a month as recorded by the School Board in 1889. It was about this time, too, that the first class graduated from Wymore High School, in 1888 to be exact. Miss Sadie Hemperley of this city is thought to be the only living member of that class.
A year or two later the East and West Ward Schools were built. In drawing a historical picture of Wymore's schools, each reader will fill in details, make corrections and odd comments as drawn from his own school day memories and experiences. The old East and West Ward Schools evoke memories of large square rooms with high ceilings and big dark halls; of the splintery teeters in the yards; of the high stone foundations with the ledges just wide enough to play "human fly" at recess time; of the janitors domain, down the wide stone steps, to the sloping plank doors and on down to the dark interior of the furnace room and also some fuzzy recollections of first teachers and first school lessons. Though the old Ward Schools bring nostalgic memories of three "R's" to those who attended them, to an older generation they might well bring forth a different set of memories. Memories of bonds paid off, teachers hired, school board elections and meetings, repairs, maintenance and social entertainments. Those first school buildings were the tangible evidence of Wymore's civic pride and achievement.
In time, deterioration, growth of population, progress in education requiring more equipment and space made a new school building a necessity. In 1925 a new central high and grade school was completed on the site of the old Central High School. Shortly afterwards the old East and West Ward Schools were closed and the West Ward School demolished. They were in a manner of speaking a span between the youthful booming town of Wymore to the present stable modern community it has become.
The old high school building. Note the fire escape on the south side, added to the building in its later years. At one time, classes were held in a cob house at the rear of the building.
The East Ward school was purchased by the American Legion and converted into a Legion Hall following the close of World War II.
Buildings alone, though important, are not enough for an educational system. Of even greater importance is an able teaching staff. From the very first Superintendent Joseph Parks in 1888 with his staff of eight teachers to the present Superintendent Win. R. Owens with his staff of twenty-three teachers, Wymore has been extremely fortunate in having capable, dedicated educators. No attempt can be made to name all the many talented teachers who have taught in Wymore. However, Anna Smith Batten, who for her unique contributions to her profession and her years of devoted service must be given special tribute. This remarkable and devoted woman taught school in Nebraska for fifty-four years, forty-three of which were in the Wymore city schools. Miss Anna Craig of Blue Springs also had an out standing record. She began teaching in Blue Springs in 1893, came to Wymore in 1903 and after 40 years in the local schools retired in 1943. She will be 89 in October.
As important to education as buildings and teachers is the support of the community as exemplified in their elected members to the Board of Education. The first School Board was elected in 1881 and served in organizing the district in that and the following year. To those first members and to those citizens who since that time have had their turn at serving on the Board of Education there should be nothing but praise. For long hours spent in determining educational policies, hiring instructors, balancing budgets, and acting as a buffer between the public and the school, they receive no pay and little praise.
All this civic and teaching effort has not been in vain, for Wymore's tree of knowledge has born good fruit. At one time the mark of success of a school was the number of prominent alumni who could be named with pride. By this measure alone Wymore has had no small success, for many of her alumni have achieved noted success in their fields. To name only a few; Harvey Newbrach (1892) Pulitzer Prize Winner; Jean Hargrave (1909) industrialist; Adam McMullen (1889) governor of Ne-
Grade students and high school were all housed in one building after this school was built in 1925. It is located on the west side of the block, just back of Central High School which it replaced. The building is still in very good condition and is valued at approximately $350,000.
braska for two terms; Fred Kelly (1898) educator, and many, many more who have risen to pinacles in their profession. A surer mark of a school's success is the everyday achievement of the majority of its former students and alumni. Here Wymore schools have been most successful, for almost without exception her former students have been able to meet the challenge of the complex, highly competitive modern American society and become responsible, well adjusted citizens in their own communities, often achieving leadership in their professional or industrial fields or as members of the armed forces.
HISTORY OF SCHOOL LOCATION
Due to different reports of who gave the location for the school to the city, the following information was furnished by Donald F. Hawley, register of deeds at the court house:
On Feb. 1, 1869 the United States issued patent to John D. Schock covering the W½ NW¼ and N½ SW¼ Sec. 20, Twp. 2 Range 7. Filed 8-26-1875, recorded in book N page 552.
Through the "History of Gage County" published in 1918 we learn that he came here at the age of 19, purchased the land and built a 2-room home just across the street from where the Church of Christ now stands.
On July 8, 1881 John D. Schock and wife conveyed the W½ NW¼ and N½ SW¼ Sec. 20, twp. 2, Range 7 to Samuel Wymore for a consideration of $10,000. Deed filed 7-11-1881, recorded in book U page 627.
A birdseye view of the swimming pool which is filled to capacity each warm Sunday afternoon, and well patronized during the week. Around 300 have received free swimming lessons each summer for several years.
Wymore has always been a city of parks and noted for the number, size and beauty of them. There was no magic wand that overnight transformed land and locations into wooded and shaded retreats for picnickers, or race tracks, ball diamonds, football fields, swimming pools, tennis courts and the roads that were laid out with plan and purpose.
The greatest credit that can be given to one individual for his efforts in bringing about a public park system for Wymore is allowed to A. D. McCandless, a distinguished citizen and lawyer of distinction in the very early days of Wymore. He has been aptly called the father of the Wymore park system.
It is interesting to note also that in the changing of the name of Fair Grounds to Arbor State Park this was attributed to the efforts of J. R. Dodds who was the publisher of the Wymore Democrat, was a personal friend of J. Sterling Morton, founder of Arbor Day, and also a great champion of Arbor Day.
Mr. Dodds was heard on many an occasion to say "When the State Legislature recognizes Arbor Day in the State, I will change the name of my newspaper to Arbor State." He not only followed through on the changing of the name of the paper but also carried on by instigating the changing of the name of the Fair Grounds to Arbor State Park.
The following are the names of parks that some will remember: Rawlings Park is that park which is now known as the Burlington Park. Horseshoe Park was south of Indian Creek and west of 1st street. High School Park, where the high school is now located, was originally incorporated into the city park system. Riverside Park was on the east bank of the Big Blue river between the wagon road on G street and the Burlington railroad bridge across the river.
There are today four well situated parks within the city limits, Arbor State Park consisting of thirty-three acres with beautifully wooded picnic facilities, baseball diamond, swimming pool, football field, grandstand and tennis courts. McCandless Park is comprised of two city blocks located in the west part of the town, commencing one block west of the high school, Furnas park consists of one city block located
Plenty of shade and picnic tables makes Arbor State Park a popular spot during the summer months, being used by large numbers of folks from South Gage County.
at the north end of the business district on 7th Avenue The Burlington Park lies south of the district on 7th Avenue and is comprised of approximately a city block.
A close-up view of the swimming pool.
Flood lights have been erected to serve baseball teams in the summer and football teams in the fall. With emphasis placed on Junior Legion and Midget baseball teams teh past few years, several district, area and state tournaments have been held on the diamond shown above.
LIVSEY OPERA HOUSE
From the Wymorean, Dec. 29, 1888: "In proportion to the size of the town, Wymore has a larger and nicer opera house than half the cities in the state double its size. The building is situated on the corner of Nebroska Avenue and Bloomfield Street, a block and a half north of the Burlington depot. The structure is of brick upon a stone basement and was completed in 1882. It is 50x100 feet, with a basement 10 feet deep. The first floor is 14 feet and the second 19 feet. The basement is floored and wainscoated, and is the full size of the upper stories, making a number of nice rooms for storage and other purposes.
The two ground floors are occupied, one by the Boston Tea Company, with an immense stock of groceries, and the other by the post office and A. Davison's news stand. The opera hall is seated with chairs and has a capacity of 700. The stage is 24 by 50 feet and is provided with four dressing rooms, eleven complete sets of scenery painted by the famous artists, Sosmon & Landis, of Chicago, at a cost of $700. The stage and hall are lighted by gas and provided with every convenience found in any theatre outside the large cities."
The opera house, which stood on the corner now occupied by The Benson Agency burned to the ground but that date is not available.
By all indications, from what we can find by scanning the old papers, questioning and searching, the early day water system in Wymore from 1889 up to 1910 was a scorching political football From the outset the people of the city both needed and demanded an adequate supply of good water There was for those first twenty years a constant search far a good supply, river water was tried, test well after test well was sunk Some of the wells were sunk east of the river and others west.
During this time it was common knowledge that there was an adequate supply north of Blue Springs, and several feelers were put out to the people of Blue Springs during this twenty year period, none of them too seriously considered however until 1901 when a direct offer was made by the Wymore delegation. This offer was countered by Blue Springs, demanding water to be supplied into their standpipe for an amount of three cents per 1000 gallons. This offer was refused by Wymore and there the matter stood far another nine years.
By the year 1909 the water situation had fomented itself into a serious demand by the citizens of Wymore. It was recognized that the pumping facilities already now twenty years old would either have to be replaced or a new location established. Then too, there was the question continually arising that there should be no new pumping facilities until something was done about an electric generating plant. Tying these two facilities into a bond issue was just a little more burden than most city taxpayers wanted to undertake.
In the meantime, in 1909, several citizens had been busy studying the Blue Springs supply and quality of water as shown in the Wymore Weekly Arbor State of Morch 19, 1909: "F. F. Fulton, John Dugan, and T. D McGuire who are interested in the water supply scheme from Blue Springs, have contracted with the Palmer Engineering Co. of Kansas City, whose representative, O. E. Wheelock, was here Monday, to make a test of the water supply and furnish an analysis of some and report upon the general feasability of their scheme."
On June 16, 1910 a Mr. Ed James offered to the city of Wymore a small strip of land north of
With an agreement finally reached between Wymore and Blue Springs, work got underway on the digging of a test well. Equipment was probably similar to this drill which dug the first well for Blue Springs.
There appeared to be lively interest in the test of the new well to supply both Wymore and Blue Springs. Note the steam engine used to run the pump.
The old standpipe makes quite a comparison to the new one erected in 1940. A capacity of 250,000 gallons, it provides greatly increased storage over the old standpipe.
Blue Springs on which the springs were located, for $2,000. This offer was countered by another proposol by Wymore offering $200.00 per acre and accepted by James. On June 23 of that same year a mass meeting of Wymore citizens was held in the old Hargrave hall and a proposal was resolved.
On the following July 14, 1910 the Wymore proposition was accepted by the citizens of Blue
Springs and at long last a good supply of fine water was soon to be a reality for the people of Wymore. By contrast in cost per thousand gallons delivered into the Blue Springs stand pipe, it was agreed on a six cent rate per thousand gallons against today's present rate of nine and one half cents per thousand gallons. This last agreement was instituted Aug. 16th, 1949 running until Oct. 1959.
In the 1910 agreement between the two cities there were many important factors that should be borne out that affected the welfare and convenience of both communities, right-of-way for water mains and the supplying of people living along that route, also the electrification of the pumping station required electric line right-of-way through the city of Blue Springs.
In arriving at a satisfactory conclusion of this agreement, by both parties, it stands as a testimony of cooperation and amnity on a common problem that faced both communities in those early days.
WYMORE CITY JAIL
From the Wymorean, Dec. 29, 1888: "The City of Wymore has but one public building, and that is a city jail. It was built in the spring of 1887, on the lot owned by the city on Nebraska Avenue, opposite the opera house, by Edward E. Jones. The structure is of cut stone, 20 x 24, one story high, the room inside being 10 feet in the clear. The walls are 24 inches thick, made of huge stone, dovetailed and tied together in such a manner that they are as strong as would be a block of solid rock.
"The foundation walls descend four feet beneath the surface, and the floor is composed of immense blocks of stone and cement. Battlements two feet in height project above the eaves and give a fine finish to the exterior appearance of the building.
"The windows and doors are secured with iron gratings, while inside are two iron cells of the latest approved pattern, with a capacity sufficient to accommodate twelve persons. The building cost, completed with cells and furnishings, $1 ,300.
"The jail building was erected on the rear of the lot with the expectation that in the near future the Council would construct an engine house and City Holl in front, facing on the street. Such a building is now badly needed and it is to be hoped it will be built ere long."
Editor's note: Unfortunately before we got around to taking a picture of the jail, men had given it a coat of cement and were ready with a coat of stucco, changing its appearance greatly from the original stone building It was in the need of repairs and is getting them this summer.
This is the flour mill, later convered into a plaster mill which was located on Indian Creek. In the background can be seen the Burlington Depot and Touzalin Hotel.
EARLY FLOUR MILL
The following is a portion of a letter from Mr A D. McCandless to Earl Burnham as it appeared in the May 22, 1930 issue of the Weekly Wymorean. Mr McCandless was a pioneer resident of Wymore, settling here when the town first started, engaging in the practice of law He made Wymore his home until the late twenties, moving to Hemingford, Nebraska.
"In 1882 there was a grist mill, or flour mill, running on Indian Creek, just a few rods southwest of the Burlington stock yards, and just south of the first brick kiln This mill was built, and run by a man by the name of M. L. Trowbridge. It was sold to Julius Neumann and the machinery taken to Holmesville, and used in a mill there, for some years The old mill at Wymore was turned into a feed mill, and afterwards into a plaster mill, and some years ago burned down.
"There was a mill dam there and a dam site, and
I can remember them well for they sound so much like swear words, and I never forget them or any or either of them.
"Indian Creek was a much stronger and more reliable stream of water, before the land was broken up, than it was afterwards, and it became so unreliable that it was not possible to run a mill on it by water power and that is why the old mill went out of business.
"And there was fine fishing in Indian creek, at the time of which I am writing, and in the summer of 1882 I formed a partnership with Doctor Gafford, Doctor Given and Mr. Charles Carson, to buy a seine, and take the fish by wholesale, but as soon as I found out that it was just a conspiracy to drown me I sold out and retired from the partnership.
"I must tell you about the first stone crusher in Wymore, and the "Y" switch that ran to it. The "Y" switch started near the present stock yards, and ran southeast across the creek to a point about where the James' residence stands now, then back to the southwest along the south side of Indian creek along under the bluffs, and all along that hillside rock was quarried and crushed and shipped away by hundreds of cor loads, but the company soon found better rock on the east side of the Blue river, and moved the crusher over there.
"I notice in the forty years ago column this week, that Mr. W. F Parker and family had just moved to Wymore from Smith County, Kansas. Let me amplify this a little. Mr. Parker came to Wymore in 1881 and 1882 he burned a kiln of brick, and built the Bank of Wymore building, the Parker building, and the Rosa Holmes residence; then he took a homestead in Smith County, and after living on it for several years he returned to Wymore with his family forty years ago.
Signed-A. D McCandless.
Trotting races at Arbor State Park in the early days. This half mile track was rated as the fastest in the state.
The history of sports in Wymore is the story of fun and excitement, relaxation and enjoyment. Different localities have different tastes for athletic and sport diversions, Wymore was no exception. Over the past seventy-five years she seems to have run the gamut in most of the classified sports, and at the outset, of some of todays recognized sports probably had ground or home rules prevailing.
She might not have produced any Babe Ruths or Red Granges nor any Man 'o Wars of the turf, but she produced her own heroes in her own sports world and all was contentment when they won and chagrin if they lost. However she had her share of victories and losses. Each in his own time remembers the greatest player or crowd or game and there are those who dwell on the statistics and forget the game and
there are those who remember only the game and forget the statistics, so it all balances "up".
Let's take a stroll down through the years and reminisce some of our athletic and sporting events.
FOOTBALL COMES TO THE
Here we find a formidable appearing gridiron machine 1902 Manager Jesse Newton, players Joushie McGuire, Harry Felters, James Pisar, Dave Knowles, Hurst, Eddie Docket, Harry McDaniels, Charles PhiIbrick, Charlie Miller, Dwight Wilcox, Ollie Knapp.
cording to rule and we had to get the information from somewhere, so the writer wrote to Walter Camp at Yale, who was afterwards known as the father of football, for a book of rules Mr. Camp answered with a lengthy letter written in long hand, telling how to put the ball in play with what he called a flying wedge, explaining fully the positions of the players, the yardage on downs, points on touchdowns, kicking goals, etc. He also made a pencil drawing of how to lay out the field and set up the goal posts. Some of us visited other towns and watched a game or two played
Wymore High football team of 1909. Front row: Talman, Cole, Kinley, Emerys Jones, Finley and Coulter. Back row Clyde Cales, Deveer, R. Kulp, George Hausen, Riley and Worley.
"Take me Out to the ball game" wasn't just words from a popular song of "Gay Ninetys." Here you see an early 1900 picture of Wymore's own. L. Fox (first base), Jones, F. Weaver (pitcher), Harry Felters, Dave Knowles, Charley Swartz, Cleveland (asst. to Mgr ), Don McGuire (asst. to Mgr ), Homer Nichols, Don Saunders (catcher), Synodimios, and Jesse Newton, manager.
so we would know better how.
"We matched games with Blue Springs, Beatrice, Pawnee City, Table Rock and Washington, Kans. Our big games were played on Thanksgiving Day.
"The names of the members of this first team as I remember were Clarence Davis, Frank Mitchell, Essie Frost, Roy McNoun Frost, Ed Feese, Paul McMullen, Fred Given, John Hook, Harry Laflin, John Wilson and myself.
"On account of the roughness of the game, causing a great number to be injured, the game was not very popular, especially with the parents of the players.
Basket ball in 1911 was by necessity an outdoor, fresh air sport as depicted here from an early day photograph of game played between Wymore and Blue Springs. This basket ball court was on the ground where the high school now stands. Note Catholic church and Rectory in background.