CHAPTER XXVI.
THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Sections of this Chapter:
THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS
DISTRICT SCHOOL BEGINNINGS
FIRST STONE SCHOOL HOUSE
GRADING THE SCHOOLS [Names of first graduating class.]
THE GILBERT FUND.
THE WEST SIDE SCHOOLS
THE COLDBROOK SCHOOLS
UNITY, FREE SCHOOLS AND PROGRESS
AUXILIARY EFFORTS AND AGENCIES
NIGHT SCHOOLS
UNGRADED SCHOOL
TRAINING SCHOOL
BOARD OF EDUCATION
SCHOOL GROWTH AND EXPENSES
THE STUDIES PURSUED
THE SCHOOL BUILDINGS

[The schools listed below include names of teachers for the school year 1888-89.]
THE CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL
THE UNION HIGH SCHOOL
NORTH DIVISION STREET SCHOOL
SOUTH DIVISION STREET SCHOOL
FOUNTAIN STREET SCHOOL
WEALTHY AVENUE SCHOOL
GRANDVILLE AVENUE SCHOOL
OLD TURNER STREET AND EAST LEONARD STREET SCHOOLS
NORTH IONIA STREET SCHOOL
JEFFERSON STREET SCHOOL
CENTER STREET SCHOOL
PINE STREET SCHOOL
COIT AVENUE SCHOOL
EAST LEONARD STREET SCHOOL
TURNER STREET SCHOOL
PLAINFIELD AVENUE SCHOOL
SOUTH IONIA STREET SCHOOL
EAST BRIDGE STREET SCHOOL
SEVENTH STREET SCHOOL
MADISON AVENUE SCHOOL
STRAIGHT STREET SCHOOL
SCHOOL INSPECTORS
TEACHERS' ASSOCIATIONS

THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS.

The liberal education spirit which distinguishes Grand Rapids in this day and generation, was even in a greater degree present among the little company of men and women who founded the first civilized homes by the Rapids of Grand River. As soon as the hardy pioneers were established in their new homes in the wilderness, they began to give their children such scanty educational advantages as the little settlement afforded. Undoubtedly the first educational institution within the present limits of the city was the Slater Baptist Indian Mission on the West Side, with its attendant Indian school, to which certain of the white children were sent for a time, crossing the river in canoes. The earliest school exclusively for white children was one kept by Miss Emily Guild, afterward Mrs. Emily Baxter, in the spring of 1835 in the building on Waterloo street later known as "the old yellow warehouse," that was begun for a Catholic church on the west side of the river, but which Louis Campau caused to be moved across to the east side. It is undoubtedly true that the curriculum of this early school was not exceedingly comprehensive nor the discipline very rigid, as the regular pupils were for the most part children of Joel and Edward Guild, and consequently either the small sisters or cousins of their teacher. They were: Olive and Elvira E. Guild, Maria, Phebe, Marion and Peter Clark, and Louisa, Mariam, Erastus and Austin Guild. The little school has a successful term of two months, and not more than two or three besides those named were instructed there.

Some of the earliest schools were taught at what is now the city's favorite suburban resort, Reed's Lake. In 1834 the settlement there was nearly equal in importance to that at the Rapids, and in the winter of that year a school for the families of the settlement was taught in the upper part of a log house by two young girls, Miss Euphemia Davis, daughter of Ezekiel Davis, and Miss Sophia Reed, daughter of Lewis Reed. This school was maintained for the greater part of a year. Miss Davis afterward became the wife of Dr. Jewett, a missionary in India, and Miss Reed as the wife of Dixon Davis, died in 1863, leaving a large family. In 1835, a schoolhouse, probably the first in Grand River Valley, was built near the lake, and the school was kept during the winter by a young man named Francis Prescott, who afterward married Miss Bond, a teacher in Slater's Indian Mission and became a Baptist minister.

In the spring of 1835 the family of Darius Winsor moved from their log-cabin on the bank of the river at Ionia into the lower story of a new frame house just built by Mr. Winsor in Grand Rapids, on the corner of Fountain and Ottawa streets. The house was not completed when they moved in, lacking doors and windows, the stairway leading into the upper so try having no backs to the steps. Nevertheless, the Winsors began keeping house down stairs, and later in the season a Miss Day, from the Slater Indian Mission, kept school upstairs, little Miss Adelaide Winsor (now Mrs. Adelaide Henderson) and some eight or nine other children attending and conning their lessons diligently while seated upon the flat side of the slabs, with legs inserted in the rounded under side, which at that time were the most improved school seats manufactured in the embryo furniture city. Miss Day taught this  school for about three months, and then resigned it and returned to her former home in Massachusetts.

In the summer of 1836 Miss Sophia Page, afterward wife of Judge Daniel Bacon of Monroe, taught a small school. Of Miss Page's school, Mrs. Marian L. Withey, in a paper read at the annual meeting of the Pioneer Society of the State of Michigan, June 7, 1882, says:

It held its sessions in a barn a little to the southeast across the street from the present Morton House. Being built of boards set up endwise, with a floor of boards laid down without matching, no school committee was vexed with the matter of ventilation. Here I had my first struggles with Webster's spelling book.

Daniel Smith, of Cazenovia, N.Y., and Miss Mary Hinsdill, Mrs. Withey's aunt, taught two schools during the winter of 1836-37, in the National Hotel then kept by Mrs. Withey's father. Mr. Smith's school was for young men, and Miss Hinsdill's for young ladies, the one occupying a lower and the other an upper room of the hotel. These schools were continued through the winter, with an average attendance of about twenty-five students.

DISTRICT SCHOOL BEGINNINGS.

May 9, 1835, the first school district within the city limits of Grand Rapids city and township was organized. It was bounded south and eastward by the present limits of the city, westward by Grand River , and extended northward one mile and a half above the present city line. In the summer of 1837 the affairs of the district were in a condition to warrant the employment of a teacher, and Miss Celestia Hinsdill, of Kalamazoo, Mrs. S. L. Withey's cousin, was a candidate for the position. To Wm. A. Richmond, Charles I. Walker, and Noble H. Finney, school committeemen, and young gentlemen friends of the lady, the law gave the task a ascertaining the extent of her knowledge and fitness of the profession of teaching. The legend says they fulfilled the law to the uttermost, asking her questions inumberable, and both relevant and irrelevant to educational matters, to all of which she gave correct answers except one as to the location of Thunder Bay, that body of water having then been but recently rechristened, and she not having heard of its new name. Nowithstanding this defect in geographical knowledge, Miss Hinsdill was hired to teach the first term of the district school, and she afterward honored one of the gentlemen by accepting his name and becoming Mrs. C. I. Walker. Her term continued through the summer. The sessions were held in a frame building on Prospect Hill, erected by Aaron Sibley, and first occupied by him as a dwelling, which was in later years used as an engine house. William I. Blakely, in 1839, built the first school house in the district--and, indeed, the first frame school house within what are now the limits of the city. It was a small structure, situated on the north side of East Fulton street, nearly opposite the end of Jefferson avenue. Joseph B. Galusha, of Rochester, N. Y., a son of Gov. Galusha of Vermont, taught school in the new house. Warren W. Weatherly, his brother, O. R. Weatherly, Elijah Marsh, and Thomas B. Cuming, successively taught there for several terms. Mr. Cuming being in charge when the building was burned, February 22, 1849.

FIRST STONE SCHOOL HOUSE.

In 1848 this large district was divided, the lower or southern part forming District No. 1, and the northern portion District No. 6, or the Coldbrook District. At the first school meeting of District No. 1, May 6, 1848, James M. Nelson was elected Moderator, Stephen Wood, Director, and W. G. Henry, Assessor. Several special school meetings were held in 1848, at which the question of erecting a new school house in the district was thoroughly discussed, and at a meeting held June 24 it was resolved, "That for the erection and completion of a suitable stone school house in this district the sum of twenty-five hundred dollars be levied and assessed upon the property of the district." A building committee of six was empowered "to act in concert with the proper officers of the district in the disposal of the present site and school buildings, the purchase of a new site, the drawing up of plans and specifications, advertising for and receiving proposals, and letting the job for the construction and completion of a stone school house, which when completed shall in no case cost to exceed the said sum of twenty-five hundred dollars." At a school meeting held July 15, 1848, the committee recommended " the purchase of lots No. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, in Block 8, Dexter Fraction, and the six lots lying and adjoining on the east side in the Hatch addition, as the new school house site." This report was accepted and after some inquiry into the title of the lots, the sites, which is identical with the present Central High School grounds, was acquired by the district. November 11, 1848, the Director was authorized to receive "proposals for the erection of a stone school house two stories in height (without a basement) upon the same plan as drawn by Stephen Wood, and as may be seen at the store of Sinclair & King." January 8, 1849, the committee accepted the proposition of David Burnett for the building of the school house, which was accordingly erected in the succeeding summer and fall. The stone used in its construction was obtained from the bed of Grand River, and the building, although possessing small claim to architectural beauty, was a more substantial and commodious structure than might be supposed when the smallness of the contract price paid for it is considered. It was situated just west of the site of the present building, and an octagonal dome fourteen feet in diameter, and covered with a tin roof, formed its most striking architectural feature. In the cupola was placed a bell which chimed chidingly upon the ear of the tardy school-boy, as, "with sachel and shining morning face, he crept, like a snail, unwillingly to school." The house was 44 by 64 feet on the ground, three stories height. It contained three large study rooms, six recitation rooms, a dressing room for the girls, and a room for the library and the school apparatus. In 1854 it accommodated 760 pupils. This building served well the purpose for which it was designed until 1867, when the growing educational interests of the district demanded better accommodations, and it was pulled down upon the completion of the present high school building. The stone and other building material was sold to various citizens, and the massive front door of the old school house now forms part of the residence of Arthur S. White. The doors' heavy lock and key were presented by Mr. White to the Board of Education and are deposited among its archives.

At the annual school meeting held September 24 of the same year in which the stone school house was built, the district was organized under the union school system, which necessitated the election of four additional trustees, and the following Board was chosen:
Moderator, Thompson Sinclair; Director, H. K. Rose; Assessor, Michael Connolly; Trustees, W. G. Henry, John Ball, Zenas G. Winsor, and T. H. Lyon. The first term of school under the new system was begun in the new stone school house, November 12, 1849, under the principalship of E. M. Johnson, of Western New York, who was assisted by Miss Hollister (afterward Mrs. Wm. M. Ferry, of Grand Haven), Miss Elizabeth White (now Mrs. Whipple), Miss Almira Hinsdill (afterward Mrs. Jones, of Denver, Colorado), and Miss Thirza Moore. Mr. Johnson resigned at the close of the first term, and was succeeded Feb. 18, 1850, by the Rev. James Ballard. Mr. Ballard, after holding the position three years, gave place to Edward W. Chesebro.

The period of Mr. Chesebro's administration, which lasted from 1853 until he was stricken down in the school-room by disease (some five years before his death, which occured January 31, 1862), was a critical time in the history of the schools. The fast growing community began to required additional educational facilities, and the people were not yet wholly awakened and reconciled to the increased expenditures and more vigorous discipline necessary for the extension and management of a higher and more complex system of schools. To Mr. Chesebro's tact and executive ability in this trying transition time, too much credit cannot be given. He gave his whole soul to the work, neither spared he his body, but drew so heavily upon his physical strength in his labors that his health broke down under the strain. The following inscription upon the monument in Oak Hill cemetery erected to his memory by his pupils, speaks not after the usual manner of epitaphs, but utters the very truth:

   His was a teacher's heart.
   With zeal that never tired;
   And thousand souls beat higher,
   By his single soul inspired.

There were not wanting other teachers and public spirited citizens to carry forward the work which M. Chesebro laid down, and to lay broad and deep the foundations upon which the liberal educational system of the city rests.

GRADING THE SCHOOLS.

The immediate successor of Prof. Chesebro was Prof. E. Danforth, and in his principalship the schools were graded and the High School established by action taken at the annual school meeting September 26, 1859, under Act. No. 161 of the Session Laws of 1859, entitled; "An Act To Establish Graded and High Schools." The act also provided that the district board consist of six trustees, and the following gentlemen were at that meeting chosen the first members of the Board under its new organization: Trustees for one year, James H. McKee and Charles Shepard; for two years, J. W. Peirce and George Kendall; for three years, John Ball and Wilder D. Foster. On motion of D. S. Leavitt, this Board was instructed to establish a High School in the district during the current year, and at a subsequent meeting of the Board, J. H. McKee, Charles Shepard and Geo. Kendall wee appointed a committee to confer with Mr. Danforth in relation to the grading of the schools, the prices of tuition to be charged, etc. and in a short time accomplished their work.

The first commencement exercises of the High School were held in Luce's Hall at the close of the school year of 1861-1862.
Francis C. Stevens
Caroline A. Remington
Thirza I. Wartrous
Caroline C. Wyman
Elizabeth A. Pierce
Julia A. Comstock
Abbie R. Nelson
Emily L. Winsor
Mary M. G. Hodenpyl
Helen M. Knight
Frances S. T. Cuming
Aurelia S. Henry
Annette C. Dickinson
were the members of the class;

Miss Henry, Miss Cuming and Miss Dickinson being among those accorded positions of honor on the programme of the evening.

THE GILBERT FUND.

Eminent among the citizens whose energy and business ability have made Grand Rapids one of the prominent and flourishing business centers of the country, is Thomas D. Gilbert, whose efforts in the promotion of the welfare of the schools also are well known and deserving of historic recognition. In the minutes of a meeting of the Board of Trustees held at the office of Ball & McKee, February 7, 1860, the following letter is recorded:

              Grand Rapids, January 20, 1860

To John Ball, Wilder D. Foster and other Trustees of Union School District Number One in the city of Grand Rapids:

Gentlemen--Herewith I send you my bond for the sum of two thousand dollars, bearing date the first inst. and payable in five years from date with interest annually. I donate this amount to you and your successors in office, or such other persons as may be in your stead elected or appointed to manage the public schools of the city, in trust for the following purpose:

The income from this fund I wish to have distributed among the meritorious scholars of the public schools of the city, under the direction of yourselves and your legal successors in office, in honorary rewards for scholarship, regular attendance and good conduct.

The condition of the donation is that all the scholars, in all the public schools in the city, shall have an opportunity, under the rules that may be prescribed for the distribution of the income of the fund, to compete for the prizes or medals to be awarded.

                                I am, very respectfully,
                                           Your obedient servant,
 Thos. D. Gilbert

P. S.--I recommend that proficients in English studies only, be rewarded from the income of this fund, and that a fair proportion of it be distributed among the Ward Schools.
                   Thos. D. Gilbert.

The Trustees accepted with thanks the generous donation of Mr. Gilbert, and pledged themselves to carry out the intentions of the donor to the best of their ability. The interest on the fund was thereafter apportioned among the three districts of the city--District Number One, Number Two and Number Six--in proportion to the number of children of school age in each. By mutual agreement between the Board and Mr. Gilbert the fund has not been used, as at first intended, in the granting of rewards and medals for excellence in scholarship, but has been applied toward the purchasing of reference books and scientific and other apparatus for the schools; Prof. Strong and other experienced teachers considering this disposal of the income from the fund to be more beneficial than the other. Thus was founded what has ever since been known as " The Gilbert Trust Fund."

Edwin A. Strong was cotemporary with Mr. Danforth as a teacher, and succeeded him as principal of the High School in 1861. Mr. Strong brought to the schools a mind of rare culture, richly stored with knowledge gained by a life of study, and a Christian character of peculiar purity and beauty. At a meeting of the Board of Trustees held October 4, 1862, it was resolved, "That Mr. E. A. Strong be requested to act as Superintendent of Schools, and to take so much time from his duties as Principal of the High School as may be requisite to thoroughly organize all the schools of the district and make them effective." He continued to hold the office of Superintendent until he resigned in 1870, to take a position in the Normal School at Oswego, N. Y. After a short stay in Oswego, he returned to this city, and as teacher  and Principal remained connected with the High School until 1885, when he resigned to accept a professorship in the State Normal School in Ypsilanti. The influence of such a man upon the schools where he taught, and the community of which he was for so many years an honored member, cannot be measured by words.

Anson J. Daniels became Superintendent upon the consolidation of the three districts in 1871; and of his services at that important era in the history of the schools, A. L. Chubb, President of the Board of Education, in his annual report for 1871-72, says:

  I may not omit mentioning in this report the excellent services of our Superintendent. He had a great work before him, and it is but simple justice to say that it has been well and faithfully performed. General harmony and concert of action has been secured, and the machinery of our school system, under the recent consolidation, has been put in successful operation. You have, in a practical way, recognized the value of his services. Personally, I desire to acknowledge the many obligations I am under to him for his hearty and ready co-operation in the solution of the many problems incident to the recent change in our school system, and which, in the march of progress, must constantly arise.

THE WEST SIDE SCHOOLS.

The first school expressly for white children on the west side of Grand River, was taught by Miss Bond, afterward Mrs. Francis Prescott, one of the teachers in the Slater Mission school for Indians, whom the settlers placed in charge of their school in a log school house not far from the bank of the river and a little south of Bridge street. The furnishings of this school house were neither expensive nor elaborate. Two desks for writing extended the length of the sides of the room; slabs, flat side up, with pegs for legs, served in lieu of patent seats. A huge sheet-iron box stove, the wood for which was furnished by patrons of thw school and cut by the boys in attendance, furnished superabundant warmth in the room to those near it, and left the unfortunates seated far off in the corners where the chinking was defective a prey to the winter's cold. Here Miss Bond taught some two dozen pupils, drilling them thoroughly in the three R's and the other elementary branches of the tree of knowledge, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., six days in the week for the greater part of a year. She was succeeded by Miss Mary L. Green, now Mrs. Wm. I. Blakely, who taught the school the following two summers of 1839 and 1840. This primative school house served the educational interests of District Number Two for several years (many of the residents sending their children to schools on the east side--to one in particular taught in 1843-44, by Reuben H. Smith.) Later this log house was succeeded by a small frame building situated a little south of Bridge and east of what is now Court street. When the population of the district had increased so that still larger accommodations were needed, a larger, one story frame building, spacious enough, it was supposed, to shelter the entire school population of the district for a hundred years, was erected on First street, on the site where St. Mary's Catholic church now stands. Milton S. Littlefield taught in this school for several years.

In 1853 the district adopted the Union school organization. The Rev. James Ballard was chosen the first Principal of the newly organized school. In 1854 the frame school house, notwithstanding its spacious proportions, was found inadequate to the growing needs of the district, and Ebenezer Anderson, one of the trustees, was given a contract to erect a new  Union school house on the lot corner of Turner and West Broadway streets, which had been purchased by the district. In the following year the new school house was completed. According to the contract the building was to be of stone, of ample proportions and two stories in height. At the intercession and with the financial backing of Lucius Patterson, Baker Borden and other citizens interested in the organization of a military company, Mr. Anderson increased the height of the building by another story, to be used as a drill hall by the militiamen. Subsequently, when the number of pupils increased so as to make additional rooms necessary, this story was fitted up and used for school purposes. When thus completed the building furnished sittings for 464 pupils. The rooms had low ceilings, and were lighted by small windows. A wooden belfry sheltered the school bell which called the pupils to their tasks. The same bell swings in the tower of the present Union school building there, and is the only relic of the old building which the historian was able to discover. Before the union of the school districts of the city in 1871, two other buildings, the old Turner street and Jefferson street schools, were erected.

W. F. Kent succeeded Mr. Ballard as Principal of the school. It was during his administration that the District took advantage of the act of the Legislature passed in 1859, and graded the school and established a high school, in which Algebra, Geometry and the higher branches of study were taught. No graduating classes were organized in this school, however, many pupils preferring to finish their courses of study and receive their diplomas at the High School in Number One district. From September, 1861, to June, 1865, Prof. J. C. Clark, of Port Jervis, N. Y., acted as Principal of the school, and was assisted in his labors by his wife, who was Principal of the primary department. Before the union of the districts Prof. Kent served another short term as Principal, and Prof. Stewart Montgomery, now of Olivet College, was at the head of the schools when the districts were consolidated in 1871.

THE COLDBROOK SCHOOLS.

District Number Six, or the Coldbrook District, as it was commonly called, included all that part of what is now the city, which is north of a line midway between Newberry and Mason streets and east of Grand River, and also extended one mile and a half north of the city limits. The early records of the district, couched in quaint phraseology, are amusing reading, and show the small beginnings from which the schools of the district were developed. At an adjourned special meeting of the district, held September 8, 1848, the records says---"a motion was made and seconded which was unanimusly adopted, that Elihu Smith be appointed a comity to see if a sirtin house can be bot of G. M. Mills for a school house and to report the same to the next meting. The meting was then adjourned for one weak." Evidently Mr. Smith was unsuccessful in his efforts to purchase " a sirtin house of G. M. Mills for a school house," since at the meeting held September 15, although no mention of Mr. Smith's report is made, it is recorded that "a motion was made and seconed, which was unanimisly adopted, to purchas of C. W. Taylor one quarter of one acre of land for a site for a school house for the sum of ten dollars on the north west corner of a pease of land comonly cald the Jewit fraction on the east side of the road. It was also motioned and carried that wee build a school house eighteen feet by twenty four feet and that a tax bee asest to build it also that there bee raised the sum of one hundred and sixty dollars for building a school house and purchasing a site and buying a stove for the same."

At the annual meeting of the district held September 25, 1848, Elihu Smith was chosen Moderator, C. W. Taylor, Director, and Franklin Nichols, Assessor. At the annual meeting in 1849, these gentlemen were elected to succeed themselves, and $12 was voted to underpin the school house. The electors of the district at the annual meeting September, 29, 1851, chose Edmund Carrier, Moderator, James Patterson, Director, and Elijah Dart, Assessor, and "it was voted to have four months school and to have a man teacher." September 27, 1852, Horatio Brooks was elected Moderator, Foster Tucker, Director, and Elijah Dart, Assessor, for the ensuing year. On motion, it was "voted that the director be requested to look after and return the school house stove supposed to be in Mr. E. Carrier's possession." A tax of $20 was voted to pay the indebtedness of the district and repair the school house, and it was decided to apply two-thirds of the public moneys to four months of winter school and one-third to the summer school, and to have "a male teacher for the winter school." From the accounts of the Assessor it appears that the male teacher employed in accordance with this resolution was Prof. Franklin Everett, and that he received $55.32 salary. A Miss French taught the summer school and received $30.00 for her services. At the annual (adjourned) meeting September 29, 1857, it was voted to raise $1 per scholar on the taxable property of the district for teachers' wages, "the whole number of scholars between the ages of 4 and 18 being 86." Four dollars were voted for the purchase of Webster's Unabridged Dictionary.

The project of building a new school house was brought up at the annual meeting in 1858, but resulted only in a  resolution to establish a "branch school" in the eastern part of the district, and to rent a suitable building for that purpose. In 1859 the district purchased of C. W. Taylor, for $300, the present school house site on Leonard street, and Foster Tucker, Judge Davis, Edmund Carrier, Seth Holcomb, and Jesse C. Wyckoff, were appointed a building committee to push forward the work of erecting a new school house to cost $1,500. The contract was let to W. H. Stewart, and on April 24, 1860, the district accepted the school house built by him---a two-story brick structure containing two rooms, of which the lower one only was completed. From the time of the erection of this school building, the educational interests of the district were established on a more liberal basis. The upper room of the school house was fitted up as soon as it was required, and the building then furnished sittings for 128 pupils. The district enjoyed the advantages of the old Union school organization for some years, and at the annual meeting September 2, 1867, it was resolved to grade the schools and elect a board of six trustees in accordance with the law of 1859. This was done accordingly, and the membership of the board chosen was as  follows: Trustees for one year, Daniel G. Brown, B. C. Saunders; for two years, Wm. M. Wylie, L. M. Page; for three years, Amos Quimby, Francis Drew. Among the early teachers in this district, were A. J. Tucker and Maria A. Jipson, who taught in 1861 and 1862, and C. W. Borst who served as Principal of the school from 1862 to 1864. Other teachers before the union of the districts were, Mr. and Mrs. G. H. Bell, Adelaide Tucker, and A. Carrier. Fannie Tucker was Principal in 1867.

UNITY, FREE SCHOOLS AND PROGRESS.

By an act of the Legislature of Michigan, approved March 15, 1871, it was provided "that the city of Grand Rapids and all contiguous territory which shall hereafter be added thereto, shall constitute one school district, and all public schools therein shall be under the direction and control of the Board of Education hereinafter provided for, and shall be free to all residents of said district over the age of five years." In accordance with this law, at a public meeting called by Mayor L. H. Randall, in the old Council Chamber in the Randall Block, April 11, 1871, District Number Two, or the West Side District; District Number Six, or Coldbrook District, and District Number One, were united, and the first Board of Education of the city of Grand Rapids was organized from the trustees of the three districts. It may with truth be said that the history of the present schools of the Valley City began with this event, and this union of schools has proved as beneficial to their prosperity and progress as has the blessed bond of the "many in one" to the States of the Union. Before the union there were rivalries and conflictions between the several school organizations of the city, and the limited resources of each either prevented the employment of the ablest educators, or did not adequately compensate those who were employed. Even in the first year after the union, under the able superintendency of A. J. Daniels, the results began to be felt in increased prosperity and harmony; a higher degree of perfection was attained in every department of school work, and the schools began to be wrought into one broad system, incomparably superior in efficiency to the fragmentary disarrangement previously existing.

In February, 1885, Mr. Daniels, after more than a decade's service as Superintendent of the Schools, retired. I. N. Mitchell, Principal of the Grammar department of the High School, was chosen his successor, and held the office until 1886, when he became Superintendent of the schools at Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. He was succeeded by F. M. Kendall, of Jackson, Mich., the present incumbent.

AUXILIARY EFFORTS AND AGENCIES.

Under Mr. Mitchell's Superintendency, the schools received a decided impetus in the direction of the more advanced methods of education which have originated in this latter part of the Nineteenth Century, and have not yet been universally accepted. His was a vigorous mind, looking always into the future and ever on the alert for whatever seemed to promise better than the past--a mind impatient of using a worn-out system out of reverence to its grey hairs. Under his influence many who had become accustomed to face backward turned themselves about, and a vast deal of conservatism, which is a good thing when it is not "too much of a good thing," was thus eliminated from the schools. Chiefly through Mr. Mitchell's efforts, a kindergarten was established in 1886 in connection with the schools, and maintained for two years, and kindergarten methods were introduced to a limited extent in the primary grades.

In 1884 an ungraded or truant school was established as provided for by Act 144 of the Laws of 1883.  The school was organized and opened November 8, 1884, with an attendance of eight. The number increased to 31 within the first month, and reached 44 by the last of December. The average attendance for the year was 30. This school has resulted in much good, not only to the so-called "incorrigibles" who are sent to it, but indirectly to the other pupils by arousing in them a wholesome dread of the truant officer, and thus preventing irregularities in attendance. The Truant officer is a policeman maintained for the purpose of looking up truants, and otherwise serving the interests of the school.

In 1884 an exhibit of the work of the schools was sent to the International Exhibition at New Orleans. The progress of the schools and the estimation in which their work is held by others than residents of Grand Rapids, may be judged from  the fact that in this exposition of nations their exhibit was  awarded a diploma of honor. Superintendent Mitchell, describing the exhibit and the means by which it was obtained, in his annual report to the Board of Education, says:

Late in October of 1884, it was determined that our schools should be represented at the International Exhibition at New Orleans. To this end the regular examination papers were all collected, and the representative work of each grade in each subject, bound uniformly and forwarded to New Orleans. The work of the preceding year in drawing was also sent, together with a number of wood carvings, done after original designs by the High School pupils. Other features of the exhibit were (a) two cases of slate work taken from the first and second grade rooms without the foreknowledge of teacher or pupils; (b) several Michigan albums made by the pupils of eighth grade rooms; (c) a collection of photographs of representative school buildings; (d) microscopical drawings from the class in physiology and zoology; (e) a complete set of our school blanks and forms; (f) a group of relief maps showing the topography of the State, its geological formation and the distribution of pine timber; (g) a large collection of cards showing the work of the first and second grade in geography, color, form and inventions. This work was done with colored shoe-pegs and small oblong blocks, and was finally presented to the French and Japanese Commissioners. A diploma of honor was awarded us for the general exhibit of school work, information of which was sent by the general manager of the State exhibit.

An exhibit consisting of the examination papers of all classes above the third primary, a statement of the public school system, historical sketch, statistics and photographic views of school buildings, philosophical apparatus and views of the interior of the High School, was sent to the Centennial Exhibition at Philadelphia in 1876, and received much favorable comment from educated foreigners who examined it critically.

NIGHT SCHOOLS.

Since 1872 night schools have been maintained every winter as part of the school system, for the benefit of those whose employment prevents their attendance at school in the day time. These schools have been well attended, a large proportion of their pupils being Hollanders who wish to learn the English language, and young men and boys employed during the day in furniture factories. A relatively large number of girls also attend these schools. The enrollment in the nine months of night school taught, from September, 1886, to June, 1887, was 184, with an average attendance of 57. The sessions of the night school, and also of the ungraded school, were held for a number of years in the old stone mansion formerly occupied by the Peninsular Club, at the corner of Pearl and Ottawa streets, on the last fragment of Prospect Hill.

UNGRADED SCHOOL.

In September, 1871, an ungraded school, very different in character from the one referred to in the preceding paragraphs, was opened, the work of which is thus set forth in Mr. Daniel's report: "Many persons whose early education has been neglected yearly present themselves for classification in the schools, whose age and maturity of mind will enable them to advance much faster than the pupils with whom they must be classed if the rigid rules of the graded system be followed. Eighty-seven such persons have entered this school the past year, many of whom have been transferred to other departments as they became fitted for them." The second year 102 pupils entered the school, which was maintained for a number of years, until changes in the grading of the schools made it no longer necessary.

TRAINING SCHOOL.

In 1871 a training school for teachers was established in Primary No. 3 (now Fountain street school), in which persons who wished to enter the schools as teachers were drilled in the work before being placed in charge of rooms. The school was conducted upon the following plan: The Principal, with eight pupil-teachers to assist, took charge of and taught the primary department in the building, which then occupied four rooms. Two pupil-teachers were assigned to each room, one for each half day, who continued to the work in the same for ten weeks, when they were placed for the same length of time in charge of another room, thus passing through all the primary grades in one year. In a meeting at the close of each day, at which all pupil-teachers were required to be present, criticisms and suggestions were offered by the Principal, and plans presented for the following day. This training school was kept up until 1878, when the Board of Education adopted the present cadet system, by which each year several cadet teachers are employed at $200 per annum, each of whom is assigned to some teacher whom she assists, and by whom she is instructed. As soon as capable the cadet is placed in charge of a room, which generally happens not later than the second year of her cadetship.

In 1879 the School Board, in connection with the Union Benevolent Association, opened an Industrial School for girls, the Board providing a teacher in the person of Mrs. Lamira Freeman, and the Benevolent Association managing the industrial part of the school. The experiment proved expensive, and the Trustees soon decided to discontinue it. Of this school Ladd J. Lewis, President of the Board for 1880-81, said: "Great good was accomplished, for the pupils were of that class whose parents are poor and who do not feel able to clothe them in a suitable manner for the ward schools. Much good was done and good seed sown that will be of lasting benefit to the pupils, and though it was expensive the past has proven that it is cheaper to educate the people than to build prisons for them." Superintendent I. N. Mitchell strongly advocated the establishment of a normal training school for boys in connection with the Ungraded or Truant School. In his recommendation to the Board on the subject he says:

In such schools as have made the experiment it is found that 30 boys are all that can be well handled by one teacher. In our ungraded school we have just such a class--the average attendance is about 30. In the schools where normal training has been instituted, the sentiment is unanimous that the boys enter enthusiastically into the work, and frequently have to be driven out of the shops at the end of the work hours. Another result noticed at the manual training schools is that the shop work does not interfere with the book work, but on the contrary increases its efficiency. From the report of the special committee on Manual Training at Omako, Nebraska, it appears that the cost of a plant for the instruction of 30 boys, is as follows:

Thirty benches for 30 boys............$429.00
Tools for 30 boys.....................$187.50
Gas and water service................$ 92.00
Total....................................$708.50

This cost could be reduced by making bench room and supplying tools for but half the boys, with the view of having half work while the other half study.

Prof. F. M. Kendall, the present Superintendent, warmly seconded the suggestion of his predecessor, and recommended the appointment of a committee to look into the feasibility of the undertaking. Such a committee of the board of education now (January, 1889), has the matter in charge, and has embodied the above suggestion of Mr. Mitchell in its report. The idea of such training is not to teach any particular trade, but to give theoretical and practical instruction in the elementary principles underlying them all.

BOARD OF EDUCATION.

The great public interest felt in educational matters in Grand Rapids is well demonstrated by the fact that many citizens have been found willing to spend their time and talents in performing the onerous duties of members of the Board of Education, although the office yields little honor and no salary. There are but a few citizens of prominence, residents of the city for any considerable number of years, who have not served in this capacity either before or since the uniting of the three districts.

Among those who served on the Board of District No. 1, were: John Ball, James H. McKee, Thomas D. Gilbert, J. M. Nelson, Stephen Wood, W. G. Henry, Thompson Sinclair, Joshua Boyer, H. K. Rose, C. P. Calkins, A. D. Rathbone, Charles Shepard, Jonathan H. Gray, Edson Fuller, Gaius Deane, David Burnett, Alonzo Platt, John Potter, John H. Hollister, F. D. Boardman, Leonard Bement, L. R. Atwater, Henry Martin, William A. Richmond, Wilder D. Foster, Charles Stone, Lewis Porter, John W. Peirce, George Kendall, and Truman H. Lyon.

After the consolidation many who had served on the District boards were re-elected to the new board, among whose lists of member since 1871 have also appeared the names of John McConnell, J. C. Parker, J. H. Tompkins, Moreau S. Crosby, Amos Quimby, W. D. Talford, A. L. Skinner, H. W. Slocum, I. Simmons, J. B. Haney, F. B. Day, L. M. Page, Ebenezer Anderson, James H. McKee, J. T. Elliott, Leonard H. Randall, R. W. Davis, B. C. Saunders, A. T. Linderman, W. G. Saunders, Eben Smith, Charles W. Calkins, P. R. L. Peirce, George S. Berry, E. J. Shinkman, G. De Graaf, Joseph Penney, R. B. Woodcock, J. E. McBride, Heman Palmerlee, A. D. Plumb, John B. Graves, Orland H. Godwin, James N. Davis, H. B. Fallas, J. M. Harris, W. R. Shelby, D. D. Hughes, W. K. Wheeler, W. H. H. Walker, A. P. Sinclair, G. W. Stanton, J. J. De Jonge, D. H. Posers, George C. Fitch, J. Edward Earle, Charles E. Belknap, Charles R. Sligh, William M. Hathaway, Charles J. Hupp, James D. Robinson, Dennis Campau, W. J. Stuart, Henry Utterwick, Alfred S. Richards, Edgar P. Mills, Josiah Tibbetts, James Fox, George B. Reily, M. J. Ulrich, David P. Ranson, E. H. Stein, Simon Sullivan, George R. Allen, H. H. Drury, J. B. Griswold, George R. Allen, and Louis Prinz. The following table gives the names of Presidents of the Board, which are omitted in the preceding list, and statistics showing the increase in school population since 1871:

Years President of School Board No. of 
child'n 
enrol'd
No. 
child'n 
schl.
age
No. 
Tea'rs
1871-73 A. L. Chubb 3805 5229 53
1873-74 A. L. Chubb 4398 5908 64
1874-75 Henry Fralick 4819 6682 74
1875-76 Henry Fralick 4854 7961 74
1876-77 William P. Innes 5062 8400 83
1877-78 William P. Innes 5040 8900 87
1878-79 Laurens W. Wolcott 5039 9078 92
1879-80 A. D. Plumb 5109 9115 91
1880-81 Ladd J. Lewis 5390 9559 101
1881-82 Ladd J. Lewis 5853 9784 107
1882-83 Gaius W. Perkins 6576 11298 131
1883-84 Gaius W. Perkins 6932 11910 137
1884-85 Charles Chandler 7604 12071 142
1885-86 Henry J. Felker 7925 12218 168
1886-87 Henry J. Felker 8240 12775 183
1887-88 James Blair 8539 14066 204
1888-89 Niram A. Fletcher 9301 15164 213

The Trustees are chosen for two years--two from each of the eight wards--one from every ward being elected each year on the first Monday in September. The Mayor of the city is ex officio a member of the Board, and thus nine members of the Board, a majority of the seventeen, are elected annually, which makes the body exceedingly sensitive to popular control, whole the holding over of the eight members prevents sudden and radical innovations. These school elections are often very lively contests, although other than educational questions seldom enter into them. Interest in them has of later years been greatly stimulated by the fact that women, who have children of school age (over 5 and under 20 years) or who possess taxable property, are qualified to vote, and to hold office as Trustee. Women have very numerously exercised this right, and have seldom failed to put one of their own sex in the field as a candidate, since the law making them eligible was enacted in 1885. At the same session of the Legislature the school law was so amended as to abolish the annual school meeting in the city, the school budget being thereafter submitted to the Common Council instead of an assemblage of electors.  At the school election held Monday, September 3, 1888, the women nominated two candidates for Trustee, Mrs. Harriet Cook in the Third Ward, and Mrs. F. B. Wallin in the Eighth. Mrs. Wallin was defeated, her opponent, R. W. Merrill, receiving a majority of 157 votes. In the Third Ward the efforts of Mrs. Cook's friends, who worked hard in the interest of their candidate, were crowned with success. She received 674 votes to 601 cast for John A. Covode, the nominee of the citizens' caucus.  The total of votes cast, 1,275 was the largest ever called out at a school election in the ward, and shows the warm interest taken in the contest. Mrs. Cook was endorsed by the Equal Suffrage Association, and fully 500 of the votes she received were cast by women, yet she did not receive the unanimous support of the women of her ward. At least one lady (a school teacher) was heard to remark on the day of election: "Well, I am going to vote against her. I don't want a woman on the Board of Education, for when she comes to visit the schools she will be sure to see everything!" Mrs. Cook has the honor of being the first woman elected to membership in the Board of Education. The membership for 1888-89, which was determined at this election, was as follows: First Ward, Edward H. Stein, Henry E. Locher; Second Ward, Geo. R. Allen, Joseph Houseman; Third Ward, H. H. Drury, Mrs. Harriet A. Cook; Fourth Ward, J. B. Griswold, James Blair; Fifth Ward, Simon Sullivan, James E. McBride; Sixth Ward, Henry J. Felker, John Gelock; Seventh Ward, Alfred S. Richards, Charles E. Kellogg; Eighth Ward, Niram A. Fletcher, Robert W. Merrill; I. M. Weston, Mayor, ex officio member.

SCHOOL GROWTH AND EXPENSES.

The rapid growth of the schools may readily be observed by reference to the preceding table. The increase from 5, 229 youth of school age in 1871 to 15,164 in 1888, results naturally from the growth of the city, but the increase in the number of teachers employed from 53 in 1871 to 213 in 1888, shows that the schools have more than kept pace with the city in growth, since the present school population is a little less than thrice as large as it was in 1871, while the number of teachers employed has been more than quadrupled. This indicates to what a state of efficiency the teaching force of the schools has been brought; and the large ratio which the number of pupils enrolled in the schools bears to the whole number of school age (5 to 20 years) in the city, clearly shows how strong a hold the public schools have gained upon popular respect and confidence. The slight falling off in the proportions of the enrollments to the school population from 1875 to 1883 was probably due to the business depression of that period, compelling the older children to leave school for work. The large increase in the cost of education per capita from $14.87 in 1879 to $19.93 in 1887, is what might have been expected, when it is considered that the number of pupils enrolled has increased annually between those years at the average rate of 430, and to accommodate this increase the Board has built ten school buildings at a cost of $241,000, besides enlarging several others, in some instances twice their original size. The large increase in the number of pupils required a corresponding increase in the number of teachers, which was more than doubled in that period. In order to obtain the best educational talent, an increase in wages was necessary, and for the past six years the salaries in the primary and grammar grades have been fixed by the following standing rules based on position and experience: Principals receive $500 for the first room, and $25 for each additional room in the building. Assistants in charge of rooms receive maximum salaries as follows: Teachers of first and seventh grades, $500; second to sixth grades inclusive, $500; eighth and ninth grades, $600. Cadets receive $200 for the first year, $300 for the second, if remaining so long a cadet, and on promotion to the charge of a room $350, which is increased regularly each year until the maximum of the grade is reached. The salary of the Superintendent for the school year ending Sept. 3, 1888, was $2,500, and of the High School principals $1,800 and $1,500 respectively. The salaries for the school year ending Sept. 1, 1888, when the number of teachers was 204, aggregated $96,975, and for the year ending Sept., 1889, with an increase of nine teachers, it was estimated that $107,440.24 would be expended for salaries.

The public spirit of the citizens of Grand Rapids is perhaps in nothing better shown than by the liberal manner in which accommodations have been provided for the rapidly swelling school population. In 1878 the city had twelve school-buildings with a seating capacity of 4,029; now (January, 1889), there are twenty-three school-buildings with sittings for some 9,200 pupils. The estimated value of school property is upward of $652,000. It has been a quite uniform practice in erecting new buildings to raise the money for them on long time bonds, putting the cost of site and the furnishings into the annual tax budget. The city has now outstanding $216,000 of schools bonds, covering a period up to 1907 before they mature, every dollar of which has been issued since June 1, 1878. The rate of school taxation for 1886-87 was seven mills on the dollar. The total expenses of the Board of education for all purposes were $183,344, of which $30,935 was for buildings, school sites and furniture, grading, sewers and other permanent improvements. The school budget for the current year---1888-89---amounts in round numbers to $210,000, of which $110,000 is the amount estimated for teachers' salaries. The per cent of taxation for all school purposes for 1887-88 was 8 1/3 mills on the dollar.

THE STUDIES PURSUED.

In the earlier days of the schools, tuition was charged, but now the public schools are wholly free, no tuition being charged from the lowest department to the highest, except to non-resident pupils. Not only are the schools themselves free, but the Legislature at a recent session, on petition of the School Board, so amended the law as to authorize the Board to purchase text-books and all other supplies, and furnish the free use of them to pupils--such supplies, however, remaining the property of the Board. The course of study in the schools requires twelve years--the first four in the primary schools, the second four in the grammar schools, and the last four in the High School. The aim in the primary and grammar schools is to teach thoroughly the elements of a sound, practical, common school education. Special teachers in music, drawing and penmanship (the teachers in these branches for 1888-89 being respectively, G. C. Shepard, Miss Sylvia McCall and Miss May V. Cavanaugh) superintend the work in [stained over] branches in all grades but  [stained over] the primary and grammar  [stained over] that particular attention is given to this special instruction. In the High School as in the primary and grammar departments, the course of study is arranged with special reference to pupils who complete their school life there; although the classical course, including four years of Latin and two of Greek, and a full course of mathematics, the Latin and modern language courses and the preparatory English course, entitles graduates to enter Michigan University and the State Agricultural College upon their High School diplomas.  The modern language courses, including fours years of French or German with the sciences and mathematics, and the English commercial course which substitutes bookkeeping in place of higher mathematics, have been found well adapted to the needs of young men and women whose education ends in the High School. Among studies in the Grand Rapids High School curriculum not always included in High School course, are zoology, chemistry, geology, botany, astronomy and political economy. The natural sciences are studied by the experimental method under the professorship of C. W. Carman. A well equipped frame laboratory annex of three rooms for the accommodation of these sciences was erected in the summer of 1888 to the southward of the main High school building.

THE SCHOOL BUILDINGS.

The public schools of Michigan are justly celebrated throughout the United States for their efficiency and progressive spirit, and the schools of Grand Rapids are second to none in the State in these important respects; although other cities in the country may perhaps boast of more beautiful accessories to education in the way of expensive and elaborately finished school-houses. The yearly necessity of providing further accommodations for the ever increasing school  population, made a wise conservatism of expenditures in this direction imperatife, yet that the Board have builded beautifully as well as wisely where feasible, let the cuts of recently erected school houses in this chapter bear witness. With the exception of three buildings, containing in all twelve rooms, the school houses are substantial brick structures, and in many cases architectural ornaments to the city. Following are short histories of the various school-houses of the city, with the names of the teachers who hold sway in each.

THE CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL.

This is in the Second Ward. The grounds have a front of 264 feet on Lyon street, by 367 on Barclay and Ransom streets, and were purchased of G. C. Nelson, Edward L. Stevens, John Ball and Junius H. H. Hatch, a portion in 1848 and the rest in 1849, for the sum of $635. On the southern line of the lot is the janitor's house.  The present building, erected in 1867, is of brick, three stories high, and 65 by 106 feet on the ground floor. A tower rises from the southwest corner, from the belfry of which a better view of the city can be obtained than from any other point of observation in the city. The building contains 20 rooms used for school purposes, including the new laboratory annex which has just been completed, and has sittings for 600 pupils. It is well lighted and fairly ventilated, is heated by steam and lighted by gas. The value of the property is estimated at $91,500. The lower floor is occupied by the eighth grade pupils, the two upper floors by the High School grades. The museum of the Kent Scientific Institute, one of the most valuable scientific collections in the State, occupies several recitation rooms in the building. The High School has has a remarkably rapid growth during the last three years. The number belonging at the close of the month of October, 1885, was 292; in 1886, 366, an increase of 73; in 1887, 436, an increase of 71. All the departments of instruction are in excellent condition, under the following corps of teachers:  W. A. Greeson, A. M., Principal; Miss Annah M. Clark, Preceptress; Miss Marion Horsford, English Literature; Miss Carolyn Parrish, A. B., the Classics; Miss Catherine McArthur, Rhetoric; Mrs. M. C. Orth, German; Miss Agnes R. Ginn, French; C. W. Carman, the Natural Sciences; A. J. Volland, A. B., Principal of the Grammar School; Miss Emma J. Cole, Miss Carrie L. Dickinson, Miss Alice M. James, A. B., Miss E. Chesebro, Miss Kate D. Price, Miss Susan Gordon, Miss N. Rogers, Mrs. H. M. Herrick, Miss Sarah A. Reed, teachers in the lower and grammar grades. Among former teachers, Prof. E. A. Strong's work has already been mentioned. Miss Ellen Dean, for eleven years teacher of English Literature and History, resigned at the close of 1888 to accept the chair of English Literature in the University of Tennessee, yet the influence of her rare scholarship and love of learning did not depart with her, but will long be felt in the schools. Miss Annah M. Clark is the veteran teacher of the High School, having been instructor therein ever since 1871, and her stateliness of character and Spartan firmness as a disciplinarian, make her presence invaluable to the school.

THE UNION HIGH SCHOOL.

This is located in the Seventh Ward, corner of Turner and Third streets. The lot, which has 264 feet frontage on Turner, 250 on Third street, 330 on Broadway and 125 on Fourth street, is composed of nine city lots, seven of which were purchased of E. H. Turner in 1854 for the sum of $1,000, the other two being acquired of Mr. Turner and Ebenezer Anderson at a later date. The building was erected in 1875 to replace the old stone school house. The edifice is of brick, 82 by 108 feet, with tower, slate roof, stone water table, caps and sills, tree stories with high basement, and fronts both on Turner street and Broadway. The total cost with furnishings, ventilation and heating apparatus, was $40,000; present value of the property, $70,000. The building contains 11 rooms with sittings for 600 pupils. It was erected for the purpose of making High School privileges more accessible to residents on the west side of Grand River, and the course of study is identical with that of the Central High School in the Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh grades, the students spending the senior year at and graduating from Central High School. Following are the teachers in this building: Irving W. Barnhart, Principal; Mrs. I. N. Catlin, Preceptress; Miss M. A. Dubridge, Miss A. Richards, Mrs. E. H. Nixon, Miss Alice A. Parker, Mrs. Florence H. Brothers, Mrs. P. L. Hamilton, Mrs. Anna S. Rose, Miss J. A. Emery, Miss C. C. Greene, Miss F. N. Hydorn, Miss J. C. Dickey, Miss Eva Ward. Some of the former teachers in this school have already been mentioned. Among others were Miss Maggie Scott, teacher of the first primary grade, and Miss E. A. Hunter of the second primary, in 1867, and Miss M. E. Rice of the grammar department; Mrs. S. M. Dean of the First Intermediate, and Miss Sarah Barker of the Second Intermediate grade, for the same year.

NORTH DIVISION STREET SCHOOL.

This is in the Fourth Ward, corner of Bridge, Division and Ionia Streets, and was formerly known as Primary No. 1. The lot, which has a front of 174 feet on Bridge street by 169 feet on Ionia and Division, was purchased of Chas. H. Carroll, Nov. 25, 1864, for the sum of $1,100. The building is one of the oldest school-houses now in the city, is built of brick and contains eleven good rooms, with sittings for 550 pupils, including the two new basement rooms. The estimated value of the property is $38,000. The following corps of teachers are employed in this building: Miss M. E. Dwight, Principal; Miss Sarah Royal, Miss C. G. Kay, Mrs. M. Biscomb, Mrs. A. E. Lincoln, Miss H. L. Mallard, Miss F. Barkman, Miss Frances Streng, Miss E. A. Mitchell, Miss A. L. Kinney, Miss Grace E. Kay, cadet. In this building, Miss Dwight is the most experienced teacher, having served eighteen years in the city schools.

SOUTH DIVISION STREET SCHOOL.

First Ward, on the corner of Division, Bartlett and Spring streets, formerly known as Primary No. 2. The lot has 165 feet front on Division and Spring streets, by 286 on Bartlett, and was purchased June 27, 1861, of the heirs of H. S. Ellsworth, for $500. Primary No. 2, a two-story building, of which the lower story was brick and the upper wood, containing five rooms, formerly occupied the Division street front of the lot, while Spring street school, a two-story wooden, four-room building, occupied the Spring street front. These buildings were removed upon the completion of the present school house in April, 1884. This building, one of the handsomest in the city, is of white brick with red trimmings, two stories, with good basements. It contains fourteen rooms, excellently lighted, and furnishing sittings for 700 pupils. The contract cost of the building without furnishings was $32,350, and the estimated value of the property is $75,000. The following are the teachers in this building for the school year 1888-89: Miss Helen S. Sauers, Principal; Miss Mary Blake, Miss Mary N. Owen, Miss Lizzie Walsh, Miss C. R. Chamberlain, Mrs. A. E. Beach, Miss H. R. Hawley, Miss Helen A. Clark, Miss Myrtie Rose, Miss Abbie Chellis, Miss Georgia V. Miller, Miss Annie Walsh, Miss O. C. Blake, Miss Gertrude Streng, Miss Julia F. Coffinberry, Miss Annie Turner, cadet. Of these, Miss Helen S. Sauers, Miss Julia F. Coffinberry, and Miss O. C. Blake are veteran school teachers, having done faithful work in the schools of Grand Rapids in that capacity for seventeen, eighteen, and nineteen years, respectively. The history of the schools would not be complete without mentioning the work of Miss Dexa E. Henry, Principal of Spring street school, who died Thursday, September 11, 1879. A page of the Annual Report of the Board of Education for the year ending September, 1879, is devoted to her memory, from which memorial tribute the following quotation is taken.

Miss Henry was born October 12, 1839. Her early education was obtained partly in district schools and partly in the High School of this city.

After several terms of successful teaching elsewhere, she was called to this city, where for nearly twelve years she labored arduously and successfully first as an assistant and afterward as a principal of one of the public schools. Her superiority as a teacher was the result of her devotion to one subject--that of bringing all her pupils into sympathy with and love for their school work, and this her broad views of education, her unusual mental resources and her entire disregard for immediate results, enabled her to do to an extent seldom attained.

FOUNTAIN STREET SCHOOL.

Situated in the Second Ward on Fountain street, between College avenue and Prospect street. This was formerly known as Primary No. 3. The site, having a front of 295 feet on Fountain street, and a depth of 250 feet, was bought of D. W. and J. Coit, September 20, 1867, for the sum of $800. The school house, a nine-room, three-story, brick structure, 60 by 80 feet in size, with sandstone trimmings, has a seating capacity for 450 pupils. It was erected in 1871, at a cost of $20,000. A small house used as the janitor's quarters is situated on the rear of the lot. The total value of the property is $35,000. The names of the teachers in this building for 1888-89, are : Miss H. A. Lathrop, Principal; Miss Carrie Moss, Miss J. A. Wyckoff, Miss E. A. Creswell, Miss Kate A. Read, Miss Annie H. Read, Miss Carrie E. Burch, Miss Cora Gardinier, Miss Alta Winchester, Miss Kittie Plumb, cadet. Of these, the principal, Miss H. A. Lathrop, has served the longest, having taught seventeen years in the schools of Grand Rapids.

WEALTHY AVENUE SCHOOL.

Third Ward, on Wealthy avenue, Lafayette and Cass streets, formerly called Primary No. 4. The lot is 250 feet square, and was purchased of Joseph Penney, September 18, 1867, for $1,750. The school house, built in 1869, is a substantial, two-story brick building, and contains six school rooms, with accommodations for 300 pupils. The total property is valued at $29,000. The following are the teachers of 1888-89: Miss M. H. Jennings, Principal; Miss Rose Webster, Miss Ida Davenport, Miss Bessie M. Carmon, Miss W. Seegmiller, Miss Alice B. Reed, Miss Delia Wilde, cadet. Miss Davenport and Miss Jennings are the oldest two teachers in this building, having taught twelve and thirteen years respectively.

GRANDVILLE AVENUE SCHOOL.

This school, formerly Primary No. 5, is situated in the southwest part of the First Ward, on Second avenue near Grandville avenue. The lot, 130 by 264 feet, was bought from George H. White & co., October 1, 1870, at a cost of $2,000. The building, erected in the same year, was a two-room, two-story brick structure. Additions have been made, until the building contains ten rooms, and with a commodious frame annex (a separate building), furnishes sittings for 500 pupils. The estimated value of the property is $33,000. Miss Emma Field, the principal of this school, is a veteran of the veterans, having taught twenty-four years in the ranks of Grand Rapids school teachers. Her cousin, Miss Abby Field, in the same building, has seen sixteen years of faithful service.  Other teachers in this building for 1888-89, are: Miss Hattie E. Conrad, Miss Eva Pierce, Miss Mary Morrison, Miss Anna S. Carroll, Miss Bertha T. Stowell, Miss Lillian Hunt, Mrs. C. D. Rourke, and Miss Emma Kline, cadet.

OLD TURNER STREET AND WEST LEONARD STREET SCHOOLS.

Primary No. 6, or the old Turner street school, is in the Sixth Ward on Turner street, between Eleventh and Leonard streets. The lot, 150 feet front on Turner with a depth of 125 feet, was purchased of Isaac Edison, October 20, 1866, for $600. A three-room, two-story wooden school house was erected thereon soon after. The building ahs received additions, and now contains six school-rooms, and capacity for 259 pupils. It is not at present used for school purposes. Its estimated value is $3,000. In 1872 the Board of Education purchased five acres of land on Leonard street in the Sixth Ward for $2,000. This tract was subsequently sold, except a lot with 250 feet frontage on Leonard street and 300 feet deep, on which the West Leonard street school-house was built in 1882. This building is of Grand Rapids white brick with red brick trimmings, two stories above high basement, with slate roof and tower containing a bell; is well lighted, and is heated and ventilated by steam. It contains eight rooms, and accommodations for 400 pupils. Cost of building and furnishings, $13,200. Estimated value of the property, $20,000. Following are the teachers for 1888-89: Miss Nellie Post, Principal; Miss Amanda Stout, Miss Carrie M. Oliver, Miss C. A. Banks, Mrs. Ida M. Knettle, Miss E. D. Santley, Miss Emma Taylor, Miss Lillian E. Quealy, Miss Georgia Shear, cadet.

NORTH IONIA STREET SCHOOL.

This is in the Fifth Ward, on Ionia, between Walbridge and Coldbrook streets, and was formerly known as Primary No. 7. The lot, 200 feet square, was purchased of Robert Cutler, June 18, 1870, for $1,200. The rear part of the school house was built in 1870, and is two stories high.  The front, 46 by 75 feet, was built in 1872, and is three stories with basement. The material is brick, and the style and design of the building are good. It contains eight commodious rooms, with ample halls and stairways, has sittings for 456 pupils, and is heated and ventilated by steam. The value of the property is estimated at $35,000. Following are the teachers for 1888-89: Miss Mary Roche, Principal; Miss Hattie Ferguson, Miss Clara A. Roop, Miss Anna Bettes, Miss J. Richmond, Miss A. C. Hopkins, Mrs. J. G. Boivin, Miss C. E. Ford, Miss Elizabeth Moloney, cadet.

JEFFERSON STREET SCHOOL.

This school, formerly known as Primary No. 8, is in the Eighth Ward. The lot has a frontage of 132 feet each on Jefferson and Gold streets, by 264 feet on California street. It was bought of John Butler, October 9, 1867. The house, a three-story, five-room brick structure, was built in 1870, and so designed as to permit an addition on the south end. With this addition the building now has eleven school rooms, well lighted and warmed and ventilated by steam, which furnish accommodations for 550 pupils. Estimated value of the property, $32,000. The teachers for the school year 1888-89, are as follows: Miss J. C. Ahnefeldt, Principal; Miss Mary Ahnefeldt, Miss Helen L. Dickey, Miss Margaret Strahan, Miss Anna Estes, Miss Jennie Gordon, Miss Fannie Hess, Miss Clara Skinner, Miss Edith Miller, Miss Julia Doran, Miss Maude Ball.

CENTER STREET SCHOOL.

This was formerly known as Primary No. 9. It is in the Third Ward. The grounds have a frontage of 204 feet on Center street by 200 on McDowell street, and were purchased in 1874 for $2,700. The house is of brick, two stories with basement, and contained four rooms when completed in 1875. The capacity has been doubled since, and it now contains eight rooms, is warmed by stoves, and furnishes sittings for 400 pupils. The estimated value of the property is $20,000. Miss Belle M. Tower, the principal of this school, is one of the veteran school teachers of the city, having taught eighteen years, and Miss Jennie M. Miller, of the same building, has been in the employ of the Board of Education as a teacher for twelve years. Other teachers in this building are: Miss Helen Christ, Miss Cora M. Riggs, Miss E. Hitchcock, Miss Jessie Lathrop, Miss Carolyn M. Rice, Miss Carrie B. Jewett, Miss Mary Bates, cadet.

PINE STREET SCHOOL.

This, formerly Primary No. 10, is in the Seventh Ward, having a frontage of 200 feet on First and 187 feet on Pine street. The building is of brick, 32 by 74 feet, two stories with basement, and is warmed by stoves. It was erected in 1879 at a cost of $4,200, contains four rooms and furnishes sittings for 200 pupils; estimated value of the property, $10,000. Following are the present teachers of the school: Miss Lucy Bettes, principal; Miss Bettine Orth, Miss Helen L. Turner, Miss Frances Van Buren, Miss Therese Wurzburg, cadet.

HENRY STREET SCHOOL.

Third Ward on Henry and James streets, between Wealthy avenue and Sherman street. The lot is 150 feet on Henry and James streets by 270 feet deep, and cost $2,500. The building, a two-story brick, 32 by 74 feet, containing four school rooms, was built in 1878 at a cost of $4,450, and was formerly known as Primary No. 11. It is heated by stoves, and as now enlarged furnishes sittings for 400 pupils. The estimated value of the property is $20,000. Mrs. F. E. P. Stephenson, principal; and Miss Lizzie R. Hanchet are the senior teachers in this building, the former having taught fifteen and the latter sixteen years in the schools of the city. The other teachers for the current year are: Miss Florence A. Weed, Miss Georgie L. Orcutt, and Miss Edith K. Boynton, cadet.

COIT AVENUE SCHOOL.

Fourth Ward, on Coit avenue, between Trowbridge and Fairbanks streets. The lot has 150 feet front on Coit avenue by 208 feet deep to alley, and cost $2,500. The building is of brick, two stories above height stone basement, 32 by 74 feet. It has four school rooms heated by stoves, and furnishing sittings for 200 pupils. It was built in 1880, and cost $6,400. This was formerly known as Primary No. 12. Its present estimated value is $7,000. Miss N. Campbell, Principal of this school, has had an experience of thirteen years as teacher in the schools of Grand Rapids. Other teachers in this building are: Miss L. M. Kinney, Miss F. E. Neeland, Miss Nellie Stanton, and Miss Winnie Rose, cadet.

EAST LEONARD STREET SCHOOL.

This is the name by which the old Coldbrook school building is now known, which was erected in 1860 by the Trustees of District No. 6, on a lot at the corner of East Leonard and North avenue, purchased of C. W. Taylor, for $300. The lot has a frontage of 200 feet on Leonard street by 225 on North avenue. The building is of brick, two stories in height, and contains two school rooms warmed by stoves, and furnishing sittings for 100 pupils. The present estimated value of the property is $7,000. The contract price of the building was $1,500. The teachers for the current year are: Miss F. L. E. Coyle, Principal; Miss Stella Kromer, assistant, and Miss Josie Moriarty, cadet. Though nearly thirty years old, the house is still in fairly good condition.

TURNER STREET SCHOOL.

This stands in the Sixth Ward, on a lot 150 feet north and south by 250 east and west, touching Turner, Eleventh and Broadway streets, which ground cost $4,000. The building is among the best in the city, of white brick, two stories high, and containing twelve rooms with a seating capacity of 600. It is heated and ventilated by steam and has city water and sewerage. The halls are broad, and the rooms well lighted and ventilated. It was erected in 1886. The property is valued at $27,000. Miss Elsie C. Smith, Principal of the school, is also its senior teacher, having seen seventeen years of faithful service. Other teachers for the current year are: Miss Mary Folston, Miss Georgietta W. Berry, Miss Lyn L. Carle, Miss Hattie Swain, Miss Lillian Godfrey, Miss L. B. Adams, Miss Clara Ransom, Mrs. C. A. Holton, Miss Ada Barnett, Miss Mary London, Miss Margaret Doran, cadet.

PLAINFIELD AVENUE SCHOOL.

This school has a ten-room, two-story, brick building, in the Fifth Ward on Plainfield avenue, on a lot 200 feet square. The original building, erected in 1884, contained only six rooms, but the number was subsequently increased to ten, with a seating capacity of 500, at an additional expenditure of $6,000. It is now heated by steam, and is first-class in every respect. The property is valued at $28,000. Miss L. J. Kromer is the senior teacher of the Plainfield avenue corps, having taught thirteen years in the schools of the Valley City. Other teachers are: Miss M. D. Doyle, Principal; Mrs. M. A. Randolph, Miss J. V. Pond, Miss F. M. Blood, Miss J. L. Rhines, Miss J. Murphy, Miss Mary Kromer, Miss Ida M. Cole, Miss Abbie Moran, and Miss Alice Finn, cadet.

SOUTH IONIA STREET SCHOOL.

This is in the First Ward. The lot has a frontage of 132 feet on Ionia by 198 on Fifth avenue. The building is a wooden one, two stories high, which was moved upon the site and fitted up in 1884, at an expense of $5,000. The school house now contains four commodious rooms, heated by stoves, and furnishes accommodations for 216 pupils. The estimated value of the property is $8,500. Mrs. Helen J. Hood, with an experience of thirteen years as a teacher in Grand Rapids, is Principal; and the other teachers are: Miss Florence N. Greene, Miss Emily Smith, Miss Ella Everhart, Miss Clara Ward, cadet.

EAST BRIDGE STREET SCHOOL.

This is on East Bridge street near College avenue. The grounds have a frontage of 250 feet on Bridge street and a depth of 231 feet. The building is a six-room, two-story, white brick structure, erected in 1885. It has a seating capacity of 317, is warmed by six hot-air furnaces, with a grate in each room, and has water and sewer connections. The value of the property is $20,000. Miss Libbie A. Pierce, the Principal of this school, divides with Miss Emma Field, of Grandville avenue, the honor of being the veteran teacher in the schools of  Grand Rapids, each having taught twenty-four years. Other teachers in this building are: Miss Josephine Smith, Miss H. S. Sprague, Miss Hattie M. Goodrich, Miss E. J. Kinney, Miss C. J. Steiner, Miss Bessie Goodrich, cadet.

SEVENTH STREET SCHOOL.

A six-room, white brick building, erected in 1885, at the corner of Stocking and Seventh streets. The grounds have a frontage of 287 feet on Seventh street by 120 on Stocking. The house is heated by six hot-air furnaces, is well ventilated, is connected with city water and sewer, and furnishes sittings for 311 pupils. The estimated value of the property is $18,000. The teachers for the current year are: Miss Carrie Plank, Principal; Miss Cornelia Wilder, Miss Kate Swain, Miss V. D. Bacon, Miss A. Cornell, Miss Lucy E. Stoddard, and Miss Flora Forsyth, cadet. Of these Miss Stoddard is the senior teacher, having see thirteen years of service in the schools of Grand Rapids.

MADISON AVENUE SCHOOL.

This school stands in the Third Ward. The grounds have a frontage of 183 feet on Madison by 194 feet on Fifth avenue and 173 feet on Terrace avenue. The building---a twelve-room, two story brick structure, with seats for 600 pupils--was completed in 1888, is first class in all its appointments. Its cost was $21,000---total value of the property, $30,000. The staff of teachers at this school for 1888-89, comprises: Miss Hattie Bailey, Principal; Miss M. O. Barkley, Miss H. M. Gardner, Miss M. Webster, Miss Stella Laraway, Miss Libbie Arnold, Miss Lana Bishop, Miss L. S. Davis, Miss Catherine Smith, Miss Susie Bailey, Miss Cornelia Newton, Miss Pauline McPherson, Miss Annie Pollard, cadet.

STRAIGHT STREET SCHOOL.

This stands in the Eighth Ward. The lot has a frontage of 217 feet on Straight by 122 on Watson street. The old building is a two story frame dwelling, converted into a two-room school house, and moved to the rear of the lot. This furnishes sittings for 80 pupils. On the main part of the site is a brick structure, containing eight large rooms and furnishing sittings for 363 pupils, which was erected in 1885 at a cost, together with the heating apparatus, of $17, 486.70. It is heated by steam, has gas and sewer connections, and is complete in every particular. The estimated value of the property is $24,000. Following are the teachers for the current year: Miss Flora A. Cromwell, Principal; Miss M. E. Lynch, Miss Mary Eldred, Miss A. Blakley, Miss Lillian Thurston, Miss M. Ohler, Miss Amy Bertsch, Miss Mattie Dole, Miss Maude Simmons, cadet.

SCHOOL INSPECTORS.

Following is a list of the school inspectors from 1850 to the abolition of the office:

1850 - Franklin Everett
1851 - Thomas B. Church, John H. Hollister, 
            Aaron B. Turner
1852 - Philander H. Bowman
1853 - Thos. B. Church
1854 - Jonathan F. Chubb, Thos. B. Church, 
             Peter R. Peirce
1855 - Solomon L. Withey
1856 - John Ball
1857 - George Gray
1858 - John Ball
1859 - Peter J. G. Hodenpyl
1860 - John Ball
1861 - Jacob Quintus
1862 - John Ball
1863 - _________
1864 - William Ashley, Jr.
1865 - Thomas Smith, John M. Ferris
1866 - Erastus R. Ellis
1867-68 - Edwin A. Strong
1868-69 - Stewart Montgomery
1870 - Edwin A. Strong
1871-73 - Anson J. Daniels

TEACHERS' ASSOCIATIONS.

January 25, 1854, the Kent County Teachers' Institute was organized with the following officers: President, James Ballard; Vice-President for the city (there was a vice-president in each town), P. R. L. Peirce; Corresponding Secretary, Edward W. Chesebro; Recording Secretary, Milton S. Littlefield; Treasurer, Corydon E. Fuller. The modern representative of this institute is the Kent County Teachers' Association, which reorganized at Sparta, Jan. 19, 1889, with these officers: President, A. B. Chalmers, Sparta; Vice-President, Miss Myrtle Hyde, Rockford; Secretary, J. S. McDonald, Paris; Treasurer, Miss Dockeray, Rockford.

Nov. 12, 1881, the Teachers' Mutual Protective Association was organized with these officers: President, E. A. Eggers; Vice-President, Miss Emma Field; Secretary, G. C. Shepard; Treasurer, I. N. Mitchell. By the payment of a small initiation fee and annual dues, the members of this association, which includes a majority of the teachers of the city, are reimbursed at the rate of $1.50 per day for time lost from school on account of sickness. The present officers are: President, G. C. Shepard; Treasurer, A. J. Volland; Secretary, Miss Agnes McIntyre. The association is prosperous and has a snug sum laid by for rainy days in its treasury.


Document Source: Baxter, Albert, History of the City of Grand Rapids, New York and Grand Rapids: Munsell & Company, Publishers, 1891. (Name Index)
Location of Original: Various.
Transcribers: Ronnie Aungst
URL: http://kent.migenweb.net/baxter1891/26publicschools.html

Created: 1 September 1999