by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
The first Grain Valley school was located on Lots I and 2 in the Finnell Addition in 1887. These two lots were north of the old Methodist church on Capelle Street in a building that later became the telephone office.
In 1906, patrons voted to consolidate six schools; Capelle, Round Grove, Stony Point, Pink Hill, Oak Hill, and Grain Valley. Dr. William Johnson became School Board President of the newly Consolidated District No. 3. A three-room, two-year high school was built, presumably at the same location.
I estimate the photograph was taken around 1900. Although there is a list of names on the back of the photo, it is difficult to match with the students since they are not in straight rows. My grandmother and her two sisters, the Sanders girls, are in the photo but due to the poor quality I cannot precisely identify them.
In 1900, the oldest sister would have turned 13 years old, and nearing her last year of elementary school. From the list of students, many pioneer families are represented.
Those new to Grain Valley would not know the families, but you may recognize the names as they appear on housing additions and street signs throughout the old part of town; the Cannon Addition, the Minter Addition, Gregg Street, and Wyatt Road.
I am sure that the gentlemen with the mustache and top hat (to the left of the church window) is Dr. W. B. Johnston, the school board president.
Next Week: Learn about the first brick school which also became the first four-year high school.
The Grain Valley Historical Society Museum is located at 510 Main Street.
Visit the Historical Society’s website, www.grainvalleyhistory.com, and follow the Society on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@grainvalleyhistory).
Grain Valley’s first school, located on Lots 1 and 2 in the Finnell addition in 1887. The above photo was taken around 1900.
Photo credit: Grain Valley Historical Society