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History of Bixby Schools

By Loueen Morgan

In 1951 the "Bixby Bulletin" published the history of Bixby as recalled by long time Bixbian, O. C. Henderson. The Bulletin republished the story on December 31, 1964.

Mr. Henderson's history begins in 1900. Bixby was a government town site and did not have a school. He reported "the school at that time was a government school at Wealaka...some of our citizens their education at that school." Soon thereafter, a one-room subscription school, located on Bixby's South Main Street was established. It was supported and maintained by parents of those who attended the school. The first subscription school teacher of record is Minnie Werick. Miss Werick received her small salary from the school's patrons (note: no year is specified).

Mr. Henderson said, "The next year a school house was build east of where the Montgomery filling station is now (note: Brassfield school area), and the teacher was Frank Young. Harry W. Worsham's HISTORY OF BIXBY, 1936, appears to have believed at least one subscription school existed prior to the Werick-taught school. "Bixby's first school was operated in a log house which stood at a distance of approximately four blocks south of the present school buildings. There was only one room and it was equipped with rough, crude benches and was, indeed, a typical early day country school. A Miss Sherrill was its first instructor and later Alex Williams a well known early day 'Bixbian' was the school master who taught reading, writing and arithmetic.

"A small one room building was later constructed on South Main Street by the Weirick family.... Miss Minnie Weirick taught a subscription school there for several terms prior to statehood." Both of the above historians agree a new brick school building was finished in 1908-1909 on Main and Fifth Streets. The building housed primary through senior classes. There were no junior or senior students at that time.

By 1915 it was necessary to add new classrooms and administrative offices to the building. In 1920-21 a new, two-story, brick High School was built next door and the original building was used for primary through sixth grade classes. The 1908-09 building was torn down in 1937 to make way for a new and larger elementary school.

Classes were held for the last time in the 1920-21 building during Spring Semester, 1979. It was being used then for Junior High students. The Junior High joined the High School on a new campus located on Riverview Drive. C. E. Gray Elementary School was built on the Junior High location.

The school system has continued to expand in both number of students and location. Construction of the first Bixby school north of the Arkansas River began this year. Look for updates to come.

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