|Abraham Lincoln High School||Council Bluffs High School|
|Iowa School for the Deaf||Thomas Jefferson High School|
Pierce Street School
8th Street School
EVOLUTION OF EDUCATION
EARLY SCHOOLS OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY
The majority of early education in this county was conducted in homes, log cabins, railroad stations, churches, and later, one room buildings located on selected sections in various townships. Many were taught by the faithful saints of the Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ, and followers of that religious group. Among the Apostles who served in this capacity were Orson Hyde, and Joseph Merritt.
If you are interested in the history of education in a specific township, please refer to that particular area under the township section of this web site for further details, or contact the Pottawattamie County Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 394, Council Bluffs, Iowa, 51502-0394. Or you can email us.
The following information relates mainly to the system in Kanesville, later Council Bluffs, and the immediate surrounding vicinity.
As early as 1848, a 1/2-mill tax for education was adopted by the county; however, it wasn't until 18 Feb 1859 when the Council Bluffs Independent School District was established by public vote. It is interesting to note not one dissenting vote was cast in that election. The first school board in Council Bluffs consisted of: Dexter C. Bloomer as president; L. W. Babbitt, vice president; N. C. Nutt, secretary; Samuel Knepper, treasurer; and J. B. Stutsman, Thomas Officer and Edward McBride.
In 1864 the first brick schoolhouse was constructed at Stutsman and Pierce Streets and later named Stutsman Street School. The second building was erected in 1865 at Seventh Street and Willow Avenue and named Fourth Ward School. Construction on Mill School began in 1866 on the site which later became Washington Elementary. Court Street School was built at the corner of Court Street and Cherry, now 15th Street and First Avenue, but was abandoned in 1894.
The Council Bluffs High School was built in 1870; Clark School in 1871; McMillen School in 1877; Avenue B School and Gunn School in 1880; Eighth Street School in 1881; Longfellow in 1883; Third Street School in 1884; Second Avenue School in 1890; Harrison School in 1891, and Madison School in 1892. Franklin School, originally the Thirty-Second Street School was constructed in 1893; Roosevelt School in 1907; Oak Street School in 1908.
In 1900, Abraham Lincoln High School was erected; Thomas Jefferson High School followed in 1920; Rue School in 1923; Bloomer was destroyed and rebuilt in 1923, and by 1926, Walnut Grove School was constructed and in 1929, Carter Lake territory was severed from Council Bluffs by a district court order and became a separate city, and Courtland School in that place was a part of the separation. It returned to the Council Bluffs district again in 1966.
Several schools had name changes over the years; Fourth Ward School in 1881 became Bloomer, in honor of Dexter C. Bloomer; Stutsman Street School was later replaced by a building at Pierce Street and Franklin Ave. and renamed Pierce Street School; Mill School was also replaced in 1888 and renamed Washington School; Eighth Street School became Tinley; and Third Street School was eventually retitled Dodge School.
The 1930s brought the closure of six schools: Center Street, Stutsman, Woodbury, Clark, Pierce Street and the Council Bluffs High School. Longfellow School was replaced with a new building in 1939 and that was the last major school improvement until the construction of Hoover School in 1950. Pusey, DeForest, Lewis and Clark, Peterson and Myers schools were constructed in 1957, followed by Crescent in 1958 and Lake in 1961.
The existing Abraham Lincoln High School was built in 1960 and Kirn Junior High School in 1979. In 1986 five schools were closed: Peterson, DeForest, Myers, Tinley and Madison; however Tinley later became the site of Kanesville High School.
In the late 1960s, early 1970s, Harrison School and Dodge School were abandoned and in the early 1960s Wilson Jr. High School was founded on the west end of town.
The advent of the School Bus era began in approximately 1959 when students were being moved into magnet buildings such as junior high schools, and students were traveling from Carter Lake to Council Bluffs to attend high school. Also, with the closing of various elementary institutions, busing became a way of life for most students who joined the ranks of Lewis Township individuals who were being shuffled through the Lewis Central School District to various locations, this having been established in July of 1962.
The Lewis Central District encompassed all of Lewis Township, as well as parts of Garner and Keg Creek townships in Pottawattamie County and parts of St. Mary's and Oak townships in Mills County, in 1962.
The late 1880s, early 1990s saw the development of "Open Enrollment," allowing students to attend the school of their choice.
Religious education long preceded the public school system in Council Bluffs. Father Pierre-Jean DeSmet, a Catholic priest and missionary, arrived in the area in 1838 with Father Felix Vereydt and Brother Mozelli and started the first school with 30 Indian students. This dissolved after about a year and it wasn't until shortly after 1869 when the Catholic Church established a boys' school just south of the St. Francis Xavier's Catholic Church.
Two years later the Sisters of Charity established a school for girls on Vine Street, later moving to the St. Francis Academy at Seventh Street and Fifth Avenue. The boys' school remained open until 1880 when it was moved to Sixth Street and Fifth Avenue and renamed St. Joseph's School. In 1888, St. Peter Catholic School was constructed on West Pierce Street. Holy Family School at Twenty Third and Ave B came along in 1926; St. Patrick's School in 1924; and in 1962, St. Albert Central Catholic High School was constructed. In 1972, several elementary schools were closed and in 1986, St. Albert Schools purchased the vacant former DeForest School and located primary students in this site.
Traditions and dress codes have varied tremendously over the decades. In early times students wore whatever was warm and comfortable as the emphasis was on "attending" school, not what a person wore. Students walked, road horses, crossed streams without the aid of bridges, and sought shelter in the comfort of just getting an education!
Attire changed with the decades as poodle skirts and bobby socks escorted in the era of the '50s and the "anything goes" courted the 1980s! But, through it all, education remained the important factor. The basic "three Rs" and an eighth grade education was the pinnacle preceding the 1930s, and by the onset of the 1950s a high school diploma was the goal of most students. This expanded to include the modern generation and before the 1970s ended the majority of students would be required to attain a college degree before furthering their careers.
With the arrival of the twenty first century and the onset of the computer generation, education still remains the most important asset a person can possess, and the stress on the educational system to remain one step ahead still remains the greatest challenge of all!
Now Available thru the PCGS!
The PCGS will copy the pictures, bio's and any other pertinent information for your relatives who graduated from Council Bluffs High School or Abraham Lincoln High School (Class of 1897 through Class of 1930, except 1900 and 1901).
The Abraham Lincoln High School yearbooks after 1930 are available, but are not indexed. Please submit the approximate year of graduation with your request.
Please contact us for information.