Iowa Heritage Digital Collections
State Library of Iowa

043_Longfellow School


043_Longfellow School


This is a page from the collection "Bicentennial Reflections: History of Des Moines Public Schools, 1876-1976" by Dr. Robert R. Denny, published by the Des Moines Public Schools in Des Moines, Iowa in 1976.

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Logan was named for General John Alexander Logan of Civil War fame. He died in 1886. Early records record the following milestones: 1900 Started Department of Drawing in Capitol Park Schools. There was a program for all grades and high schools in charcoal, pencil, crayola, water colors and scissors. 1905—Capitol Park School Board purchased manual training equipment for both grammar and high schools. 1907—Pleasant Corner consolidated with 16 other districts to make the Des Moines School District with 51 buildings in all. 1907'08 Logan addition paid $3,201.61. This was begun by Board of former Capitol Park School District. 1907-08 Number of high schools reduced from six to three. "Capitol Park High School continued until Christmas when the resignation of the principal seemed to make the time propitious for closing this school also." 1907-08 Six grades continued at Logan, with grades 7-8 going to Capitol Park. Five teachers employed at Logan with 51.2 pupils per teacher. This was the highest average enrollment in the city. Beginning in 1969 Logan School became the one predominate black school in the district that was eligible for participation of white students in the voluntary transfer program. Through the years a number of white students have elected to attend Logan rather than their neighborhood school and to participate in the wide variety of programs that are offered in that building. Logan has an undepartmentalized program for grades K-3 and a departmentalized program for grades 4-6. In the mid-1970s it has Title I Reading, Title I Math—K-4, an early learning center, Head Start, Follow Through, Title I Child Development, Title III Wisconsin Designed Reading Management Program. For after school hours, there is a component of the community cultural recreational program operated by the CDA. Also, Logan has participated in the School-Business Alliance Program as well as being one of six schools participating in the Shared Activities concept. Principal of Logan School include: 1907 - 1911 Mary Doran 1921 1911 - 1914 Emma Bradley 1936 1914 - 1916 Jennie Holmberg 1916 - 1918 Belle McConnell (Kinsley) 1918 - 1921 Cora Parr 1921 - 1936 Anna Hartigan 1936 - 1944 Ella Baker 1944 - 1952 Ruth Pritchard 1952 - 1965 Kenneth Rankin 1965 - 1972 Don Shaw 1972 - Udell Cason, Jr. 41 LONGFELLOW SCHOOL East 7th and Fremont Dates of construction— Site—5.2 acres Old Longfellow School—1882-1965 New Longfellow School—1961 As early as 1880, it was necessary to have a schoolhouse in the area known as the Fifth Ward in the East Des Moines School District. Because of this need, Bremer School was opened in a Swedish Church which stood at Des Moines and Second Streets. The people then authorized the School Board to purchase land for a new school in the western part of the ward. It was not until 1882 that the purchase was made, and the tract bought was on Pine Street near Walker. The District also authorized the issuance of bonds for erection of a schoolhouse on the site. This school was called Longfellow after the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. In 1885, because of the increasing school population, three more rooms were added to the first structure and two rooms were equipped in the basement. From 1882 to 1901 the staff had increased from three to thirteen and the enrollment from 204 to 511. By 1901 Longfellow had the largest enrollment in the city. Owing to the very crowded conditions of the building, in 1901 the boundaries were changed and additional land was purchased to allow for another addition to the school. This enabled Longfellow to return to the seating capacity of 40 per room. Still more children enrolled so the seating capacity per room had to be increased. In 1920 the last addition to the school was built, and at that time the playground was arranged in three levels. In 1907 Ward Five was merged with the Independent School District. At that time the evaluation was as follows: Original Cost $35,625.00 Lot 7,000.00 Furniture 2,375.00 Because of the route of the Des Moines Freeway, "old Longfellow School was razed in the summer of 1962. A new site at East Seventh and Filmore Streets was purchased. By the fall of 1962, a new Longfellow (often referred to as "The Glass House) was opened to accommodate the children of old Longfellow and Webster School, which also had been razed during the summer. This consisted of 13 classrooms, 2 all purpose rooms, a gymnasium, a library, a speech therapy center, music practice rooms, and complete office facilities. When Longfellow opened in 1962, there were many vacant rooms because of the freeway and urban renewal program. There were 8 teachers and an enrollment of 189. In 1963, because of the overcrowded conditions in the McKee and Douglas School areas, children were transported to Longfellow by public school bus, and 12 classrooms were then used. A hot lunch program was initiated at Longfellow the same year, and a library aide was added to the staff.