Clarinda.

In 1860, the second school was erected and during the years of the Civil War and those immediately following, it gained an enviable reputation. As a result there was a great influx of students from adjoining Iowa counties and from the state of Missouri. The first high school class graduated from this building - the class of 1875. This was the first class to graduate under the reorganized plan and the first so-called graduating class: Jennie Clement, Mary E. Clement, Laura Hutton, Jennie Rogers, and Sarah VanArsdol.

In 1876 the frame building was considered too small - and in its place was erected a three story building. It was called the South Building and later named Garfield School. The building had an enormous tower clock which was moved to the Page County Court House tower when the school was torn down to be replaced by a new high school. This school was also the site from which President Theodore Roosevelt spoke when he visited Clarinda in 1902. The first floor was used for the primary grades, the second floor for the middle grades and the high school classes were held on the third floor.

The need for additional classroom space facilitated the building in 1885 of an additional building in the north part of the city known as the North Ward building. This building was later named the McKinley School and served as a grade school until the new grade school building was erected in 1955. During the time that the North and South buildings were in use, a group of Rules and Regulations were adopted, 1896, explaining the curriculum and activities of the school.

In the summer of 1905 the Lincoln building was erected, which served originally as the High School and later as a Junior High. In 1920 this building was destroyed by fire and a one story elementary building, also known as Lincoln School, has replaced it.

In 1912 a new high school was erected. This building housed a four year high school organization and was located at the corner of 13th and Main Streets. Because of the rapid growth in the enrollment within the high school, a larger building was built in 1922 on the same lot where the famous old Garfield school had once stood. It served as home for the high school (and the Clarinda Junior College for part of the time) until 1968 when the present three year building was erected at the west edge of Clarinda. The 1912 building had been condemned and razed so the junior high classes were moved into the old high school when the present high school building was finished in the fall of 1968.

It was determined that another grade school was needed in the south part of Clarinda, so the Garfield grade school was built in 1956.

[Source: Alumni Book, Clarinda High School; 1875 - 1988: By Betty Malvern Ankeny, President Nodaway Valley Historical Society; 1998

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Clarinda H.S., c1912

Schools - Idx.

Click on Thumbnail for larger Photo! These records are part of the "Genealogy Computer Package" *** PC-PROFILE *** Volume - II. DUNCAN & Related Families© Compiled and self Published in Oct. 14, 1993 by Paul R. Sarrett, Jr. with the assistance of my late mother
Mrs. M. Lucille (WILSON) SARRETT. (1917-1987, age age 70yrs)

& My Grandmother:  Mrs. Vera B. (DUNCAN) WILSON (1896-1988, age 92yrs)
The "Work-Books" were compiled by listing the various families, born, married, died, and a history of that family branch. In 1996 I started "Up-Loading" this material on the now called Friends of Page Co., site...prs
We would like any Corrections/Additions to these Families! Please E-Mail:
E-Mail: Paul R. Sarrett, Friends of Page Co.
Text - Copyright © 1996-2007 Paul R. Sarrett, Jr.
Created: Dec. 01, 1996; Jan. 22, 2002;  Nov. 01, 2007;