Old Central School
Built in 1886-1887
Is Now Being Razed


Lincoln Sentinel-Republican, May 4, 1950

This week marks the passing of another landmark in the City of Lincoln, the old Central school which has stood two blocks east [sic; it was south] of the main intersection for the past 63 years. Through its doors have passed an uncounted number of boys and girls. Educated in the Lincoln schools some have remained in this locality and have lived to see their grandchildren going to school in the building where they were once children.

Final sessions at old Central were held Friday. Monday morning, the last of the furnishings were moved out and for the remaining three weeks of the 1949-1950 school year, the grade school children will attend classes in the North building which has been vacant for a number of years. The furnace, used in the Central building in recent years, had been "borrowed" from the North school and before transfer of the pupils could be accomplished the furnace was returned to the North building.

No ceremonies marked the closing of the Central school. Tuesday, workmen of the Johnson Brothers Construction Company of Salina began the work of razing the building which is soon to be replaced by a new $325,000 grade school and auditorium on the Central school site.

The building now being torn down was built in 1886-1887 at a cost of $14,500 with James Little the contractor. Old timers recall that Mr. Little mortgaged his farm in Madison township to give bond to the district, lost money on the building of the school and thereby lost his farm.

Old Central replaced the community’s first real school building, a two story, two room stone structure build on the site in 1873. This first building was believed inadequate and in May 1886 a petition was circulated to vote $18,000 in bonds to construct a new building. At that time there were 300 pupils in the grade and high school and J.H. Ware was the superintendent.

Alhtough no record can be found, the bonds must have carried, and construction of the school was started late in the year 1886. By February 1887, according to an issue of The Lincoln Beacon in possesion of Herman F. Knoch, the building was nearly completed, all but the plastering and seating. The Beacon described it as follows: "Our city school house, made of rock from the quarries north of Lincoln, at a cost of $14,500. This is a three story building, including the basement, and has 10 school rooms, also coal and furnace rooms and cloak room, all under one roof. It will be heated by furnaces in the basement. It is the most ingeniously arranged school building with reference to economy of space, material and money."

The population of Lincoln when the school was first used in 1887 was 1,764. May 26, 1887, the closing exercises of the nine month session of the Lincoln public schools were conducted in the fine new school building which the schools had occupied the last nine days of the term.

In September 1887, the first full term of school was started at old Central. There were 275 pupils in high school and grammar. Mr. Ware was again superintendent and Mr. Truman was high school principal. According to the early day Beacon, the teachers were Miss Eunice Moss, Miss Nanny Smith, Mrs. L.P. Moss and Miss Mollie Medcraft.

Miss Moss and Miss Smith (now Mrs. F.A. McFarland and still living in Lincoln) had charge of the 1st and 2nd intermediate departments. The late Mrs. L.P. Moss, mother of George E. Moss of Lincoln, taught the 2nd primary department and the late Miss Medcraft, sister of Miss Emily Medcraft of Lincoln, taught the first primary.

Teachers in the building who brought the Central building’s school days to a close were John Bainton, Principal; Mrs. Murle M. Hayden, first grade; Mrs. R.L. Atwood, second grade; Mrs. Paul Kopper, third grade; Miss Minnie Metz, fourth grade; Miss Evelyn Novak, first grade; Miss Hazel McKinney, sixth grade. Enrollment was 203 for the six grades.


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