1918 KANSAS AND KANSANS Educational Instutions Part 3



Kansas City, Kansas

One of the first State charitable institutions was the Asylum for the Blind established in Wyandotte County, in 1864. The commissioners named to take charge of the project were: Henry McBride, Fielding Johnson, and Byron Judd. The legislature specified that ten acres of land having good water and building stone should be secured by donation. Title was acquired to a suitable tract which is now on the corner of Eleventh and State streets in Kansas City, Kansas. No appropriation was made until 1867 when $10,000 was voted. A building was completed in October of that year and the school was opened under the direction of Superintendent H. H. Sawyer, with nine pupils in attendance.

For the first few years the course covered the common school branches, music and manual arts. Much of the instruction had to be communicated orally, until suitable books could be obtained. A high school was added as the pupils advanced. Typewriting, and other money-yielding occupations, such as piano tuning, broom-making, sloyd work, hammock-making, basketry, canning, rope-making, domestic science for the girls and the various needle arts were made a part of the training.

In 1877, the name was changed from the Asylum for the Blind, to the Kansas Institution for the Education of the Blind, which was later changed to the Kansas School for the Blind. The pupils are maintained free of expense to the parents, and in 1905, the attendance of all blind children was made compulsory, unless provided with suitable education privately. In 1913, this institution was recognized as an educational instead of a charitable institution, and placed under the management of the Board of Administration with the other State Schools. The average attendance is about ninety pupils. Isa Allen Green is the present superintendent.

                                          ELIZABETH N. BARR.


Olathe, Kansas

The State School for the Deaf at Olathe, is the outgrowth of a private school started by Philip A. Emery, A.M., a deaf gentleman at Baldwin City, in the autumn of 1861. The school was ready October 9, but the first pupil did not come till two months later. Five pupils were enrolled the first year. Through the good offices of a Reverend Mr. Johnson, the legislature made a small appropriation in 1862 covering that year and the next. The sum of twenty-five cents per day for each pupil, in addition to what he might be able to obtain from their parents, was allowed. The regular fees charged each pupil was $2.50 per week, but this amount was seldom collected, except in farm produce, on which no cash could be realized.

In 1862 an act authorizing the founding of certain State institutions mentions a State school for the deaf, but it was not established until 1866. In 1864 the allowance to Mr. Emery's school was raised from twenty-five cents per day to $5.00 per week. An act was passed locating a State school for the deaf and dumb at Olathe, providing the State should receive a donation of twenty acres of land for a site and one hundred and sixty acres for an endowment. The commissioners in charge of the project were: Johnson Clark, J. Flemming, and J. R. Brown.

In the fall of 1864, Mr. Emery brought his school to Topeka, and shortly afterward turned it over to B. R. Nordyke, a former teacher in the deaf and dumb institution of Indiana. In February, 1865, Mr. Nordyke was succeeded by Joseph Mount, who had been Mr. Emery's assistant in 1863. The legislature provided Mr. Mount with a salary, and he took his school back to Baldwin City.

A contention had arisen in regard to the location of the State school, which was not settled until, February, 1866, when the "Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb," was definitely located at Olathe. Buildings were leased from Colonel Joseph E. Hays, and the school opened November 17, 1866. The pupils from the Baldwin school, about a dozen in number, were transferred to Olathe. The building was bought in 1867 for $15,500 and was used for the next twenty years. In 1873, the construction of the main building was begun with the erection of the east wing. There were seventy-seven pupils at that time.

The most important epoch in the history of the school was the administration of Major Theodore C. Bowles, who was superintendent from 1876 till his death in 1879. He infused business rules into the management, established the industrial department and started the Kansas Star.

In 1893, the attendance had reached two hundred and sixty pupils, which is about the present number. The attendance of all deaf children not provided with suitable education, was made compulsory in 1905. The instruction given included common and high school courses, manual training, typewriting, and domestic science. The trades taught are baking, cabinet-making, harness-making, printing, shoe-making, painting, tinning and blacksmithing. The group of buildings include a main building, shops, and school.

                                          ELIZABETH N. BARR.


Emporia, Kansas

The State Normal School was provided for by an act of the legislature, March 3, 1863. The Normal School idea was a new one and the legislature, not fully comprehending the function of such an institution, specified that, in addition to the art of teaching, mechanic arts, husbandry and agricultural chemistry should be taught The purpose of State Superintendent Goodnow, who championed the enterprise, was to found a training school for teachers, both men and women, which should be supported by school lands, and the institution was organized on this basis. Emporia donated the requisite twenty acres for a site according to the provisions of the act, and forty-eight sections of sale lands, which the general government had given the state for common school purposes, were set aside as an endowment to the Normal. In 1869, twelve more sections were added, and in 1886, another twelve sections, making seventy-two sections in all.

No cash appropriation was made, and as there was no income from the lands and no sale for them, the Normal was not opened. In 1864, $1,000 was voted to pay a teacher, but no provision made for a building. Lyon county had a new school house in process of construction, and tendered the use of the second story to the. State Normal. The offer was accepted by the directors, and Rev. G. C. Morse, chairman of the Board, was sent East to secure a teacher. He brought back with him a young man, Lyman B. Kellogg, graduate of the Illinois Normal University. Mr. Kellogg arrived by stage coach the evening of February 14, 1865, and opened school the next day. The only furniture in the room were benches borrowed from the Congregational Church, for the students, and a small table from the notary's office, and a chair from the county treasurer's office, for the teacher. The library consisted in a Bible and a dictionary. The term began with eighteen students and closed with forty-three. At the June meeting the directors placed the entrance age requirement at sixteen for girls and seventeen for boys. The first class of two women, Miss Ellen Plumb and Miss Mary Watson, was graduated in 1867.

The enrollment the second year was ninety students. John Fawcett, a liberal minded citizen erected a onestory frame building, which he turned over for the use of the Normal. In 1867 the legislature voted $1,000 for a building, which was erected at once. In 1872 a building appropriation of $50,000 was made, and a gift of $10,000 was received from the city of Emporia.

In 1871, Dr. George W. Hoss succeeded Lyman Kellogg as the head of the school, and in 1873 he was elected president. Toward the close of that year Dr. C. R. Pomeroy, of Iowa, became president. For two years the Normal made rapid progress, and reached an enrollment of three hundred and forty-five in 1876. At that time the institution met with a series of reverses. The legislature of 1876 cut it off from state support. The 38,400 acres of land held as an endowment were not in shape to yield a cash income and the school was maintained on fees for several years. In 1878, the college lost two boarding houses in a suit with the city of Emporia. In April a tornado damaged the main building, and in October both buildings burned to the ground. The attendance dropped to ninety students and school was held in the two lost boarding houses through the kindness of the city. In 1879 the legislature appropriated $25,000 to rebuild, providing Emporia should donate $28,800. This was done, and the building was finished in 1880. Professor R. B. Welch became president in 1879, and was succeeded by Albert R. Taylor, in 1882. The institution was now practically independent of the state for maintenance, as the endowment was yielding an income. Mr. Taylor remained at the head of the Normal until 1901. His first step was to establish a training department giving the students practical experience in teaching. The common school department was discontinued and high schools of a certain standard were placed on the accredited list. In 1889 manual training was established. In 1895, Albert Taylor Hall was built in honor of the man who made a college out of the institution. The summer school was established in 1899, and the extension department in 1905, both of great assistance to employed teachers.

At present there are eight buildings in the group, including the Preston B. Plumb Memorial, provided for by the legislature of 1915, at a cost of $175,000. The attendance numbers nearly four thousand, and there are one hundred and eighteen instructors on the faculty.

                                          ELIZABETH N. BARR.


In 1900 the old Fort Hays military reservation was given to the State for educational purposes. The land was divided and branches of two State schools were established. The Regents of the State Normal School at Emporia were instructed to take possession of four thousand acres of the land and establish a branch of that institution. An appropriation of $5,000 for the year ending June 30, 1902, and $7,000 for the year ending June 30, 1903, was made. The Normal was opened June 23, 1902, with a summer session in the old fort buildings. William S. Picken was made principal. A building appropriation of $20,000 was made in 1903, and the central part of the main building was occupied in 1904. In 1907 a $40,000 addition was made to this building. A gymnasium was built in 1906, the William Picken Hall in 1908, at a cost of $65,000, Agricultural High School building, 1911, at a cost of $40,000. Sheridan Hall, which is to cost $150,000, furnished, was begun in 1915.

In 1914, the institution received a federal land grant that made it the equal of any Normal school in the State, in standing. The name was changed that year from Western State Normal School to the Fort Hays Kansas Normal School, and the official head was changed from a principal to a president. In addition to the regular courses, short winter courses of a few weeks each are offered in Agriculture and Home Economics.

                                          ELIZABETH N. BARR.


Leavenworth, Kansas

In response to a general appeal for the founding of additional Normal Schools, the legislature of 1870 provided for one at Leavenworth. The city furnished the buildings, and the school was organized with John Wherrell as president. In 1874 there were one hundred students. It fell under the axe along with the other Normal Schools in 1876, and was never revived.

                                          ELIZABETH N. BARR.


Concordia, Kansas

This school was established in 1874. It was organized with F. E. Robinson as principal. Ex-State Superintendent H. D. McCarty was made president the second year. It was cut off from State aid in 1876 and did not survive.

                                          ELIZABETH N. BARR.


Pittsburg, Kansas

The Manual Training School at Pittsburg was founded in 1903 as a branch of the State Normal at Emporia. It was opened September 4th in the Central High School building at Fifth and Walnut streets, which was loaned by the city, and where it remained for six years. This was the first institution of its kind west of the Mississippi River. R. S. Russ was made principal and the term began with fifty students. When the new building was ready for occupancy in 1909 the attendance was five hundred. It is now twenty-five hundred. Professor Russ was succeeded in 1911 by George E. Myers. In 1914, the institution was separated from the Normal at Emporia, and William H. Brandenburg became president.

When the Manual Training school was founded it provided for a two year course in academic subjects for both men and women, with woodwork for the men, and domestic science and domestic art, for the women. The aim is to prepare teachers for every field of public school activity. The courses have been greatly broadened. The two year courses lead to a normal diploma. The four year courses lead to a college degree. There is a preparatory department covering the high school work. Cultural and vocational education are ideally blended, and the teacher is so trained that his specialization is founded on a broad knowledge of science and art.

                                          ELIZABETH N. BARR.


Quindaro, Kansas

About 1857, the Reverend Eben Batchley founded the Freedman's University in the then flourishing town of Quindaro. The object of the University was the education of negro youths. The town soon died out and the school lead a precarious existence. Except for a solitary appropriation of $2,500 by the legislature of 1872, it subsisted on donations. In 1877 the founder died, and the University passed into the hands of the colored men of Quindaro, who induced the African Methodist Church to adopt it. The Church chartered it under the name of the Western University.

For twenty years the friends of the institution worked to obtain State aid. At last, in 1899, Governor Stanley championed the cause and $10,000 was voted to establish an industrial department. Stanley Hall was built from this fund. The State Industrial Building was erected in 1901 on an appropriation of $22,000. In 1903, $22,500 was appropriated, and $35,000 in 1905. Barns, farm equipment and a Girls' Trades Hall were provided, also modern heating and electric light plants. In 1907 $55,850 was appropriated and in 1909 two appropriations were made aggregating $102,000. A girls' dormitory and other new buildings were added. The University at present comprises six brick buildings and sixteen acres of land belonging to the State, which is adjacent to the original school.

The course of instruction includes the regular scholastic education, manual training and agriculture.

                                          ELIZABETH N. BARR.


This institution for the negro youth, which is on the plan of the Tuskegee Institute, was started in a one room house on the banks of the Shunganunga in May, 1895, as a kindergarten and reading room. It opened with five negro children, and two teachers, Edward Stephens and Miss Izie Reddick. The next year it was moved to a two story building on lower Kansas Avenue. Donations were received sufficient to buy a farm of eighteen acres and farming was added to the course of instruction. In the fall of 1898 a two story brick building at 1725 Kansas Avenue was bought and remodeled. It was called the Chrisman Building on accounts of gifts from Mrs. Eliza Chrisman. In 1899 the first appropriation of $1,500 was received from the legislature. Fees to the students were very small. Fifty dollars for a nine month term was sufficient for all expenses including board. The manual labor of the students was turned into money to cover the remaining expense of their maintenance.

In 1900 through the recommendation of Booker T. Washington, the present head of the school, William R. Carter, was put in charge. In 1903 a farm of one hundred and five acres east of the city was bought. Buildings were remodeled by student labor and the school moved to the new site. In 1905 the legislature increased the yearly appropriation to $3,000 and two years later created a State Agricultural and Industrial department, extending adequate support. A gift of $5,000 was secured from Andrew Carnegie. Electric lights, city water and sewers have been installed. There are five buildings aside from the barns which house the live stock and implements. The J. B. Larimer Hall, the girls' trades building, McMullen trades building for boys, and Bradford Miller Hall, which is the main building, containing class rooms, library, music department, and auditorium, comprise the group.

                                          ELIZABETH N. BARR.


Ottawa University is the result of missionary effort by Baptists among the Ottawa Indians, begun while they were in Canada, continued during their migration westward and after their settlement in Kansas. This work was carried on with enthusiastic devotion by Rev. Jotham Meeker and wife. The principal teachers among the Indians were Rev. John Tecumseh Jones, an Indian graduate of Madison (now Colgate) University, and his wife, Jane Kelly Jones, a native of Maine. At that time the Ottawas were occupying a reservation about twelve miles square in Franklin County. They had organized the First Baptist Church of Ottawa, Kansas. As early as 1860 it had about 100 members.

While this missionary and educational work was being carried on among the Indians, the white Baptists of Kansas had chartered the "Roger Williams University" and were discussing a location for it. The question of location came up at a meeting of the Baptist State Convention in Atchison in 1860. Rev. J. T. Jones was present as a delegate from the First Baptist Church (Indian) of Ottawa. He suggested that the white Baptists join with the Ottawa Indians in establishing a school on the reservation. The Indians had land that might serve as a basis for an endowment and the whites had money and teachers. A committee was appointed to confer with the Indians, who were found to be favorable to the plan. Soon the matter was brought before Congress and an act was passed by which 20,000 acres of the reservation were set apart for the use of the institution of learning.

The same act named a board of trustees consisting of four Indians and two whites. The first meeting of this board was held August 20, 1862. It authorized the sale of 5,000 acres at $1.25 per acre in order to establish the school. For the next two or three years it appears that a number of the Indian children attended the school.

In 1865 at the request of the Indians the name "Roger Williams University" was dropped and a new charter secured in the same year, reincorporating the school as Ottawa University. I. S. Kalloch, C. C. Hutchinson, John G. Pratt, J. T. Jones, James King, William Hurr and Henry King constituted the first board of trustees and carried on the institution for a number of years under the dual management provided in the act of Congress granting them the land. For a variety of reasons this arrangement was not satisfactory to either of the races. In the adjustment of interests the Indians agreed to withdraw and leave the school entirely in the hands of the whites. It was agreed that the 640 acres retained by Ottawa University should be forever devoted to the purposes of education in Ottawa under the auspices of the Baptists of Kansas, that it should never be incumbered by mortgage, and that the proceeds from the sale of any part of it should be used as an endowment. With this settlement of equities the history of Ottawa University begins.

The institution was then little more than a common school. Dr. Milan L. Ward, "the Grand Old Man" of Ottawa University, came West in 1869 and first established the academic department upon a stable basis, and tided the school over a serious financial crisis to a more secure position. His successor, Dr. P. J. Williams, served as president from 1874 to 1881. Doctor Ward soon afterward returned to the presidency and restored the university to the condition in which Doctor Williams had left it and greatly broadened its scope. The campus was created in 1882. The two years of Dr. Franklin Johnson's incumbency (Doctor Johnson composed the college song, "My Ottawa"), Dr. F. W. Colgrove's presidency of three years and the nine years, during which the university was guided by Dr. J. D. S. Riggs, marked periods of continuous progress both in the teaching and the student bodies. Doctor Riggs' presidency commenced in 1896, and during the early period of his administration the main building of the university was partially constructed, burned and promptly completed. In 1906 he was succeeded by Dr. S. E. Price, then pastor of the First Baptist Church of Ottawa. He is still at the head of the university and under his wise and energetic guidance its faculty enrollment and equipment have steadily increased. The last of the university buildings to be completed was the gymnasium, which was opened for use in 1911. Under the leadership of President Price a campaign is well advanced which is designed to raise $400,000 for the erection of three new buildings - a science hall to cost about $100,000, a library, about $30,000, and a modern central heating plant, $25,000. Included also in the $400,000 is an endowment fund of $250,000 (the amount of the present fund).

Although Ottawa University has been established, maintained and largely supported by Baptists, it is in no sense sectarian. It does, however, encourage Christian culture and a manly, genuine Christian life founded upon Bible precepts.

In 1905, Doctor Riggs, who was called to the presidency of Shurtleff College, Illinois, was succeeded for a year by Dr. Raymond A. Schwegler.


Among the most rapidly growing educational institutions of Kansas is Fairmount College of Wichita. Its location in Wichita has placed it far enough away from the older colleges of Kansas to give it an unequaled field for remarkable growth.

Wichita is peculiarly a college town. In the boom days of that city in 1885 college and university enterprises were launched there. All of these were failures except Fairmount. It was in that period of town booming that Fairmount College was built two miles east and two north of the main business portion of the city. The location was admirably chosen on the top of a ridge at the east side of the Arkansas bottom land. It commands a view not only of the entire city but of the Arkansas Valley for miles in each direction.

It was the dream of its founders to make of Fairmount the Vassar or Wellesley of the West. It was to be a woman's college strictly. But when the spire of its tower was put in place the promoters found they had no money to go on with the project. For five years after its completion the building stood unoccupied and lonely. Finally it was advertised for sale to pay off a mortgage.

A few devoted friends went to New England to find some one to come to the rescue and help Wichita realize her ambitions in an educational way. The Congregational Education Society of Boston was induced to give some financial assistance. It agreed to advance enough money to meet obligations on condition that the place be opened as a preparatory school for both sexes. It was opened on September 15, 1892, as Fairmount Institute. It continued as an institute until 1895 when the trustees, acting under the advice of the Educational Society, invited Dr. Nathan J. Morrison, founder of Drury College in Missouri, and Marietta College in Ohio, to come to Wichita to take the school in charge and develop it into a college.

The first college class was enrolled September 14, 1895, with twelve freshmen as students. The institute was continued as a preparatory school for the college.

Although Fairmount operated as a college commencing with 1895 it was not chartered until the following April 30th, when the secretary of state of Kansas granted a charter. The name as stated on the charter is "Fairmount College of Wichita."

The first class was graduated in June, 1899 - five men and three women.

The first fifteen years of the college history were taken up largely with laying the foundations and building up a reputation. The period of greatest growth has come since 1913. About that time it was decided to suspend the preparatory school and operate only the college, conservatory of music and fine arts department. In 1913 the total enrollment in the college department was 142 and the total enrollment in all departments was 259. The following year the college department enrollment was 165 and the total enrollment was 318. In 1915 the college enrollment was 202 and the total was 350. In 1916 the college had 248 students and the total was 422. In 1917 the college enrollment was 320 and the total was 790.

Both President Morrison and Dean Isely died in 1907. Dr. Henry E. Thayer succeeded Doctor Morrison as president and Dr. S. S. Kingsbury became dean. Doctor Thayer resigned in 1914 and Dr. Walter H. Rollins, a Dartmouth man, became president. He is now at the head of that institution. Arthur J. Hoare, professor of mathematics, is dean of Fairmount College, and Miss Flora C. Clough, head of the literature department, is dean of the women.

The college has a campus of twenty acres surrounding the main building. In addition to the administration building, which was the one erected in the '80s there are five other buildings belonging to the college. These include two dormitories, the president's house, Morrison Library, and a gymnasium. A large athletic field is near the gymnasium.

Fairmount is noted for its democracy. Many of its students support themselves while obtaining their education, social fraternities are not permitted, and vocational training is a leading feature of the curriculum.

The Morrison Library at Fairmount, built from a bequest of $40,000 from the Carnegie Fund, already contains 36,000 bound volumes. Plans are now on foot to establish a large endowment fund by 1920, which year will mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the founding of the college. Graduates from Fairmount are admitted without examination to the best graduate schools of the United States.

1918 Kansas and Kansans Previous Section Next Section

A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, transcribed by Carolyn Ward, 2000.

[TOC] [Biog. Index] [1918 Index] [KSGenWeb] [Archives]
Tom & Carolyn Ward
Columbus, KS


Background and KSGenWeb logo were designed and are copyrighted by
Tom & Carolyn Ward
for the limited use of the KSGenWeb Project.
Permission is granted for use only on an official KSGenWeb page.
The USGenWeb Logo was designed by Linda Cole.

Last updated 2000

Home Page for Kansas
Search all of Blue Skyways
The KSGenWeb Project