by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
I know I have read many “histories” of the school. I know I have written many articles about the history of the Grain Valley School. Last week one of our members was “sorting thru some old boxes.” I always love it when that happens because often the Historical Society becomes the beneficiary of some neat stuff. Such is the case with the History of the School I am about to copy for your reading. While Ona Stephenson Baumgardner’s name is handwritten across the top of the page, it is a Xerox copy and unfortunately and I cannot tell you the source or the author. I still believe it’s a good history and worth the read.
Three years after the Civil War, in 1858, (the author must have meant before as the Civil War began on April 12, 1861) one-half acre of land situated in the Northeast corner of the West half of the Northeast part of section 34, township 49, range 30, was deeded to the Board of Education, District No. 3 by Mr. and Mrs. Britton M. Capelle.
In 1906, the people of Grain Valley and surrounding community were very much interested in establishing a high school
The six school districts, Grain Valley, Pink Hill, Round Grove, Oak Hill, Stony Point, and Capelle were consolidated at the spring election and a three room, two-year high school was built.
The proposition which had almost been defeated before was growing rapidly under the new school board officials with Dr. W. Johnson as president.
The Board of Education received in July, 1907, an additional one and one-half acres of land from Mr. and Mrs. James H. Hall.
When the first high school was opened at Grain Valley in September, 1907 only four students entered under the direction of Mr. Laurence Dimit. Algebra, English, Ancient History and Physical Geography were the four subjects offered.
The next year the enrollment increased to fifteen and another teacher was employee. Ora Morrison, Curtis Houston, Madge Butler Wagner, and Lily Ashcraft Tesch were the first to graduate from Grain Valley High School in 1909.
Two years later it was made into a four-year high school.
Athletics were brought into the school in 1914 when basketball was introduced. They did not attempt football until 1923.
On November 7, 1925, the building was a total loss by fire. The school term was finished in business houses and churches while a bonded indebtedness of $60,000.00 was assumed. With the aid of the insurance the new $75,000.00 building was constructed and dedicated in the fall of 1926. The blue prints show that two additional rooms are partly constructed to facilitate a larger student body.
During the past twenty-years the school has progressed and many things have been added. A commercial department was begun. A music department was added with Mrs. John Hader as the first instructor. Now the entire school from first and second grade Rhythm Band, the Junior High Chorus, the High School Band, the Girls Glee Club, the Boys Glee Club, and the High School Chorus were added to this program.
Three more schools were consolidated into the Grain Valley School. This eliminated buggies and horseback riding, therefore the barns west of the building were torn down,
During the depression the EPA helped build a cistern northwest of the building. This was the first adequate water supply.
Bibles were placed in the school by the Gideons.
The PTA was organized, May, 1941, and has proved to be very helpful. They helped to buy a
picture machine, to build up our library, and to purchase kitchen equipment.
A trophy case, blackout shades, scoreboard, two radios, four pianos, a jukebox and stage curtains, steel chairs, venetian blinds, playground equipment, and the microphone, which was given by the 1945 Senior Class, help make our school more modern.
The red brick building with the two-way drive, green terraced lawn, flower beds, shrubs and poplars is beautiful. Above all this flag pole stands with the American flag unfurled and the Minute Man flag flying beneath.
Note: Last week I hoped to start a series on alumni, “Where are they now?” Although the article about Kathy Doty, our Historical Society President, generated a lot of chatter on Facebook, only one person reached out to me with a suggestion which I’m currently researching. Once more, if you have information on an alumni or suggestions for alumni to be featured, please let me know.