Howard Stout was Wilmore's first school teacher, fielding classes in a store building on the site occupied by the Harold Bragg home in 1980. In 1888 a two-story school building was constructed in the north part of Wilmore. It was also used as a church and community center for several years. The building was later remodeled by taking off the top story, making it less difficult to heat.
A brick school was built in the south part of town in 1908, and in 1917, the Western Star reported that the new Rural High School District No. 1 was planning a new building in Wilmore. Professor and Mrs. J. Smith were hired to teach that year, along with Nellie Ferrin. Classes were conducted in the Baptist Church until students and the faculty were able to move into the new building in January 1918. Like the 1908 facility, it was located in the south part of Wilmore. In the spring of 1918, four seniors graduated: Walter Ferrin, Fay Smith, Mildred Booth and Edith Shearer. An addition was made to the building in 1924, and a gymnasium was constructed in 1926. The yearbook, the Screech Owl, was first published in 1926. Coach Crumpacker and the basketball team of 1933-34 placed first in district and regional tournaments, before finishing third in state play-offs. Classes gave plays and other programs of community interest through the years.
The old Grade School, Wilmore, Comanche County, Kansas.
Photo by John Edward "Ed" Schrock, used with permission of Janet Schrock Hubbard.
In 1931, the brick building used as a grade school was destroyed by fire. While a new facility was under construction, classes were held in the Methodist Church basement.
The new building was completed in 1933, and was still standing in 1980, although unoccupied.
A few of the grade teachers remembered are Miss Coover, Norine Rose, Miss Waugh, Geneva Barnett, Miss Kernohan, Christine Heitz, Mrs. Rankin, Miss Kingsley, Madeline Elwell, Velma Richardson, Miss Forman and Mr. Manahan.
Above: Wilmore, Kansas, before the tornado on May 20th, 1949. The large brick building at left is now the Federated Church; behind it is the Wilmore High School. Photo by John Edward "Ed" Schrock.
Between 1926 and 1946, several rural districts in the vicinity were consolidated with Wilmore Schools. In 1949 the bus barn was destroyed and the high school was damaged by a tornado.
On February 27, 1954, the new high school was dedicated. It was a joy to the community as the gym was the best in the county. The eight seniors of 1959 were the last to complete their high school education at Wilmore High. During the period from 1918 to 1959, Wilmore's graduates numbered 337. The high school served the community in an excellent educational manner.
At left: Professor Oxley, Wilmore School, 1939-1940.
Superintendents who served the high school over the years include: J. Smith, Mr. Daum, Mr. Hammar, Orlo Rolo, Robert Guthrie, G.A. Stiles,
B.C. Barron, J.R. Oxley, Z.J. Harmon, W. Adrian Rankin, Mr. Houser, C.W. Bish, Lowell Gish, and Glenn Eggleston.
After reorganization of the county's schools in 1960, Wilmore's high school students were bussed to Coldwater. In 1971, the grade school was closed and Wilmore's grade school children joined those at Coldwater's elementary school. The Wilmore building was later used for vocational education classes.
Comanche County History, page 157, The Comanche County Historical Society, 1981.
Wilmore School, November 2, 2002. Photo by Bobbi Huck.
Wilmore Receives Grant To Tear Down Old School
Reprinted from The Western Star , Vol. 118 No. 41, May 9, 2002
Working through Great Plains Development of Dodge City, the city of Wilmore has received a $123,000 grant to tear down the old Wilmore School building.
This is the second time the city has applied for a grant from Kansas Department of Commerce and Housing for the project. The first application, a year ago, was denied.
Abandoned as a school building 30 years ago, parts of the old Wilmore School have been used off and on since as office space and as a community center. But it has sat empty for the last several years, and a new community center was built a few years ago. With the building deteriorating, and deemed unsafe by the city council, the decision to tear it down was made some time ago, but the city, with a population of 70, was unable to fund such a project.
Plans now are to seed the area and make a park there when the building is torn down and the site is cleared.
Wilmore's grant is one of 20, totaling more than $5 million, announced by the Department of Commerce and Housing last week.
Wilmore Grade School, Mrs. Smith, 5th & 6th grades, 1967 - 1968: Top row: Janelle Trummel, Mrs. Smith, Donald Janson. 2nd row: Dan Ferrin, Ann York. 3rd row: Walt Lenertz, Bobbi Hackney, Kent Trummel, Patty Neilsen, Roger Unruh. 4th row: David Hubbard,
Ricky Booth, Chris Lawless, Chuck Metzger, and ???
Photo from the collection of Bobbi (Hackney) Huck.
Wilmore Grade School, 1st & 2nd grades, 1931:
Teacher: Ms. Kernahan
Back row: Helen Alder, Elvy Hall, Frances Carter, Jean Snyder, Betty Suiter?, Rosemary Boles, Myrtle Faucett, Aleane Ray, Georg Ellen Metzger, Evaugn Smith
Second Row: Harold Woods, Richard Hackney, Gene Harp, Gene Herd, Glenn Metzger, Ernest Lawrence.
Front Row: Wesley Smith, Robert Shereck, Jimmy Booth, Paul Ward
Photo from the collection of Ernest Lawrence, courtesy of David Lawrence.
More photos of some of the students from Wilmore Schools:
TIGER 1953: The Wilmore School Yearbook, 1952-1953
Images of all 32 pages of the year book: Wilmore students, Seniors to First Graders, Administration members and Activities, courtesy of Doug & Rhonda Nickel..
TIGER: The Wilmore, Kansas, School Yearbook 1958 - 1959
Images of all 23 pages of photographs of Wilmore students, Seniors to First Graders, Board of Education, Faculty and other school staff members, courtesy of Nancy Smith.
The Wilmore, Kansas, School Attendance Center Yearbook, 1969
Images of all 5 pages of photographs of Wilmore students, Eighth Graders to First Graders, Faculty and other school staff members, courtesy of Nancy Smith.
Snapshots of People in Comanche County, Kansas, from Wendel Ferrin's Collection
Photos: Lois Crouse, Orlin Downing, Brent Ferrin, Ernest Ferrin, Darrell Ferrin, Delmer Ferrin, Helen Ferrin, Jerry Ferrin,Wendel Ferrin, Wayne Nielsen, Calvin Smith, Forrest Smith, Marie Trummel, Byron Wood, June Wood, Patsy Wood.
Photos of People in Comanche County, Ks, from Wendel Ferrin's Collection
Photos: Nina Hope Annis, Junior Baily, Grace Calloway, Donna Chance, Dorothy Cline, Evah Ellis, Delmer Ferrin, Wendel Ferrin, Robert Hackney, Mozetta Mangels, Professor Oxley, Viola Peaster, Aleen Ray, Marie Schenk, Norma Scholle, Forrest Smith, Wesley Smith, Roberta Todd, Melva Toothaker, Jimmy Trummel, Marie Trummel, Paul Ward, Bob White, Patsy Wood, Bobby Woods, Francis Wright, Ernestine Zeigler.
Wilmore Tigers school mascot. Image courtesy of Bobbi Huck.
The Wilmore News, April 5, 1917
The first annual meeting of Rural High School District No. 1 will be held in Fisher's hall on April 12. That is Thursday preceding the regular district school meetings. The meeting will be called to order at the usual hour.
(News article transcribed & contributed by Shirley Brier.
The Wilmore News, February 12, 1920.
MISS NELLIE FERRIN ON NORMAL SCHOOL FACULTY
The State Normal Bulletin of February 4th, a student publication published by the State Normal at Emporia announces that Miss Nellie Ferrin is a new instructor in the home economics department of the Normal. Miss Ferrin goes there to teach from Teachers College of Columbia University. She will have charge of the sanitation classes in the Normal and will have work in the senior high school and the training school. Miss Ferrin is a Wilmore girl and was one of the first teachers in the Wilmore Rural High School.
This web page was put online by Jerry Ferrin on 08 Sept 2002. It was last updated 11 February 2006. Thanks to Bobbi (Hackney) Huck for her research assistance and photography.