History of Schools in Leavenworth, Kansas
From: History of Leavenworth County, Kansas
BY: Jesse A. Hall and Leroy T. Hand
Historical Publishing Company
Topeka, Kansas 1921


THE first school established in this city was a private school by the Rev. J. B. McAfee, now of Topeka, Kansas. It was in the summer of 1855. The school house was a small frame building then standing on the high bank on the southeast corner of Fifth and Shawnee streets opposite the City building. The grading of the principal streets of the city has very materially changed its original appearance as it was at the time of the location of the townsite and for several years thereafter. The above school flourished for a year or two, till the troubles became so paramount, and the Reverend's political views not harmonizing with the prevailing sentiment of a majority of the then citizens of the town, his days of usefulness as a successful school teacher became suddenly abridged, and as the vigilance committee gave him notice (with others) to quit, he thought prudence in this instance at least, was the better part of valor, so gracefully but with becoming agility retired from the school field. Schools were not a necessary adjunct to our prosperity so the powers then in control decreed, during that exciting period; let us wait a little, they said, till our political complexion is a little more clearly defined, and we waited, till the storm blew over. Our town grew rapidly, our children increased in numbers and the enterprise and refinement of our people demanded the establishment of good schools and the building of suitable and properly arranged school houses, the organization of a public spirited and liberal minded Board of Education and the employment of competent and faithful superintendents and a corps of trained and skillful teachers. I do not propose to go into the detail of the construction of each school house, or its precise location, it would not be pleasing or profitable, I opine, to the general reader. I shall content myself with a general review of the subject of public schools in our town. What I said on a former occasion upon this subject might not be inapplicable at the present time and I repeat it. In the matter of public schools Leavenworth has, since the first organization of a regular system, as early as 1858, occupied a front rank, excelled by no city or town in the state, which is so justly celebrated, for the high and advanced position, which she has ever held among her sister commonwealths by her broad and liberal endowments of the public school system of this state, which has built a school house on ten thousand hills and in as many valleys of her broad domain, as a beacon light to the nations of the earth, that in this goodly land of ours the seeds of freedom were not planted in a barren and arid soil, but in a land rich in the hopes and expectations of the future, fed and nurtured by the brawn and muscle of her sturdy sons and the enlightenment and culture of her worthy daughters. They have reared their temples, as living, speaking monuments of their true appreciation of the power and usefulness of a generous and liberal system of common schools, whose full fruition shall be the elevation and advencement of this mighty commonwealth. From the early settlement of our town, our people have fully appreciated the importance of this great work, as has ever been evinced by the liberality of her Board of Education, the perfection of her teaching, and the special skill and ability of her superintendents and their corps of professors and teachers in that behalf. Several of the graduates from her high school have stood in the front rank and graduated with the highest honors of their respective classes in the United States Military Academy at West Point and in the leading colleges in the East. Our school buildings are all well arranged and in most instances convenient and pleasantly located. Our professors are of a superior order of talent, as educators, second to none in the land. Our schools are in a very prosperous condition. The number of children of school age is about 10,000. The value of school property is about $700,000. Our Board of Education (composed of some of our most liberal and progressive citizens) is fully abreast of the times and will enlarge our school facilities by the erection of new buildings and enlarging others already built as the circumstances and necessities of the situation may demand. To the disinterested efforts of these gentlemen their liberal and broad guaged views upon this important subject of education the present prosperity and high standing of our public schools in a great measure, is due. We have one of the finest high school buildings in the state, a dozen first class school houses, a German school, two Catholic parochial schools (English and German), and a German Lutheran school.

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